That 8-inch spike… a Good Friday Perspective

Scott Johnson, elder and teacher at Fellowship Bible Church in Tulsa, shared a powerful Palm Sunday message about the cross crucifixion.

Scott shared perspectives of the Roman crucifixion based on his personal study. The most memorable part for me was seeing Scott hold in his hands a giant nail, or spike, like one that would have been used by Romans to fasten a body to the wooden frame.

The nail was eight inches long, 3/8″ at top, and tapered to the bottom – sufficient for holding the body in place as the 300-pound structure is raised up into the air and slammed in an approximate two-foot hole.

We all have our own way of processing that horrific scene on that Good Friday afternoon. I admit I’ve not usually given significant thought to the actual crucifixion event. I mostly think of Easter Sunday… the resurrection, the good news, the empty tomb.

But this year is different. Things have slowed down. My mind is less cluttered.  And Good Friday means much more to me today than it has in years past.

Months ago when I was filling in my spring calendar, I scheduled a track meet for Good Friday (I coach a high school track team). At the time, I felt a little uneasy about it. But not enough to guard the sacred day on family calendars.

Now here we are – no plans for Good Friday. And it feels right to me.

I mentioned in a previous article (3 ways to view the pandemic) my recent reflections on the Sabbath. I know sabbath-keeping matters… I just struggle with how to do it – at least in a family with teenagers.

I suppose that’s how I feel about Good Friday, too. Already, even under “safe-at-home” conditions, we’ve encountered our own Good Friday struggles in the Anderson home.

Do our sons work their jobs? Does Dad work on the laptop? Is yard work a good way to spend the day? Does live-streaming an evening service offset a day of work or play? And what about Easter? (same questions).

I welcome the opportunity to work out these challenges in my home. Not because I’m a legalist (I’m not.) And not because I think the day should be dull (I think the opposite).

It goes back to the image of that 8-inch spike. I don’t want to gloss over this day (and weekend) as I have done so many years past. I want to reflect on the day. I want to better grasp its significance.

Tension is good

I need to work out my tension with this biblical feast holiday, and discover ways to restore its reverence in our lives. My day might look different than yours, and your day might look different than the next person. The day might even look different for various members in the same household.

For me, it’s all about the tension. Embrace the tension. The tension is healthy. Tension presents choices and decisions. Meanwhile, God sees us seeking to honor Him. And that’s how worship happens.

Thank you Jesus for taking those spikes… for me.

Something as small as shutting down the laptop to take a walk with the family while thanking God in your silent thoughts – from God’s perspective, that just might send shouts to the heavens.