Today is Good Friday, a holiday in many Christian-based religions that commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In my faith tradition, it was a dark day of contemplation and prayer, one that was necessary before we received the promise and glory of Easter Sunday.
I wanted to incorporate something about old or new practices and traditions into my post this morning, but wasn’t sure what would be most relevant for us all here at LWB. So I thought it best to do a little online research, and here’s some of what I discovered:
- Although there’s a folk legend that “Good” was a derivation of “God” (something I was taught as a child), it was long ago defined as “pious, holy.”
- In various countries and languages, what I call “Good Friday” is known as “Silent Friday” or “Great Friday” or “The Long Friday”.
- Some countries close schools and government offices; in others, many businesses close so that employees can attend religious services.
- Some religions observe the day with fasting; members of the Moravian Church, one of the oldest denominations of Protestants, marked the day with a “Lovefeast.”
It’s that last item that intrigued me. What is a “lovefeast”? In the 21st century, we have an understanding that a “feast” involves copious amounts of food and beverages, a large gathering of family and friends, and a celebratory air that might include music, dancing, and revelry. But there’s something about throwing in the “love” part that makes it sound (regrettably) a bit R-rated. That was not the case in the 18th century, when the Lovefeast held on Good Friday might have been as simple as servings of sweet buns and coffee, or even bread and water, with music and singing all designed to “strengthen the bonds and the spirit of harmony, goodwill, and congeniality, as well as to forgive past disputes and instead love one another.” (Read up on at the details here.)
Doesn’t the idea of that just warm your heart? It does mine, and it gets me thinking about how I might put together my own lovefeast. I imagine inviting dear friends to join me around a table for a thoughtfully prepared meal. I imagine seeing their delight as they greet each other with forgiveness and acceptance. I imagine a toast to friendships time-tested and new. I imagine feeling tears well in my eyes as I look around at the sweet souls beside and across from me and feeling so grateful for their presence in my life.
I also imagine you there. For although we are geographically all over the globe, making a sit-down dinner with all our LWB sisters impossible, when I am here with you, on these pages, I am strengthened by our spirit of harmony, goodwill, and congeniality. I release past hurts and look to the future. I feel accepted and loved.
And that feels so very, very good.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is counting her blessings today.