What's So Good About Good Friday?

Stores fill their shelves with wicker baskets, stuffed bunnies, and an assortment of chocolate eggs weeks in advance in order to draw consumers' attention to what they "need" for the Easter holiday.

As Christians, during the season of Lent, we spiritually prepare for the celebration of Easter. We focus on what transpired during the days leading up to Good Friday—the day we remember the beating and horrible death Christ suffered on the cross.

With all that He endured, what’s so good about Good Friday?

Calling it “Good Friday” is actually peculiar to the English language. In Germany it’s called “Mourning Friday” – because Jesus’ disciples mourned that day, believing all was lost. In Latin countries it’s called “Holy Friday.” An archaic meaning of "good" is "God," just as "good-bye" means "God be with you." So, it used to mean "God's Friday."

Many people will say Christmas Eve and Easter are their favorite times to participate in worship. Churches are filled to the brim.

My favorite service is held on Good Friday evening. In our church, the alter is stripped bare of flowers, embroidered scarves, or anything else with color. A black cloth is draped over the cross hanging on the front wall.

The service is somber. Lights are kept dim. During the service, one by one, lit candles are snuffed out, until we end in complete darkness. The exception is a soft spotlight on the cross. It’s a time to reflect on Christ’s love—and how much He’s done for us.

I’ll never forget a Good Friday service held years ago in our church—in the space we used for worship prior to expanding our building. One wall holds large windows extending from one end of the room to the other. These windows look out to a patio courtyard filled with flowering pink, red, white, yellow, and lavender rhododendrons. Three wooden crosses were placed in an area where the ground was raised. That night, a rain storm blew in. The visual of those crosses standing with wind whipping through the courtyard and lightening flashing will always remain with me.

I don’t know how or why the day became called Good Friday. The best explanation is that despite all the pain and suffering Christ endured for us, good was the ultimate result. Because He took the punishment for our sins and defeated death by rising again, we have the opportunity to accept the gift of eternal life.

And that’s a wonderful reason to call the day “good.”

This week, think about what you can do to prepare your own heart for Easter.


Humanity Salon

I just heard about a really cool place.

It's a new salon in Kent, Washington, called Humanity Salon.

Co-owners John and Charissa Benson decided they wanted to make a difference in the world. They believed that by creating this unusal salon, they could share their ideas about giving, and at the same time, make an impact in the community.

Their platform focuses on inner beauty, and the slogan used is "Giving Hope to the Hopeless, Giving Purpose to the Comfortable."

Although operating like many other upscale salons, Humanity Salon is a non-profit entity, donating 20% of all sales to six partner organizations. These include World Vision, Big Brother Big Sisters, Katherine’s House (provides transitional housing and support services for single women in recovery), Washington Women’s Employment and Education (WWEE), The Hope Chest (provides furniture to those in need), and a local food bank.

Clients are given a choice of where their 20% is donated. Then they’re provided with updates so they can see the positive changes occurring through their giving.

Stylists, believing in the mission, are willing to work for smaller commissions than what they’d receive working at other establishments. And because the salon is non-profit, a board decides how much money John earns.

In a society where so much focus is put on being outwardly beautiful, this is an exciting twist! And I’m not talking about an up-do.

It makes me wonder . . .

John and Charissa discovered a creative way to minister to people in their community by using their God-given talents.

Is there something more that you and I could be doing with what God has given us?

To learn more about Humanity Salon, visit http://www.humanitysalons.org/

Have a great week!

Hold On or Let Go?

My husband thinks I have too many clothes in my closet.

Actually, I have clothes in two closets. I explain the total is an accumulation of clothes worn in winter, spring, summer, and fall. And those seasonal categories are also broken down into professional, casual, and get-down-and-dirty.

He still doesn’t buy into the fact that I need and wear most of what I have. After all, when it comes to clothing, men can survive with so much less and still look great.

But, occasionally I wonder if I am holding on to things I shouldn’t.

When is it right to hold on? When is it right to let go?

Sometimes we humans get things so turned around. There’s a tongue twisting verse in the Bible that pretty much sums it up.

Romans 7:15 says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (NIV)

My oldest daughter and her husband are soon moving from Seattle to New York. It’s a bittersweet thing for our family. The move is providing wonderful opportunities for both of them. They’ve dreamed of experiencing life in the city they’ve fallen in love with, and now that dream is coming true. I’m excited for them. I’m also sad. I’m going to miss having them near. I’ve always been able to be there when needed. But my daughter is 27, and very capable of taking care of herself – not to mention her husband is very protective. I have no justifiable reason to worry. This time it’s the right thing to let go . . .

It’s not easy letting go of what/who we love.
It can even be a difficult accomplishment when it comes to what causes harm.

What do you need to let go of?


What do you need to hold on to?

A dream?

This week think about what you need to set free.

And also search your heart and discover what's life-giving.
And then hold on with all your strength.


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