It has always struck me as strange that we refer to the day of Jesus’ death as Good Friday. Shouldn’t it be “Bad Friday” or “Evil Friday”, or some similar term? Was this not a day when evil was at its worst, unleashing its hatred and fury on One who had done nothing but love extravagantly? It’s on this day I want to immerse myself in Auden’s funeral poem, with it’s final stanza
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Yet ironically, it’s right here when evil is at it’s pinnacle that I glimpse goodness. Here at the cross we see humankind at our worst, but God at his best. As the Son of God hung there in agony, he could have cried out “Father, destroy them”, but almost incomprehensively he cried “Father forgive.” Even when people pummelled him with blows both physical and emotional Jesus still sought nothing but their good.
And this is why I think it’s a good Friday. Not a laugh-out-load, flippant goodness, but a reflective, humbling goodness. For here God took upon himself all the evil that can be thrown at him and said “I forgive you.” It’s here I discover who God is and learn that he is very, very good.