I spoke with my neighbour yesterday evening.  The family moved in a few months ago and are doing a tremendous job “upgrading” their home.  You can tell they have pride in their ownership.  Through the winter months we had only exchanged pleasantries and brief ones at that.  But the onset of spring and warmer times allow you to stop and linger over conversation.

Yesterday was the eve of today (today is Good Friday).  I was walking to my car and the wife and daughter were walking to theirs.  I greeted them and asked politely about their plans for the “long weekend”.   They had some family events and were busy, busy, busy. They asked about mine and I mentioned today, Good Friday, and then Easter, that I went to church.  She replied “in my country the Christians also go to church this weekend, but they do not call it “Good Friday” “.  I knew by their accents that Canada was a chosen homeland for them. I enquired about the place they grew up and she mentioned she was Lebanese and her husband was Palestinian.

I went another step and asked “are you from the Christian tradition or the Muslim tradition?” and she easily replied “we are moderate Muslims”.  I don’t know if she caught my humour but I answered “well, that’s great because I like to consider myself a moderate Christian” (as opposed to an extreme Christian, or crazy Christian!).    I followed up on an earlier comment and enquired “why don’t you call it Good Friday in your country?”   She explained to me that in her culture, they celebrate the birth of Jesus as a good thing.  And they know about the crucifixion of Jesus as an historical fact.   But they found the suffering aspect of the death of Jesus to be anything but good.  She said in the Arabic language, they use a word that we would translate “mixed” or “melancholic” to describe the events of Good Friday.

I finished up the conversation by agreeing with her. “You’re right.   As good as Good Friday is, you can’t  really think of it as a good day.  I find myself very sad and close to tears most of this day”.  She said to me “you are a good Christian man if that is true”.  I’d like to agree with her, but who of us is really good.

Interesting theological discussion with my Muslim neighbour.

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