For Good Friday (via Dave Lull) a meditation from National Review on Holy Week by the late D. Keith Mano:
Again, I think not. God prefers, when He can, to conserve terrestrial order. He has a dramatic instinct. And His own peculiar unities. The Passion is as naturalistic as frail wrist tissue shredded by a spike. Jesus could ferment water. He could infinitely divide the loaf and the fish. But here He had need of a furnished apartment. His colt might have come about providentially, as Abraham’s ram came about, caught in some thicket. But God wanted a known colt: one that had memorable references in Jerusalem. It was His purpose to leave a clear and historical track behind — evidence that might stand up in court. The presence of transcendent power among modest instruments is more persuasive than any bullying miracle could be.
It almost seems sacrilegious to say that this Good Friday (a name that’s purposely paradoxical), is a particularly good Friday for me. But so it is. This is the day of my manumission, the day my chains were loosed. I uploaded my completed capstone project today. Assuming I don’t fail (which is always possible, if unlikely), I’m done with graduate school forever.
If anybody wants me to get a doctorate, they can get me an honorary one.
Now comes the uneasy transition to civilian life. Today I mostly vegged out on the sofa, still feeling the vague guilt any graduate student always feels, when they’re not doing school work.
Well, it wouldn’t do to celebrate too much, on Good Friday.
It’s a darker than usual Good Friday for me. I just got word that my boss, the dean of our seminary, a gentle and godly man, passed away suddenly today. He just wrote me a recommendation for graduate school. It must have been one of the very last things he did in his office.
He sat across from me in my office about a week ago, and we discussed our ages. I said I was pretty old to start working for a Master’s. He said, “I’m a decade older than you, and I’m not planning to go anywhere.”
Is it good to die on Good Friday? A complicated question, as is the whole matter of “Good” Friday.
As far as I can tell, there are two major ways of explaining evil in the world (outside of the popular view that “it’s all garbage, so let’s just have a good time until we die”) today. One is what might be called the Buddhist Way, which understands evil to be an illusion, because existence itself is an illusion, so there’s no point getting upset.
The other is what I’ll call the Christian Way (though there are probably non-Christians who hold it in some variety). That way calls for citing the Old Testament statement that “God is a Man of War,” and believing that evil is real, but that He is in the process of defeating it.