Note to the early church fathers (who, sadly, did not bother passing down any information about the early church mothers, though there must have been some): A good Friday is one on which you rise, have coffee, find the bus arriving just as you reach the stop, get a seat by the window and, upon arriving at work, discover that your boss is out for the day, then, after work, go out for a boozy dinner with friends and, before retiring, have great sex with your significant other or perhaps a random stranger. It is a very bad Friday if on that day you are mocked and beaten with flails by burly Roman soldiers, forced to wear a crown of thorns and finally executed by being nailed to a large wooden cross, which you yourself had to carry across town.
Perhaps the early church fathers were being sarcastic.
As I am a Christmas-and-Easter Episcopalian, which is to say a partaker in a beautiful spiritual tradition that celebrates the sanctity of sleeping in most Sunday mornings, I will be arising at the unholy hour of 9 a.m. this Sunday (when the congregation intones, "He is arisen indeed," I will at first think they're talking about me, and feel that it's nice that they've noticed) and venturing around the corner to what my kids and I refer to as Big Gay Al's Big Gay Church. As is true every year, I will endeavor manfully, as the chalice of wine is borne my way, not to start chanting "Chug! Chug! Chug!" (Last year I almost managed it.) Also, for this one time of the year, getting incensed will not involve my cursing out a driver who's almost run me over at an intersection.
My kids used to come to church with me until my ex-wife started taking them to right-wing mega churches to make them more religious than the rather tolerant Episcopal church could manage, and also to drive the gay out of them. The gay proving not so easy to drive out, this incensed both of them -- and not in the smoke-on-Easter kinda way -- and they decided that they'd just as soon have two extra Sundays on which to sleep in. Honestly, I cannot fault the logic, but for myself I do not feel comfortable in giving up the last vestiges of my faith; for one thing, I understand that in the afterlife we Episcopalians hold a drawing for a door prize, and I'd hate to give up my shot at that. I may have been theologically misinformed.
Also, though I am loath to admit this in the presence of my cooler hipper friends (which is to say, my friends -- if they were lamer than me, I'd drop them like hot rocks), there's something satisfying about Easter communion, and it's not the two-buck chuck in the chalice, the pounding disco beat (if only in my head; it is a Big Gay Church, after all) or the baptismal baby pooping in the priest's arms, though all of that is fun. It's the sense that, once a year, you get a reset, a second chance, as with Yom Kippur (the Day Of Atonement) for Jews, though without the need to actually do anything difficult, like, you know, atone for stuff. (This year I gave up giving up things for Lent for Lent.) It's like how, when you're playing Monopoly and come around to pass go and you get that much-needed $200 when you're down to your last $5. (Then you land on St. James Place, which your sister owns and has put a hotel on.) (What can I say? I'm not good at Monopoly.) It's a little boost, a little thread of green in all the desolate brown left over from winter. Of course, you'd never notice the green if winter hadn't killed all of last year's color off. So okay, maybe Friday wasn't all that bad.
Plus, it's really cool to put Peeps in the microwave. You probably don't want to tell your kids that.
Thus endeth the lesson.