Thank God It’s Friday!
It’s funny how often we say that phrase and its famous acronym on the other 51 Fridays of the year, and how rarely we apply it to today, the Friday for which we ought to be most thankful.
Not a criticism, merely a curiosity. I’m definitely a TGIF kind of guy, and always have been.
I think we love Fridays because they’re dripping with potential. On Friday, the weekend is just beginning, and anything can happen.
Dinner out. Movies. Beer and wings. Clubbing. Weekend getaways. Sports. Relaxation. Hangovers. Sleeping in. Repeat.
Contrast that with Sunday, the last day of the weekend, which usually brings with it a certain amount of dread. Sure, the weekend’s not over yet, but it’s getting close. Factor in church in the morning and the evening’s lunch-making and going-to-bed-early activities, and we’re reduced to just a few hours of freedom on Sunday afternoon.
I worked with a woman a few years ago who preferred taking Fridays off over Mondays because she’d rather her weekend have two Saturdays than two Sundays. She wasn’t wrong…
In some ways, Friday is exalted even above than Saturday, because by Saturday night, the weekend’s half over and, frankly, hasn’t lived up to the unrealistic hype we packed it with on Friday. Consider Verse 3 of Leonard Cohen’s epic 1992 hit, Closing Time:
‘We’re drinkin’ and we’re dancin’ but there’s nothing really happenin’, ’cause the place is dead as heaven on a Saturday night.’
When we’ve squandered our Saturday, we’re reminded all the more emphatically that drab, dull Sunday is around the corner, and that makes our Saturday Night Blues all the bluesier.
That’s why I’m often perplexed when I hear a preacher offer the ‘encouragement’, It’s Friday… But Sunday’s comin’!
Tony Campolo used this phrase repeatedly in a Mars Hill Bible Church sermon I’ve talked about before, and while I loved the sermon overall, this phrase didn’t resonate with me.
It’s Friday … But Sunday’s comin’.
‘You bragging or complaining, Tony?’ my five-day-work-week-oriented self wanted to ask the podcast.
I’ve since realized, though, that even though I’ve been a Christian for nearly two decades, I still have my head on crooked about Friday and Sunday.
In case some of you do too, here are some thoughts:
Good Friday, when viewed from the other side of the cross, is the worst day in human history. What a misnomer!
God became flesh, moved into our neighborhood, and loved us. He taught us, walked on water for us, turned water into wine for us, healed hundreds of us, fed thousands of us and even brought a few of us back from the dead – and in response, we killed Him.
As Jesus said on the cross, ‘Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.‘
We sure didn’t.
Three of the four Gospels tell us that for the three hours while Jesus was on the cross, a darkness covered the land.
It must have also been the darkest of days, emotionally, for Jesus’ friends and followers. All the joy and hope of Palm Sunday, just five days earlier, was obliterated when Jesus was arrested, tried and crucified. As the disciples’ leader hung on the cross, they were too scared to stay with Him, let alone lift a finger to help Him.
Sadness. Disbelief. Confusion. Shame. Regret. Despondency.
That was Friday for them.
Their thoughts must also have turned to Jesus Himself. The charges brought against him were pretty flimsy, and Pilate was itching for an excuse to turn Jesus loose. Why didn’t He help Himself? ‘Jesus Christ, do you have a death wish or something?’ I bet some of them wanted to ask Him.
You were the chosen one! … You were to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness!
Don’t worry, Obi-Wan. It’s Friday … but Sunday’s comin’.
Assuming that time has any meaning at all in heaven, what was it like in Paradise while Jesus was in the grave?
Were heaven’s praises silent in those hours of darkness? Your Holy Spirit brooding ’round that empty throne?
Don’t worry, Robin Mark.
It’s Friday … but Sunday’s comin’.
But on this side of the cross, we know that Good Friday wasn’t ironically named. As the day Jesus paid the debt for all humanity, instantly providing access to the Father for every sinner who ever lived and ever will live, Good Friday paved the way for the greatest day in human history – Easter Sunday.
Thanks to the Jesus’ actions on Good Friday, death is beaten, sin is dead and we stand redeemed and victorious.
“It is finished,” Jesus says in one of his last breaths in John 19:30.
Hallelujah, amen and hallelujah again!
… So why doesn’t it feel like it?
Maybe because, in a sense, it’s still Friday.
As Lectiocast host Daniel Kirk pointed out in at least one podcast last year – quoting 20th-century Jewish philosopher Martin Buber – ‘to the Jew, the Christian is the incomprehensibly daring man, who affirms in an unredeemed world that its redemption has been accomplished.’
We celebrate the redemption of the world as we stand in a world that doesn’t look like it’s been redeemed – from our perspective, sin is alive and well (and arguably stronger than ever), 2,000 years after it was reportedly defeated on the cross.
If sin is defeated, why is there still hunger in the world? Why is there still bigotry? Rape? Murder? War? Genocide?
Because it’s Friday … but Sunday’s comin’.
‘The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ – 2 Peter 3:9
The fact that the world doesn’t look redeemed, and yet we’re invited to celebrate its redemption, is precisely the point, isn’t it? If the world went straight from the Empty Tomb to the New Heaven and New Earth, we wouldn’t need faith.
God exists outside time, so from Jesus’ perspective it is finished. From ours, it’s still in progress, but we know how things will turn out.
It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.
Not ‘might be’, is.
And we get to help Him accomplish that work. We get to receive Him, little by little, as much as we can handle – and then share Him as faithfully and skilfully as we’re able – with the people in our lives.
It’s hard and it’s messy and it’s frustrating and it feels futile at times. But while we struggle and falter and botch our assignments, we can also know – know – that it will all work out in the end.
We can either participate in Christ’s victory or miss out on out chance to be part of nothing less than the redemption of the universe!
As Mordecai said to Queen Esther:
‘For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” -Esther 4:14
Who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this, reader?
It’s Friday … but Sunday’s comin’.
Thanks be to God.
Peace be with you.