Last year, I had the pleasure of attending my first Tenebrae service. Tenebrae is a service typically held on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. It's a dark service with mournful songs, readings, and the gradual extinction of candles as the betrayal and death of Christ is described. That is how the service ended – in darkness, in silence, in contemplation. There were no joyous songs of the resurrection; those would come on Easter Sunday. The service ended with the mournful sadness that was Friday.
In our Western culture, we're not very fond of pain and sadness. We have lots of medication specifically designed to fight those feelings. We like quick fixes as much as we like fast food. When someone is going through a very difficult time, they are told to accept that God has a plan (a not so subtle attempt to shut up their sadness). However, this Tenebrae service reminded me of the value of mourning.
You cannot appreciate the joy of Easter Sunday without the pain and sadness of Good Friday. The power is found in the juxtaposition of the two. If you really want to celebrate the resurrection, you must feel the sadness of the crucifixion. Sit there in the mourning, the shattered dreams, the brokenness. Dwell in the sadness. Remember that the disciples didn't know that Jesus was going to rise again on Sunday. Only then can you feel the joy that the disciples felt on Easter Sunday.
We live our lives in the period of Good Friday. We have pain and heartache and sadness. We have the hope that Sunday is coming. We know that one day God will make everything right. But we can't see it. For now, we still live in the brokenness. Let yourself feel the pain of Friday, and rest in the hope that Sunday is coming.