We find ourselves in the most unpredictable and perilous of times. To label it unusual and uncertain is an understatement. Living through a pandemic, or as a friend recently dubbed it, a “dam-panic,” is a scary, unsettling, and fearful experience. Doubtless, it won’t be long before EVERY American knows someone with the Coronavirus, and it will only be a few more weeks before EVERY American will know someone who has died from it. The term COVID-19 didn’t exist a few months ago. Now, it has become a well-known, never-to-be-forgotten term that will be a bad memory for some and a lingering heartache for many.
As these Shadows of Darkness descend, we hold our collective breaths in anticipation of what may come next.
What does this have to do with the innocuous-sounding title, It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming?
I first heard a sermon with that title in the 1980s, preached by the sociologist/evangelist, Tony Campolo. He freely admits to borrowing that line from a dynamic African-American pastor named S.M. Lockridge. The S.M. stood for Shadrach Meshach. With a name like that, you know this man had to be a preacher. (See Daniel, Chapter 3 to understand the significance of those names.) A few selected lines from Lockridge’s Easter meditation/poem with that same title reads as follows:
It’s Friday. Jesus is praying. Peter’s a sleeping. Judas is betraying. But Sunday’s comin’. It’s Friday. The disciples are running. Like sheep without a shepherd. Mary’s crying. Peter is denying. But they don’t know. That Sunday’s a-comin' It’s Friday. Hope is lost. Death has won. Sin has conquered and Satan’s just a laughin’. It’s Friday. Jesus is buried. A soldier stands guard. And a rock is rolled into place. But it’s Friday. It is only Friday. Sunday is a comin’!
Now, in the midst of a pandemic, I cannot help but reflect, once again, on the meaning and message of that simple line, It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming.
There is more to it than just the obvious — that every Friday is followed by a Sunday, or even that light follows darkness. It’s a resounding, earth-shaking, ball-peen hammer upside the head reminder that the Great Story did not end during those six hours on a Friday. It did not end on the cross rising above a hill called Golgotha. It may have started in shadows but it did not end in darkness and fear. Because, even in the midst of suffering, there is hope.
Why is there hope? Because…
On Friday, Mercy met Wrath and a debt was paid.
- After the ultimate sacrifice came the ultimate victory.
- After the crucifixion came the resurrection.
- After Good Friday came Easter.
It’s not about where you’ve been but where you are going.
John Stott, the late British minister, confessed to being unable to believe in a God if it were not for the cross. “In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?”
Pope John Paul II encouraged all of us to “not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
And evangelist, Ravi Zacharias reminds us that “Jesus Christ did not come to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive.”
Death may have come on a cross one Friday afternoon, but an empty tomb on Sunday morning heralded the ultimate victory of Life over Death. So while we shelter-in-place waiting for hell’s fury to pass, let us remember, it may be Friday, but Sunday’s coming.