Catherine WeltzerWorld ReligionsAsena Acar13 December 2017GoodFriday GoodFriday is one of the most important holidays in Christianity, includingCatholicism.
It is celebrated the Friday before Easter and marks the day thatJesus was crucified. Because of Easter’s moving date, Good Friday is alsocelebrated in different months and weeks of the year, though the months arelimited to March and April. Though the good in Good Friday is often questioned,because how can Jesus’ death be a good thing, it is considered a good Fridaybecause when Jesus died, he redeemed the world from sin. This is why GoodFriday is one of the most important holidays in the Christian faith, along withEaster and Christmas.
Theorigins of the holiday come from the bible which describes Jesus’ passion andcrucifixion. Good Friday traditions have no definitive starting point, butrather most likely evolved along with the faith, this is especially true forhow Churches observe Good Friday because Christian and Catholic churches werenot present during the beginning of the faith. In the Catholic Church mantythings are done to celebrate Good Friday, for example “The Church is stripped of its ornaments, the altar bare,and with the door of the empty tabernacle standing open…No Mass is celebratedon this day, but the service of Good Friday is called the Mass of thePresanctified because Communion (in the species of bread) which had alreadybeen consecrated on Holy Thursday is given to the people.” (Catholic Online)The lack ofornamentation is meant to reflect the humiliation that Jesus faced and the lossof the Mass is meant to increase the sense of loss. Churches often also coverall statues of icons in the church, including crucifixes, crosses, angels, andstatues of Mary and other saints. Another popular practice is a service calledthe Stations of the Cross, where believers reflect on the suffering of Jesususing 12 different stations, there are often Priest-led prayer services thatrevolve around the Stations of the Cross. The prayer services include passages from thegospels that describe the suffering of Jesus and prayers created by theapostles, or later scholars.
OtherChristina denominations also celebrate Good Friday, “To commemorate the Lord’s hours on the cross,many Protestants hold their Good Friday services between noon and 3. Theyreflect, in a series of readings and songs, on Christ’s seven last words.” (Armstrong) Good Friday is animportant holiday throughout all of Christianity.The lack of celebration of Mass of Good Friday is one of the mostimportant practices of the holiday. Good Friday is the only day in the entireyear that Mass is not celebrated, The Easter Vigil, celebrated on Holy Saturdaymakes this so. Mass is not celebrated because: “‘The figure ceases on the advent of the reality.
Butthis sacrament is a figure and a representation of our Lord’s Passion, asstated above. And therefore on the day on which our Lord’s Passion is recalledas it was really accomplished, this sacrament is not consecrated.’… The Mass isthe representation of the Passion, but as the figure passes away before thereality, so too the Church omits the celebration of Mass when she commemoratesthe Passion as it really happened in time.” (Erlenbush)There are some exceptions to the no Mass rule butthat is only in serious occasions. Such occurrences must be approved either bythe Bishop of the diocese the Mass would take place in, or by the Vatican. Theabsence of Mass on Good Friday shows its significance to Christianity. The celebration of Good Friday also includes certainrituals that do not always apply to all individuals. One of the more prominentpractices for Catholics, is that of fasting and abstaining from certain things.
“For members of the Latin Catholic Church, thenorms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, aperson is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals thattogether are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meatare binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.” (United States Confernce of Catholic Bishops) This practice doneon Good Friday and Ash Wednesday. The practice of fasting must only be followedby those in the age range, so children and elderly do not have to participate.
This is an example of how Good Friday is celebrated differently for those indifferent age groups. During this holidays adults often spend the hours fromnoon to 3pm in prayer and in reflection over their sins and Jesus’ sacrifice.Children, however most likely do not have the capacity for this and may insteadpray or do small chores. This 3 hour prayer time may also not be possible forevery adult, especially those in non- Christian schools and workplaces, and forthose adults who cannot afford to take time off during this holiday. Those whocannot dedicate as much time often instead spend a few moments in prayer at 3pmto acknowledge Jesus’ suffering and death. Good Friday is often a time forpeople to go to confession, which is when someone goes to a priest andprivately confesses their sins then the God or Jesus absolves them of theirsins through the priest. But this often not done by young children until theyare at an age where they are considered old enough to know right from wrong. Thecelebrations of Good Friday tend to be quite similar but no always the exactsame throughout different age groups, and those in different social classes.
The significance of Good Friday, as previously mentioned, is theredemption of the world from sin. Christians believe that through Jesus’sdeath, he has saved us from sin. Everyone sins, and only Jesus can save us fromsin, as Fairchild states: “Humans are sinful andour sin separates us from God. The punishment for sin is eternal death. …
Atonementrequires a perfect, spotless sacrifice, offered in just the right way.Jesus was the one and only perfect God-man. His death provided the perfectatoning sacrifice for sin.
Only through him can our sins be forgiven.” (Fairchild) Jesus saves sinnersthrough his death on the cross. Without his ultimate sacrifice, no one wouldenter into eternal life with God, which is Christians’ ultimate goal.
The mostimportant part of Christianity is Jesus death and resurrection, which is whyGood Friday is one of the most important holidays. Good Fridayis celebrated differently by the Eastern Orthodox Christians compared to otherChristian denominations, and there are often different names for Good Friday.The Byzantine denomination calls Good Friday the Order of Holy and SavingPassion of our Lord Jesus Christ or Great and Holy Friday. They often begincelebrating Good Friday the night with the Matins of the Twelve Passion Gospels, during this passages are read from theGospels that describe the Last Supper, and Jesus’ passion, death, and burial.The next day they gather to pray royal hours, a prayer service with readingsfrom both the New and the Old Testament. In the afternoon Jesus being takendown from the cross in commemorated, and on Friday night a service revolvesaround Jesus being laid in the tomb.
Originally these celebration would havetaken place in a different part of the world compared to those earlierdiscussed, but due to immigration, and conversion, they are celebrated all overthe world. GoodFriday, with its importance to Christianity, helps illuminate many of Smart’sdimension of religion for Christianity, including the ritual, social, andexperiential dimensions. Good Fridayshows how important rituals are in Christianity. Most holidays have certainrituals and practices associated with them, and Good Friday is no exception.The rituals that occur on Good Friday include prayers and scripture readings,therefore Good Friday rituals help highlight how important prayer and scriptureare to Christianity.
Good Friday also helps to show how emotions play animportant role, from the perspective of the experiential dimension. Throughoutthe day believers reflect on their sins and feel sorrow and guilt for whatthey’ve done, these emotions are considered part of the experiential dimension.Feeling remorse for what one has done is key in receiving forgiveness for one’ssins, which is one of the most important aspects of Christianity. That ishaving your sins forgiven by God through Jesus’ sacrifice on Good Friday. Thesocial dimension of Christianity is also shown during Good Friday, this can besee when people gather at services such as the Stations of the Cross. This gatheringilluminates how important being with others who share the faith is.
InChristianity it is believed that one should not only pray by themselves, butalso pray with others who believe. On Good Friday this important belief isshown. Good Friday is one of the mostimportant holiday in Christianity, Easter being the most important. It isimportant because it is the day Jesus died in order to save the world and allpeople from sin. There are many different ways Good Friday is celebrated and itcan differ throughout different denominations and age groups, but allChristians acknowledge its importance to the faith. Good Friday helps explainsome of the most important aspects of Christianity including prayer andremorse. Bibliography Armstrong, Chris. “The Goodness of Good Friday.
” August 2008. Christianity Today. Article. 13 December 2017. Catholic Online. “Good Friday.” n.d.
13 December 2017. Erlenbush, Father Ryan. “Why there is no Mass on Good Friday.
” 2 April 2010. The New Theological Movement . Document . 13 December 2017. Fairchild, Mary. “What is Good Friday?” 17 August 2017. Thought Co. Document.
13 December 2017. United States Confernce of Catholic Bishops. “Fasting and Abstinence .” n.
d. United States Confernce of Catholic Bishops. Document . 13 December 2017.