Mar 29

Why Good Friday? posted by jwatson on Mar 29, 2013

The poem “E Tenebris” by 20th century British playwright Oscar Wilde is a fitting meditation for Good Friday:

Come down, O Christ, and help me! reach Thy hand,
For I am drowning in a stormier sea
Than Simon on Thy lake of Galilee:
The wine of life is spilt upon the sand,
My heart is as some famine-murdered land
Whence all good things have perished utterly,
And well I know my soul in Hell must lie
If I this night before God’s throne should stand.
‘He sleeps perchance, or rideth to the chase,
Like Baal, when his prophets howled that name
From morn to noon on Carmel’s smitten height.’
Nay, peace, I shall behold, before the night,
The feet of brass, the robe more white than flame,
The wounded hands, the weary human face.

Christian History notes: “We do not need to be as notorious in our sinning as Oscar Wilde to remember our own darkness, as he did, on Good Friday.  (His poem) reflects his own long, conflicted entrance into Christianity that would culminate in a deathbed conversion. In the poem, he appeals for mercy.”

That’s a good reminder.  We don’t celebrate the Cross as much as we do God in Christ, Who through grace and mercy redeems sinful humanity through this terrible act of judgment.  That’s why this Friday is called “good”.  As another writer put it:

Mercy there was great and grace was free

Pardon there was multiplied to me

There my burdened soul found liberty

At Calvary.


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