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Good Friday - Honouring Jesus's Love and Sacrifice

The Friday before Easter, which is known as "Good Friday," is a holiday in many countries around the world.

When I was a kid, I never really understood why this day was called "Good" Friday. What exactly did that imply? Why is it called "Good" Friday when the day actually commemorates Jesus Christ's crucifixion and death? However, as I'd come to realise later on, it actually carries the same meaning as being referred to as a "Holy" day.

It was the day that Jesus Christ sacrificed his life so that the sins of the entire humanity could be forgiven. This indicates that the act of forgiving others is what should be praised. Since it was this day that led to the celebration of Easter and Jesus' resurrection, it can also be seen in a positive light.

Many of the traditions and devotions connected to Good Friday that have been practised for centuries are still widely observed today.

Pilgrimages and plays called Passion Plays, which dramatised the life of Jesus Christ, were common ways for people to observe the day during the Middle Ages. On Good Friday, many people observe the holiday by abstaining from food and drink and going to church services to pay their respects.

People who want to repent their wrongdoings or show solidarity towards Jesus will sometimes walk through the streets of their communities wearing long robes with hoods and carrying a large wooden cross. This is known as a "Jesus Walk."

The lesson that Jesus teaches on this holy day of Good Friday is something that bring to mind Swami's very similar message, which is "Love All Serve All."

Remembering the day that Jesus went to the cross willingly to take our place and suffer and die as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins is what we do on Good Friday. (Ref: 1 John 1:10). This indicates that Jesus bore the consequences for the sins committed by all of humanity by accepting the punishment. In my view, this is the best illustration of how to truly love others while also serving them.

Finding one's way in the world, taking care of one's responsibilities, and maintaining healthy relationships can be very difficult. It can be difficult to love all beings at times, especially when one's efforts at love and kindness are not reciprocated. This is especially true for me.

But keeping in mind the selfless sacrifice that Jesus Christ made is humbling, and it helps me to understand that it doesn't matter what you're getting out of it; what's more important is that you love and serve others without expecting anything in return. As we move closer to the sacred celebrations of Easter, I will make it a point to take advantage of any chance I come across, no matter how big or how small, to express my love and devotion to other living things and to serve them.

As Swami said, ‘The heart of Jesus was pure and calm. Hence it is honoured as sacred. We must make our hearts sacred so that either we merge in Jesus or Jesus merges in us. When we merge, it is called devotion (bhakti); to say Jesus awakened in us is the path of wisdom (jnana).’

Ref: Divine Discourse, 25 December 1984)

The example that we can learn from the life and death of Jesus teaches us how to value life, both our own and the lives of those around us. Jesus had good wishes not only for those who loved him but also for those who despised him. He wished them both well. As we draw closer to the holy celebrations of Good Friday and Easter, let us let the life of Jesus serve as a reminder to us that one of the greatest challenges in life is to rise above those who deride us and find it within ourselves to send nothing but love to all beings. This will help us prepare for the upcoming holidays.

Om Sri Ram

Raksha Kumar

(Sai Centre of Mt Wellington, Auckland)


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