Black Friday

April 14th, 2017


I’ve sometimes wondered why they call today Good Friday and the big shopping day after Thanksgiving Black Friday. Seems to me the titles should be reversed. Aren’t all the sales intended to be great? So great that stores open before dawn, with lines already formed? Isn’t that the inaugural day of shopping for Christmas? Isn’t it a good Friday for shoppers and sellers alike. Why it’s called “black” is a mystery.

On the other hand, why do we call this day, “good,” when history’s most innocent man was subjected a gruesome, public death. I don’t get it.

The Roman governor couldn’t find anything in him worthy of death . . . or worthy of any punishment at all. So instead he just flogged him within an inch of his life. For that we call the day “good”?

What about the mock trial, conducted by an advanced society that knew all about justice—illegally conducted at night, with “witnesses” whose accusations didn’t match or make sense, and a fist to the face against the accused without recourse? What was “good” about that?

What about the desertion and denial of his closest friends at the moment of greatest need? Was that “good”? I think not.

There’s more: like the cynicism of the purple robe—appropriate for a king, but that’s not how they meant it. And what about that crown of thorns jammed down on his head, likely of the one- and two-inch variety. I wonder if that sadistic weaver punctured his own fingers. Would he have called that a good Friday?

Speaking of that, forehead wounds, with the myriad of tiny veins just below the skin, make for a face completely covered in blood. Not a pretty picture. Certainly not “good.”

There’s more: like being crucified naked, a public shame. “Good”?

And crucified! . . . an expression that rolls across the tongue as casually as hot cross buns on a stick. Loathsome spikes pounded through muscle and bone and with the weight of the body hung out to die. Thirsty under scorching sun with only vinegar offered to quench? What kind of day is this? Not “good.”

Then just to be sure he died they pierced his side. It was finished, and they called it “good.”

Why’d it happen? Why did everything go wrong that could? Because, they said, he claimed to be the Son of God. They didn’t like that. They put him away for “good.”

But the skies went dark, ominous and fearful, convincing the centurion he was who he said. It’s another reason, those dark skies, that this Friday should not be called “good,” but “black.”

It’s a mystery, these reversals of terms. In the end, reality also reversed. Two days later the tomb was empty and the sightings began. A whole new reality came to be with us, and has never left.

What could we call that but “good”!!


PS Here I am a year ago Easter, painting live at Saddleback Church, San Clemente. I call it Easter Night, on the day that really should be called “good.” Click on it for details.


  1. Judie Apr 14, 2017
    11:53 am

    Thanks, Hyatt……….well said, and I love the painting too. A blessed Easter to you and the family.

  2. sue Apr 14, 2017
    12:07 pm

    Great words, Hyatt. As a believer since birth practically, I am numbed to the pain and suffering Christ did for me. Truly, good that He did and that He gave me the family He did and the belief I have. (It’s Black Friday bc shops get a chance to be in the black instead of in the red but you probably sleep in or you’re up in your studio instead of in line at Best Buy.) Happy Easter – it’s good we’re related. (:

  3. Joanncokas Apr 14, 2017
    12:54 pm

    I love your work Hyatt. This is so beautiful.
    Happy easter to you and Anne.
    Many blessings to you two.

  4. Tim MacDonald Apr 14, 2017
    1:35 pm

    Nicely captured Hyatt. Incredible what Jesus chose to endure for us. Unbelievable that he actually conquered sin and death. Thank you Jesus for giving us life!

  5. Mike Evans Apr 14, 2017
    4:46 pm

    Thanks for the beautiful and deeply moving Good Friday meditation. May all who read it take it to heart.

  6. Franziska Moser Apr 15, 2017
    2:09 am

    Thank you, Hyatt.

  7. Norm H. Apr 15, 2017
    8:48 am

    Very searching, Hyatt. I especially like the “It is finished” part of the story. No more anguish, rigid religiosity, or effort on our part to absolve the disconnect. Paid in full. Once, for all, sacrifice. May many, on this day, stand still and consider the things that need to be considered. These thoughts, along with your painting, leave me grateful.

  8. Corri Apr 15, 2017
    1:36 pm

    Thank you. Thank you for giving me perspective on the true gift we are offered through a black day that gave way to good for all humanity.

  9. Kent Pace Apr 16, 2017
    7:32 am

    Just a note to tell you that Nina has fallen in love with your book, It’s About Life. She is enjoying daily readings. Love the painting

  10. Sharon HAMILTON Apr 20, 2017
    10:39 am

    It was black for him, but it was good for us, we were saved from our sins and able
    to enter heaven thru belief in him.