Saturday, April 23, 2011

But is it the best Friday?

It's Good Friday today.  The Christians observe today as a holy day to mark the day Jesus was crucified. 

I have an odd relationship with Good Friday.  I was terrified of Good Friday services for years.  Why would that be?  Allow me to explain.

At my grandparent's Lutheran church, at the Good Friday evening service the choir would sing the Bible verses of the Crucifixion one by one.  After each verse one of the overhead lights would be turned off until the church was dark except for the eternal candle over the alter, which was kept in a red chimney.  Everyone would file outside to stand and watch the church doors be slammed shut like the stone rolling into place, went home silently and meditated upon the sacrifice and following salvation. 

But what REALLY got to me was one service we attended at my godmother's church. The church was pretty big, as I recall it was in a big warehouse that had been finished nicely inside.  I even remember the sermon that night, it was how you found the basis of sin in the middle of the word. Keeping your focus on the "I" led to sin.

Anyway, this particular service featured a slide show of reenactments of the Crucifixion complete with blood and sweat and whips and darts and Mary sobbing.  The thing that gave me nightmares was a close up of a mummified Christ, still nailed up on the cross.  The eye sockets were empty and it was all dried out like it had been left out in the desert for months.  It was leaning forward with the mouth gaping open.

I remember cringing back in my chair wanting to cover my eyes but I was too horrified to do anything but cower.

For years I had nightmares about that photo.  I can remember lying in my bed trying to make that picture go away and failing miserably.

When Scott was in graduate school, some friends of ours invited me to go to the Good Friday service at their church.  I stated I wasn't sure and wanted to know what was going to be happening.  This puzzled my friends so I told them what I just told you.  No, no.  They assured me, nothing like that would be happening.  But, they understood where my hesitation came from. 

As an adult, I find the celebration of Easter to be so pagan as to be laughable.  Oh, it happens AFTER the Equinox!  Ohhhhhhh. 

Then I have the heavy marketing to laugh at, with it's Matchbox Easter Monster Truck sets.  It's strange, Monster Trucks aren't what spring to mind when I think of the Resurrection. 

And I have the great memories of getting a new dress, the Easter baskets my grandmother used to put together and watching "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" on Channel 5. 

However, Good Friday?  Yeah, not so much on the positive side of the ol' memories.  And every so often, I'll look at someone with a cross around their neck and have the random thought "Torture device". 

Enough of this,I gotta move on, we've got birthday parties this weekend.  And Peeps go on sale!  

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you are getting dressed up for Easter and your slip is sticking to your hose, run a little lotion (not much!) over your hose to keep the two from being attracted to each other.


gloucester said...

So what is your belief system?

Hendel said...

They're not specifically about Easter, but I have similar horror-show memories from religious services as a child (in my case, nightmare-inducing apocalyptic images cherry-picked from Revelations at an Adventist revival). In retrospect, that might have been my first nudge toward atheism.