Back in my “disco” days in the late 70’s (another story for another time), there was a movie that came out called, “Thank God It’s Friday.” It was one of those multiple plot stories that centered around a popular disco palace on its busiest night – Friday. The idea was that, since the work week was done, it was now time to party. And so singles (and some “not so single”) would gather for a night of dancing, drinking, and hoping they might get “lucky” with someone.
I’m not sure what “God” had to do with that movie, but it sure revealed a lot of what our culture believed (and still believes) what Fridays are all about: blowing off steam and finding “love.”
Because of this, I find it interesting that the sixth day of the week is called “Friday.” It is named after the Norse deity, Freyja (or as the Anglo-Saxons called her, “Frige”), who was the goddess of sexual love. Her Roman counterpart was Venus (where the Spanish word for Friday, “Viernes,” comes from).
There is much to be said about the dangers of our over-sexed culture, and I’m not going to belabor the point. Let me say this: Sexuality itself is not bad (unfortunately too many people, including some Christians, believe that), but how it is used can be very bad and devastating. I believe at the center of the bad/worldly understanding of sex, love and relationships, in general, is “using people for our own benefit.” As theologian Martin Buber put it, the world wants to put replace the sanctity of “I/Thou” relationship (where love, understanding, and cooperation can exist) with an “I/It” relationship – where others are objectified and used as a means to my end.
It was the radical work of Jesus on the best Friday ever (we know as “Good Friday”) where he demonstrated what true love is. As the Apostle John reflected, “And this is love: not that we loved God, but He loved us and gave His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Love, whether it is expressed in sexual relationship with a spouse or in appropriate friendship with another, is not about using or abusing others for our benefit. It is about giving ourselves – selflessly – for the benefit of the other (“thou”).
As we think about transforming “Frigg’s Day” into the Lord’s Day, here are some ideas:
1. Don’t just say “Thank God, it’s Friday.” Rather say, “Thank You, God, for today!” As I mentioned last week, it’s “Thank God Friday.” So take time to write out what you are thankful for today and bring them to worship service as a way to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Remember to include how God shows you His love through Christ.
2. Examine how we treat people. Let’s ask God to reveal the ways we objectify people: how we use them, lust after them, manipulate them, ignore them, judge them, hold them in contempt, or marginalize them. Then confess, repent (the Jesus prayer works well here, too), and ask God to change our hearts. Self-examination is a very important and helpful spiritual discipline.
3. Look for ways to bring out the best in the people around us. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just a little encouragement here, some attentive listening there, a kind deed, or a thoughtful gesture. Give without expecting anything in return (definitely do not give to “get” or to manipulate). If you give out of the overflow of Christ – through Whole Life Worship practices – you will find that the more you bring out the best in others, the more you become a better you.
This past year I was convicted on my attitude toward a person whose personality was abrasive. As a result, I objectified this person and sometimes treated them as a “non-person” (but in a nice, codependent way – of course). But over time the Lord helped me see this person in a different light – as a human being, with hurts, struggles, unique gifts, and wonderful qualities (if I stopped long enough to notice and not judge). As my attitude (and actions) toward this person changed, this person began to undergo amazing transformation for the better. I totally underestimated how my attitudes and actions had on this person’s life.
So let’s thank God for His love and take advantage of the opportunity to love others for their benefit and blessing. It’s what Whole Life Worshipers are called to do, especially on Fridays.
(PS – I’ll cover Saturday and Sunday next week, on Thursday’s and Friday’s blog respectively)