Harry Potter & Good Friday
I've been reading the Harry Potter books to my kids, and it's getting a little emotional for them. I knew the intensity of the stories would be a stretch for my 7 and 9-year-old, but I knew they'd love the story. True enough, there's no turning back now, so we're knee-deep into them, emotions and all. For instance, during book two when the beloved character Hagrid was taken away to prison, I thought my son was going to have a meltdown.
"But I KNOW that Hagrid didn't do anything wrong!!!"
Time and again I've reassured them that I've read all of the books and that in the end, everything works out. However, I warn, there are going to be lots of twists and turns before book seven, so they need to hang on tight. They can't, I insist, have a meltdown every time it appears one of the "good guys" is in trouble. I've started using a sentence with them that starts with me saying ...
"It will work out in the end, and IF IT HASN'T worked out, then..."
and I look at them to finish the statement - "then it's NOT the end" they say.
They seem to trust me on this point, but the trust gets thin in the more dramatic moments of the story. Of course, I know that I'm speaking the truth and that when the series wraps up, they will be thrilled with the ending. I'm a step ahead of them because I've read all of the books and I know where the story is going. Because I've read ahead, I'm comfortable with the bad parts in the middle.
In a similar way, if you walk into the Easter weekend and think very much about what happened on "Good Friday," you can be really thrown off. Candidly, as a kid, I was always confused by Good Friday. The day was dark, sad, and a bit scary to me. The older I've become, the more I recognize the deep pain and sorrow that day held.
As a kid, I thought "good" was a positive word. "Good" just seemed to be the wrong word.
If you've never read the story of Easter, you should check it out because it's more engaging and terrifying than anything you'll read in a children's fantasy series. Here's my daughter's brief summary that she penned last year in church.
When I was her age, I remember feeling a little distressed knowing that Jesus, who loved me (this I know), was being nailed to a Roman cross. I couldn't conceive of how death in any way, shape or form could be redeemed.
Jesus was crucified on a Friday and things looked very, very bleak for his followers. Still, thousands of years later we annually "celebrate" this day. How odd. Why are the sentiments so different for us? Why does everyone seems convinced NOW that the events of that Friday were good?
Because we know what comes after. We know, as deep and dark as that chapter was, we know the hopeful, life-giving news that comes in the chapter soon to follow, on Easter.
Just like in the novels by J.K. Rowling, I've read ahead and I know that even though things looked bleak on Friday, Sunday was coming and everything would look different then.
Friday was good because of Sunday.
I am emotional on Friday, that's not the end of the story.