For years I have been exchanging Christian blessings and conversation with the party store owner in our neighborhood. (“Party store” is a Michigan term for “convenience store” that I picked up during my seven years there.) He attends a local ethnic protestant Bible church. I have noticed over the years that the theology he confesses is mixed with a bit of triumphalism with a touch of “name it and claim it.” Today however, he made the good – Good Friday confession.
He has always focussed on Jesus but today he really nailed it and surprised me a bit given his tendency toward the theology of glory. It surprised me but it was also a great blessing and a great way to start this holy day.
As a sign that this was going to be more than our usual exchange of a few words of Christian piety, when I stopped at the register to check out, unlike our typical exchange, he began by reaching across the counter and shook my hand vigorously overflowing with blessings from Jesus.
The next words out of his mouth surprised me. After I wished him a blessed Holy Week he responded with “This is a great day because I am chief of sinners.” We then kibbitzed a bit about who is the worse sinner, he or I, while quoting St. Paul to each other.
I then mentioned how many Christians don’t always get the significance of Good Friday. He then said “Today is the day my Lord Jesus laid down his life for my sins.” It was a real blessing to hear him speak of the centrality of Christ crucified.
Hearing his humble confession of sin and his confession of Christ crucified, I thought I might go for the trifecta and so I said to him, “It is refreshing to hear you extol Good Friday. Many Christians think Easter is the big day.” His response: “No, this is the best day. I am chief of sinners.”
He gets it. The middle eastern party store owner gets it. May you too have a blessed best day of the year.