I don’t know about you, but I always feel that Easter is premature; you know, kind of “if-this-is-resurrection-you-can-keep-it” premature. Good Friday? Now there’s a liturgy a can drink down whole to the last drop.
And, yet, there is one passage that for me links these two dimensions of the Triduum. It is Saint Paul’s discussion of new birth in Romans 8:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it (18-25).
In my experience, Evangelical Christianity invites us to an Easter without bodies, without creation, without groaning and without pain. It is Easter from the vantage point of every man: knock me up, knock me out, full epidural, wake me up when its all over. “Wasn’t that easy!” Well, “no.” That would be a “no.”
A full-throated Easter would entail groaning and pain; it would not leave creation behind to fend for itself; it would not be Easter “in my heart,” “in my soul,” “by faith.” This kind of disembodied Easter is the perfect counterpart to the “speculative Good Friday,” where the Palestinian Jew only seems to undergo death. Except that in the “speculative Easter,” all of creation does not even appear to be made new. We can have Easter and trash creation. We can have Easter and deny human beings the basic dignity they deserve. Easter without any evidence at all.
Yes, yes. “Who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” Have faith! As though faith and hope were indistinguishable. “I hope for resurrection, for new life, for Easter. And, so I have it!” No pain or groaning required.
Full epidural? More like full lobotomy. Good Friday reminds us of the only path to Easter.