Growing up in the Church, Good Friday through Easter were at the top of the list of important days on the Christian calendar. I don’t remember going to church on Good Friday, but I do remember a period of silence in our home between Noon and 3:00 PM- Jesus’s final hours on the Cross. My parents (Ben and Joan Caruso, above) would not answer the phone, we would not speak to each other- we would simply, silently contemplate the incredible Sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. Unbeknownst to my young brother, Ben, and I at the time, this discipline inspired a prayerful countenance in us, which no doubt my parents anticipated. It continues to this day! Our family also did not eat meat on Good Friday- this act of abstinence honored the Body and Blood Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross for our sins. Contemplate these verses: “‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!’” – Matt 20:18-19 “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” – Rom 3:25a “For the joy set before him he [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Heb 12:2b “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” – 1 Peter 2:23-25 ++++++++++ In these early childhood Good Friday protocols, our parents desired to honor God and His Indescribable Gift to us (2 Cor 9:15), and to be an example for my brother and me. They did succeed! Then, two quick days later, our family attended the celebratory Easter church service, all of us dressed up in the nicest clothes in our closets! We praised God for the Resurrection of Christ, which ensures our personal resurrection following mortal death for those of us who believe. Ponder these beautiful verses: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:14-16 ~~~~~~~~~~ “Jesus said to her [Martha following Lazarus’s death], ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’” – John 11:23-27 ~~~~~~~~~~ “We were therefore buried with him [Christ] through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” – Romans 6:4-8 “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable,and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1Cor 15:53-57 Today, as a born-again Christian with my own family, the picture looks a little different than when I was a child, but the acknowledgement of God’s Indescribable Gift of Grace through His Son Jesus Christ is exactly the same! On Good Friday, my husband, two sons and I reflect on Jesus’s Sacrifice for us and His gruesome final hours of handing over His Precious Life, and most of the day is somber and reflective. My husband insists that we watch “The Passion” together every Good Friday, so we do- start to finish. This is always difficult, but we feel important (I always shrink in embarrassment when I compare my “difficulty” VIEWING Christ’s torture to His ACTUAL torture). Our sons are now 16 and 11, but even when our youngest was just 8 (which some might object to), my husband and I agreed he was mature enough to witness and begin to process what Christ endured for him. Sometimes, our family chooses to attend our church’s Good Friday service, which is also appropriately somber and reflective. ~~Then, on Sunday, we attend the most magnificent celebration of the most magnificent event on earth (following God’s coming to earth in the flesh in the first place!)- Christ’s Resurrection from the dead and complete assurance of our personal resurrection from the dead as Believers! Our church holds nothing back in proclaiming the Glorious Gospel Message through spectacular drama, music, lighting, dance, and Biblically-based, Spirit-inspired sermon. Come and join us if you don’t have a place this Easter!!- https://kensingtonchurch.org/default.aspx?page=3920. May you come to know this Easter the most important Knowledge of all- God’s Boundless Love for you through the Incredible Blood Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ! When you come to know and accept this Love- this Indescribable Gift- your life will NEVER be the same! For more information on becoming a born-again Christian, see my personal testimony under “The Question That Changed My Life Forever.” If you’d like to share your own personal Easter reflections- childhood or present-day traditions for how you’ve acknowledged this very special part of the Christian calendar- please comment below! I and I’m sure others would love to read! God bless you!!
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