Today is Good Friday. A day where many remember the death of Jesus on the cross. There is no exception here in the Philippines. Largely a Catholic country, the entire week before Easter is full of remembrance and liturgies.
There is a Catholic church in Quiapo called the Church of the Black Nazarene. Every year for Easter week devotees go there to worship and be blessed. On Good Friday the statue of the Black Nazarene (called so because of a fire which turned the wood of the image black) is taken through the streets in a processional along with other replicas. Crowds flock there to watch and some try to get close enough to receive a blessing.
Dennis and I both watched the Black Nazarene procession and tried to get into the church two years ago. Dennis went back again last year. When we went I didn't have the sense enough to be scared as I shuffled along with everyone else, but I know if I had fallen getting back up may not have been a possibility. We were unable to get into the church because the flow of the crowd swept us away even as we struggled to make our way across the courtyard toward it. My friend recently shared this video which shows how crowded it gets.
Yesterday on Maundy Thursday thousands of devotees walked past our house going to a cathedral in Antipolo, a five to eight hour journey one way. They do it as an act of penance and devotion to God, as well as a fun time to be with friends.
Today, on Good Friday, there are some who will have themselves crucified on a cross and some who will beat themselves with flesh-ripping whips also as an act of penance and devotion.
Streets are mostly clear of traffic on this day (a lovely day to go somewhere if you have somewhere to go), stores are all closed and next to Christmas, Good Friday is the most recognized holiday.
Thinking about these things reminded me of these verses.
Hebrews 7: 24-27
24 But Jesus lives forever. So he always holds the office of priest. 25 People now come to God through him. And he is able to save them completely and for all time. Jesus lives forever. He prays for them.
26 A high priest like that meets our need. He is holy, pure and without blame. He isn't like other people. He does not sin. He is lifted high above the heavens.
27 He isn't like the other high priests. They need to offer sacrifices day after day. First they bring offerings for their own sins. Then they do it for the sins of the people. But Jesus gave one sacrifice for the sins of the people. He gave it once and for all time. He did it by offering himself.
F is for finished.