In the Episcopal Church, Good Friday is one of the days in the church calendar set aside for “special acts of discipline and self-denial” (Book of Common Prayer, 17). Traditionally that has meant fasting and attendance at church some time during the day or evening.
Jesus’ first followers did not know – although they had been told – that there would be a resurrection. When he was crucified, died and buried, the disciples and the women who followed Jesus thought that Jesus’ ministry was ended and that their relationship with him was now over. Good Friday allows us to enter into the experience of apparent abandonment by God as Jesus expressed it in his cry from the cross, and as some of his followers must surely have felt during the interim between his crucifixion and resurrection.
We enter this time of silence and lamentation as a way of affirming and experiencing our own sense of abandonment and despair, which many experience from time to time, but are not always encouraged, allowed or enabled to voice. And within our shared pain, we discover a Christ who does not merely “fix” it, but who, instead, enters it, shares it, and redeems it.