Today is Good Friday. Does it feel like a good Friday? Good Friday, in the Christian tradition, is marked as the day on which Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. You remember from our live blogging of Easter in Greece a few years ago that the Orthodox Christian faith is on a different liturgical calendar. For Orthodox Christians, Good Friday will take place next week.
It's understandable to view Good Friday, and the events occuring on it, as a real bummer. Crucifiction is an awful way to kill someone, and it was a particularly unearned punishment in Jesus' case. Yet, Christians view Jesus' crucifixion as a gift that ultimately allows mankind to be reconciled to God. It is that gift, called Atonement, and Jesus' subsequent resurrection from the dead, that Christians celebrate during the Easter season.
So, why should you care? I'm glad you asked. First of all, you should care because religion shapes the way people make decisions, both on an individual basis, and in global politics. Learning about different religions gives insight into historic and current events. For example, did you know that the Jewish festival, Passover, began this week? Do you know what that's all about? Do you know how Passover fit into history, and how it's observed today? Did you know that Ramadan will be observed worldwide by Muslims beginning in two weeks? Are you impressed by me? Are you planning to give me a standing ovation the next time you see me? Are you even still reading at this point?
Second, you should care because the name of today's religious observance relates to your final Banana Bella contessignment for this week. Good Friday is a good Friday when you view it as a celebration of a gift that attempted to (and Christians would say succeeded in) putting goodness and hope into a world where it's sometimes hard to see goodness and hope. All three of the Banana Bellas from this week are supposed to give you an opportunity to do something nice for others. Today's assignment is particularly explicit. I want you to give something that will help make this a good Friday. Your gift can take many forms. If you want to donate money to a person or organization, that's great. If you want to send another note to someone who needs it, that's also great. If you're not in a position to spend money, I did a real quick Google search, and found some non-monetary ways to give:
7Cups Volunteer Listener: HERE
Crisis Text Line Volunteer: HERE
Bookshare Volunteer: HERE
Learn To Be Volunteer Tutor: HERE
Red Cross Digital Ambassador: HERE
I can't vouch for any of these organizations. I haven't researched them thoroughly. The point is that there are many ways you can make this a good Friday. Don't feel limited by my suggestions. Go do something good, and let me know you've done it by sending me a message that says "It was a good Friday."