"So, is it like, cos it's a Bank Holiday that you're going to church?" asked our carer this morning.
"It's kind of an important day for a Christian," I replied. Possibly not the clearest or most tactful of replies, but it hadn't occurred to me that someone who has grown up here, attended primary and secondary schools here, and probably even been to the occasional Christening or Wedding, might not make a connection between Good Friday and church. Hot Cross Buns for breakfast not enough of a clue.
So for anyone else not sure why some of us might be going to church whilst you are enjoying a day off (or being frustrated by closed shops and banks), here's a quick reminder.
Today's the day we call Good Friday. The day when Jesus, Son of God and God made man allowed himself to be nailed to a cross, and chose to stay there until he died. Betrayed by one of his closest followers the night before (proving that, right from the start, his followers aren't always the nicest of people), he chose not to defend himself in court, nor to step down from the cross, but to hang in shame and pain until the very end.
On the face of it, possibly not a very Good Friday for God or man.
Or it wouldn't be, if it ended there. But at the moment Jesus died, the separation between God and man died too, the temple curtain ripped from top to bottom, and one perfect sacrifice replaced unending pigeons and bulls and constant rivers of animal blood. Grace and mercy and forgiveness replaced the Law, a law which no man had ever been able to keep since it was written back on a mountain in the wilderness.
And it doesn't even end there, with a new covenant. But in just a couple of days, we get to celebrate the fact that not even death can have victory over God. And, just as Jesus himself rose from the grave, we know that death itself is not the end, but the beginning. Something all the more precious for those of us with friends and family who have gone on before us.
The celebration is ahead of us right now though. For today we come as a church to the foot of the cross, joining in thought with those first followers, watching with them as the Lord breathes his last. Lost in awe at the love which offers such sacrifice, thankful beyond words.