"Were You There When They Crucified the Lord?"

Today is Good and Holy Friday. Followers of Christ try to commemorate His passion and death on the cross. For many years I did not quite know what to do on this day. In my country of origin, Poland that is, Good Friday was not even an official holiday. We celebrated Easter Monday, which was a rather joyous festival, associated with "smigus dyngus" - outpouring of water on giggling girls.

But Good Friday? Naturally, if you are a "church goer" you can go to church and celebrate this day through a communal prayer. This has never been an established habit of mine. I tried it a few times - it was O.K., but I wanted more, something more personal. For a few years I used to watch Mel Gibson's - "The Passion of the Christ" - on that day. Very traumatic experience almost every time. One can argue with some of the theological interpretations of Gibson, but surely he managed to show with great reality what the passion of Christ had involved. I felt sometimes sick after watching this movie. As if it was not watching a film, but participation in Christ's suffering itself. However, one year my perception of this film was rather dry. It looked that I somehow "inoculated" myself against further trauma. I realized that this film had fulfilled its role and it is time to look for something else.

Good Friday and Easter seem to confuse and divide us with no less strength than 2000 years ago. In many respects we seem to be polarized along the attitudes of the two thieves crucified with Jesus - the one, who did not believe in him and mocked him, and the one who asked to be taken into His Kingdom.

I can observe it, for instance, in my discussion group "Bleblandia," which consists of my friends, most of whom I have known since high school. In our micro-cosmos we have people like Hakatka, a devoted Catholic, for whom this day is a somber occasion, and Armatea, a feisty atheist, who celebrates Easter by sending to other women in the group a photo of a muscular young man. And there is also this middle group of people, for whom Easter is about chocolate bunnies, hunting for Easter eggs, etc. What is a chance of accomplishing "unity"in such a diverse group? Can we coexist without believers "hurting the feelings" of non-believers, and vice versa?

I don't have an answer to these questions yet. I love my friends equally and it does not matter for me so much what they believe or not believe in. They are simply ... my friends. I think I have a similar attitude to people in general. If they believe in the Story of Christ or not, does not seem to be important. What seems important is that Christ out poured His love for all of them, and that His sacrifice embraced them all.

In the meantime, out of respect for Christ's suffering, I try to listen to the You Tube music that seems appropriate for the occasion:


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