I had the privilege of preaching at Atmosphere Church’s Good Friday service last week. What an amazing time of gathered worship. Together we gazed into the sovereign irony surrounding the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. The music, the teaching, the prayer, the celebration of the Table caused me to see and savor my bleeding, dying Lord even more.
Together we explored the ironies of the Cross through the lens of Eucatastrophe.
What is Good Friday? Good Friday is an oxymoron, a day of irony, of painful paradoxes. Irony makes us… laugh and think more clearly. Irony makes us see familiar things with fresh eyes.
But Good Friday is not just a day of ordinary irony. It is THE day of the THE Ultimate Irony. It is the most catastrophic day in all of history! But it’s a good catastrophe. It is a Eucatastrophe, the Great Eucatastrophe. The execution of Jesus on that Roman Cross on that Friday afternoon nearly two thousand years ago was the greatest, most complete, the ultimate Eucatastrophe ever and that will ever be.
J.R.R. Tolkien coined this phrase to explain how good things can come from catastrophes, how unpredictable redemption can be won in the midst of unimaginable loss. But Tolkien’s standard was not fiction or fantasy like his Lord of the Rings. He believed all of the happy endings in all of our fairy tales were but faint echoes of the real gospel of the real good news. Speaking of the story of Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection, Tolkien said: “There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true…But this story is supreme; and it is true.”
Tonight we stare into the day of irony, the day of Eucatastrophe, this Good Friday. With God’s help let us stare into the good catastrophe of the cross with fresh eyes.
- First we will see how Good Friday is a Eucatastrophe for Jesus.
- And then we will see how Jesus’ Eucatastrophe is good news for us.