Tony Campolo is well known as a professor and preacher, and one of his better known sermons (with a book by the same name) is, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’.” Perhaps not so well known is that Campolo borrowed the main story in that sermon, as he freely confessed, from Dr. Shadrach Meshach Lockridge, the dynamic African-American pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego. Lockridge was active in the Civil Rights movement, but was best known as a preacher.
Among his most famous sermons was, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.” Some of the words include
these: “It’s Friday. Jesus is praying. Peter is a-sleeping. Judas is betraying. But Sunday’s comin’. It’s Friday; Pilate’s struggling. The council is conspiring. The crowd is vilifying. They don’t even know that Sunday’s comin’. It’s Friday; Jesus is buried. A soldier stands guard. And a rock is rolled into place. But it's Friday. It is only Friday.” Then Lockridge thundered, “But Sunday is a-comin'!” And the congregation erupted in praise!
Dr. Lockridge’s sermon was much longer of course, but we get the idea. Friday was a bad day. But
Sunday, when it came, was glorious. The lesson that we can take away is an important one. There is
a tendency for us to despair like the disciples did on that Friday when Jesus was killed and buried. We
live in a Good Friday world filled with suffering, pain, sorrow, sin, and death. We see it played out around us every single day with school shootings and the recent bombings in Texas. And very often, it gets played out in our own lives.
But we are hope-full, because Easter Sunday is coming and with it the reminder that Good Friday doesn’t
have the last word. God has the last word and the last word is always “hope.” Jesus was raised from
the grave, with the promise of eternal life for all who follow him. He is alive and with us in our lives no matter our situation or circumstance. God is a promise-keeping God.
In one of his classic Easter sermons, William Sloane Coffin acknowledged “that there are plenty of
reasons to think we live in a Good Friday world — a world where might makes right, goodness is
betrayed, integrity gets compromised, and seemingly powerless love gets nailed to a cross by loveless
power.” But Coffin also said “that the resurrection means that this is an Easter world after all. Easter means that Christ is alive, not as a memory that inevitably fades, but as an undying presence in the life of every one of us.” Coffin then asked the question: “What shall we choose: to live half alive and preserve the illusion of a Good Friday world, or to live fully alive in the truth that Christ is raised?” I choose the latter. How about you?
As I write this, it is Wednesday, March 21; it is springtime and it is snowing! But Easter is coming! I wish to each and every member and friend of Montgomery Hills a glorious, hope-full, and meaning-full Easter.
Pastor Joel Hawthorne