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Good Friday: Dark day of good fortune

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CHRISTIANS all over the world will on Friday, April 19,  2019,  observe the commemoration of the crucifixion of  Jesus Christ. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter; the day Christians annually observe the commemoration of the passion, the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

As a child,  I could remember  how bad I felt the first time I watched the film,  “The passion of Christ”. I wept watching the torture Jesus passed through  and wondered why the word ‘ good’? I couldn’t  make a meaning out of it.  That Jesus was crucified on a Friday,  a day that’s supposed to be a sorrowful day and the day is called  “Good Friday “.

Church historians wrote that  from the early days of Christianity , Good Friday was observed as a day of sorrow, penance, and  fasting, A German writer,  Hans Hillerbrand said that the  characteristic  of Good  Friday finds expression in the German word karfreitag,  meaning,   ‘Sorrowful Friday’.

It falls between March and April, every year, with Easter falling two days later.

Good Friday is commemorated in different ways by different Christian denominations.

A Catholic priest, Reverend Father Emmanuel  Ogbuefi said that in the  Roman Catholic  Church ,stations of the cross is observed. The stations of the cross have 14 stations,  starting from when Jesus was condemned to death,  other major events at his passion and is concluded with his being laid in the sepulcher.

He said that mass was celebrated on Good Friday, a liturgy is performed but no consecration of the Holy Communion. He said  “Holy Communion, which was consecrated in the Mundy Thursday  mass were distributed to communicants who were in the  state of grace to receive it.

According to him, ” the liturgy of Good Friday consists of the reading of the Gospel, Passion narrative, the veneration or  adoration of the cross and communion.

A Somascan priest, Reverend father Kenneth Onyekwelu, said that Good Friday signifies “peace”. “Jesus came to die for the sins of the world. He was crucified on a Good Friday. It was a sorrowful day, but it’s  called  good because his death and resurrection brought peace to the believers.

He said that many prayers sprang up from the passion of Christ. Apart from the observation of the stations of the cross observed in the Catholic Church, there is a prayer said at 3 O’clock, called ” Divine mercy “. It’s believed that Jesus died at 3:00pm and prayers of atonement and forgiveness of sins are offered at that time.

A canon in the  Anglican church, Reverend Cannon Martin Uche described Good Friday as a day for sober reflection of our lives as individuals , as a group  and as a nation.  He frowned that Nigeria is  so blessed with abundant human and natural resources,   but poor in governance , insecurity,  poverty,  unemployment and so many social vices were order of the day .

The clergy said that as Jesus was crucified to save us from sins and eternal condemnation, our leaders at all levels should  strive to sacrifice themselves for the growth of the nation.

“Good Friday should be a day for soul-searching and decision-making on how to achieve redemption in every spheres of our lives. ”

A reverend sister, Maria Frednora Okpala ,  said that Good Friday reminds Christians that  Jesus suffered the ultimate humiliation of crucifixion on the cross; when he paid the ultimate price for the salvation of the world. Christians therefore celebrate his death for its atoning value.

She was of the view that Good Friday should be a day of mourning over the killing of an innocent man who lived his life doing good but was   hated, humiliated and crucified for proclaiming the truth as He was sent to do by His Father. What can be good about such a day of wickedness and death!? The reverend sister observed that considering the atonement of sins and the resurrection of Christ on the third day and the salvation he won for believers through His death, it is understandable that the  Friday should be universally acclaimed “Good Friday” by Christians all over the world.

The celebration of Good Friday by Christians in Nigeria should be assessed, within the state of the nation. Nigerians live in a society with so much religious piety on display, yet the degree of individual or group fidelity to the higher values and virtues that authentic religion promotes, is a matter of contention.

Once again, whereas the Christian by his or her faith, commitment to Jesus Christ, is meant to be in the world but not of the world with all its corrupt influences, Nigerian Christians have to release themselves from wickedness, and   criminality that is prevalent in the land. A laity, Ambrose Okafor advocated that Christians are supposed to be the light in the midst of darkness.

Good Friday is very significant to Christians. It’s a day Christ gave meaning to life by sacrificing His life that men may live.  Therefore, our leaders both religious and political should understand that and know the meaning of service to humanity and the essence of sacrifice. They should sacrifice their talents, wisdom, time, morals and values in serving the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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