But here is why Good Friday really is GOOD:
-It is the beginning of the story, not the end. This one has a happy ending.
-The sadness was turned to joy.
-If it weren't for the sacrifice He made, we would have no hope. We would have no purpose for living.
-We would constantly be living in fear of making a mistake, knowing that we had to atone for our own sin.
-He did die, but He also rose from the dead!
Whereas the believers around Him didn't know the end of the story (but by faith), they only experienced the grief on Good Friday. They suffered and cried and heaved sobs and held each other and mourned, because He was gone. But we know the rest of the story; that three days later He rose from the grave. So we can indeed, remember and celebrate on Good Friday.
I think it's important that we take time to remember what happened. That we take the time to sit and process it, to think about it, because we can too easily take it for granted. We can too easily overlook the price that He paid so that YOU and I could be free and have hope and eternal life. If we just skip straight to Easter and cupcakes, we're missing half of the story.
Here's where I hope you can be encouraged today. Our speaker shared with us that in the Bible, so often the words "mourning and dancing" or "sorrow and joy" are tied together.
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy
Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
On days like today, Good Friday, we need to mourn and recognize the sacrifice Jesus made for us. But over and over we see that He will turn our mourning into dancing and joy. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Ps. 30:5)
What are you mourning right now? Are you in a season of grieving? Just remember that before the joy can come, often the pain and sorrow exist. Hang on, because joy is coming!
So, Chuck E Cheese? Well, we know the end of the story. So I think Jesus is okay with Chuck E Cheese too :)
(If you'd like to know more about the meaning of Easter, here are some great podcasts!)