A Truly Good Friday – and Easter Schedule

Good Friday greetings in our crucified Savior, Jesus Christ!  On this day, I have no doubt that a number of us are trying to finalize our plans for Easter – a day of true celebration and joy for all time.  But what are we doing about today?

Perhaps for some perspective, I need to remind you about another Good Friday.  Almost never had a life reached such heights and lows in the span of just a few hours.  It started in a city that was in a truly festive mood, and more so than usual.  All the talk was about what this man had done – and how it had reached a climax that was now certainly going to lead to something even greater.

At one time, this did not seem likely.  Few men were either really, really liked or really, really hated in their day than this man.  Even those who knew him best struggled with the things he both said and did.  But he clearly had a plan, and he stayed true to it.  

That said, he also seemed to understand that this was something he was going to be doing alone.  He even told those closest to him that something of major significance was about to happen.

And then it did.  In an act no one saw coming, suddenly his life was torn away by what seemed to be nothing more than lasting hatred and jealousy.  A truly “Good Friday” suddenly became a day where a man lost his life, to the point where one of the key people of those final moments made a statement about how unique this man was and how his death was going to be remembered every bit as much as his life.

The man’s name?  Abraham Lincoln.  Yes, it was on Good Friday, 1865 (a later celebration date for Good Friday and Easter than we have this year – well into the month of April) that Lincoln, immediately after the end of the American Civil War, was assassinated by an actor named John Wilkes Booth.

The contributions of Lincoln and how he brought the country back together while abolishing slavery can never be underestimated.  And yet, even he would be the first to declare that his death is nothing compared to the death of His Lord and Savior.  Because of the death of Jesus on that first Good Friday, Lincoln – and every one else who has died on this day or any of the other 364 days has the hope and joy of the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

And yet, that price came at the price of a horrible, awful death.  And that death needs to be meditated upon and pondered in our lives.  For a celebration of life can only begin once we fully comprehend what – and who – and why – that Easter life was made possible.

The bottom line is given to us in the memorable words of the “Suffering Servant” text of Isaiah, chapter 53:  “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life an offering for sin, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.  And after He has suffered, He will see the light of life and be satisfied;  by His knowledge My righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.”     [Isaiah 53:10-11, E.S.V.]

So as you go about this special day, remember the following:

YES, WE WILL RECOGNIZE the death of our Savior in a special “Service of Darkness” tonight at 6:30 PM.  In keeping with the traditions of the church, Holy Communion is not a part of this service tonight.  Incidentally, all of the remaining services will conclude our service series that has followed us throughout the season of Lent and Holy Week, “PLACES OF THE PASSION”.  By the way, if you are traveling or away, we hope that you will worship at an LCMS church near you;

THE SERVICES LEADING UP TO THE CELEBRATION OF EASTER culminate with a service of Easter Vigil Saturday at 5 PM.  Faith Factor will lead the music for that service, and it will include an Easter celebration of the sacrament;

EASTER AT FAITH LUTHERAN CHURCH:  Please note our celebration times and occasions:   ++SON-RISE SERVICE at Timber Greens golf course, 11th fairway, at 7 AM.  The Rev. Richard Arndt will preach and Faith Factor will again lead the music in this magnificent outdoor service;  ++EASTER FESTIVAL WORSHIP with the Sacrament Sunday at 10 AM;  ++EASTER BREAKFAST in the sanctuary building from 8:30-9:30 AM;  ++EASTER EGG HUNT AND GAMES outside beginning at 9:20 AM.  The weather looks amazing for this weekend.  PLEASE JOIN US!!

APRIL IS STEWARDSHIP – AND NAMETAG MONTH:  From time to time, we will go a month where we will ask God’s people to wear their nametags.  While we are starting it a day early, we ask you to wear them starting on Easter Sunday, and then through the Sundays of April.  Our stewardship focus for 2024 is entitled, “HE LIVES!  Now How Do We Live?”  It reminds us that everything we have, do and share is because of the joy of the resurrection and our response to it.  More details will follow in a member addendum being sent early next week.  Incidentally, please note that there will be a Fall “treasures drive” once our calendar turns to those months.  More details in the weeks to come;

GOD’S BLESSINGS TO ALL OF OUR VISITORS AND SEASONAL RESIDENTS:  We recognize this is the time of year when those visiting, and those who spend parts of their year down here in our midst will begin returning back to the north.  We thank all of them for their time with us.  We pray for safe travel and blessings on their time away from us.  You are always welcome back at Faith Lutheran Church.  We hope to see all of you again soon;

AND FINALLY, A WISH FROM PASTOR WENNDT:  I wish to express my appreciation for each and every one of you.  As members, members of boards, committees and organizations, guests, whatever, I pray the joy of Easter may reach into the lives of each of you.  May God’s blessings go with each of you even as each of you have been a blessing to me.

THAT SHOULD SUFFICE FOR GOOD FRIDAY.  I conclude with some special verses from a hymn that is only rarely sung on Easter, “All the Earth With Joy Is Sounding.”  I share the final two verses as my Easter blessing:

Jesus, author of salvation,
Shared in our humanity;
Crowned with radiant exaltation,
Now He shares His victory!
From His face shines the grace
Meant for all our fallen race.

Praise the Lord, His reign commences,
Reign of life and liberty—
Paschal Lamb, for our offenses,
Slain and raised to set us free!
Evermore – Bow before
Christ, the Lord of Life adore!

May the grace and peace of our crucified and risen Lord and Savior be with you all!

Rev. Thomas Wenndt

Pastor – Faith Lutheran Church

New Port Richey, FL

Comments are closed.