The personal blog of Frank Lesko. Award-winning writer. Non-profit entrepreneur. Activist. Religious professional. Foodie. Musician. All around curious soul and Renaissance man.

See also my professional blog: The Traveling Ecumenist.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Nothing Left to Lose

It is a good thing there aren't people walking through the streets flailing themselves with bamboo switches, like in the Philippines. It is a good thing no one is getting nailed to a cross, today (hopefully). But I'm not sure that it is such a good thing that there is nothing different about Good Friday here.

From where I be, you can hardly tell this is a holiday at all. There is little solemnity in the air. There is virtually nothing different about today, except for a few anticipatory Easter wishes at work. Same dirty jokes on the radio. Same advertising. Every day its just pizza and chicken.

It should be expected. There is nothing commercial about a holiday whose distinguishing features are fasting and the memory of a torturous death. Its hard to make something to sell out of all that. Maybe that makes this a very special holiday, indeed.

It is a good thing that we don't live any longer under an oppressive religious regime that forces us to attend services and adhere to strict and sometimes unfair lifestyle guidelines. It is a good thing that it is no longer a scandal for someone to break with convention, out of necessity or choice. Its a good thing you can get yourself an emergency tank of gas, if you need one, or stay home from church. On Good Friday, of all days, it is good that there is mercy in the system.

But like the song goes, freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.

And nothing from nothing leaves nothing. You gotta have something.

40 Days of sacrifice. 40 days of fasting. 40 days of walking the death walk with Christ. The Lenten season: an inconvenience. Church services and religious observance. It is a hollow victory to throw all that away and replace it with . . . nothing. Or more of the same, which is really a big nothing. We are free from the shackles of oppression, now go buy something. Target is open late. We beat that bad church, now let's collect the spoils and have another day of same ole, same ole. There's a porn star on NPR. And that's nothing.

And maybe this is a day of nothing. I'm not even going to memorialize it with a capital "N". No, its not "Nothing Day". It is just nothing.

And maybe this is a day to experience nothing. For if there ever was a day when nothing promises to turn into something, it would be Good Friday. If there were ever a day when the hollow becomes the hallowed, it would be today. Good Friday: God as Creator again makes something from nothing. Because, you know, you gotta have something.

And that, like the rest of creation, is good.


  1. This really rings true:

    "If there were ever a day when the hollow becomes the hallowed, it would be today. "

    Glad I found this blog. :)


  2. I think Easter is the only holiday that is hard to celebrate secularly (even given the Easter Bunny). In my years as an atheist, it was totally easy to skip that one once my grandma E died and there was no one around who wanted to get family together to celebrate it. Top it off with the fact that my husband died the day before Easter (April 14) in 2001, and I could just forget it existed for awhile.

    Now, finding faith again, I've found myself looking more closely at Easter and reflecting upon its meaning in ways I never did before, even in my Catholic upbringing... I'm learning all new things about it (never heard of Maundy Thursday). I am still debating whether I'm going to do the UU church tomorrow, or go to a Christian one to experience the walk from the point of view of those who celebrate it. The events of Easter are, as my boyfriend aptly pointed out, what birthed Christianity. Whereas Christmas is the birth of the Messiah, the child that was to become the great leader later. Christmas is more of a celebration because of that--everyone knows what it's like to celebrate the birth of a child. Good Friday is more like the funeral... and somber.

  3. Thanks for visiting, Jenny!

    MG: Yeah, Easter is truly the pivotal holiday of the Christian calendar, but it really hasn't fared very well in the secular onslaught. If the chocolate industry didn't have its heyday with Easter, it might have been forgotten altogether by now.

  4. This is one of my favorites of your posts so far.

    See also: