Some Baptists Push for Good Friday Service

Stopping at the Cross on the way to Easter is a moving experience, some Baptist ministers say. (Creative Commons photo)
Stopping at the Cross on the way to Easter is a moving experience, some Baptist ministers say. (Creative Commons photo)

While still uncommon among evangelical churches, some Baptists are adamant that Good Friday services are vital to a full appreciation and experience of Christ’s resurrection.

A group of teachers in Rhode Island, where Catholicism is the prevailing faith, sued their school system earlier this month, demanding they get the day off for Good Friday.

The Associated Press reported that the teachers’ union in Cranston asserted a civil right to observe the day commemorating Christ’s death. School officials said teachers can take the time off only when services occur during the school day.

Whatever the outcome, it’s a lawsuit and debate that would be very unlikely in states dominated by evangelical Christians.

But some Baptist ministers say Good Friday is a moment in Christianity that should be observed by more Protestants. Some even say Easter and the whole of the Christian calendar make little sense without it.

‘Reckon with ruin and death’

By no means is Good Friday an isolated event, said Winn Collier, the pastor of All Souls Charlottesville, a partner church with the Baptist General Association of Virginia.

Following the church calendar is a congregation’s way of following the footsteps of Christ throughout the year. And for both churches and individuals it’s an attempt to follow the way of Jesus and embody his story in their own lives, Collier said.

“There’s no way you cannot do Good Friday because this is one of the pivotal turns in the story,” he said.

Good Friday commemorates the day of Jesus crucifixion, and historically has been observed primarily by Catholics, Episcopalians and other liturgical Christian traditions.

However, Good Friday — together with the rest of Holy Week, Lent and the church calendar concept — have been either ignored or condemned by conservative Protestant groups. Many have seen these practices as beholden to Catholicism and, according to them, therefore connected to more ancient pagan rituals.

But ignoring Good Friday robs Easter of its full meaning, Collier said.

“We have to reckon with ruin and death to fully celebrate the power and liberation of life that we encounter in Christ’s resurrection,” he said.

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SOURCE: Baptist News Global – Jeff Brumley

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