Lessons from the Archetype of Good Friday

We are meditating on the archetype of Good Friday, the death of Rabbi Jesus at the hands of the Roman Empire, and how they instruct our souls in a time of a pandemic.  An archetype stirs us from below, from our deepest recesses.  

Why is Good Friday an archetype for a time of a global coronavirus pandemic? Some lessons of the Good Friday archetype seem to include the following:

We are all mortal.

Seven-year-old Taylor Hayes was riding in the back seat of a car in Baltimore when she was shot in July 2018. She fought to survive for seven days before passing away. Photo from the Baltimore Fishbowl.

“All beings suffer” (as the Buddhists remind us)—even the just and the innocent.

Empires cannot be trusted.

Life itself can seem unjust from our perspective for the young ought not to die young.

It often seems to us that the just should not have to suffer.

But we all do suffer, young and old, known and unknown. 

Death and the possibility of death can make us afraid. 

But death does not have the last word.

Homes for the homeless, outside a shopping center. Photo by Björn Söderqvist on Flickr

Life is about more than shopping.

Life is about more than playing the stock market (which is another way of shopping—i.e. shopping to make more money on one’s money).

Life is precious as well as precarious.

Life itself cannot be taken for granted.

Life is more important than a “Gross National Product” and maybe our post-coronavirus economics should begin with Life’s preciousness and that of the community rather than a compulsive rush after an ever bigger GNP.

Grieving is a part of life.

Grieving is a necessary part of growing one’s soul—of dying before we die—and living in the real world and being real.

Grief. Photo by Josh Sheldon on Flickr.

Grieving includes anger and outrage which must be attended to.

Grieving includes moving beyond denial.

Grieving frees the soul.

Suffering (as well as joy) unites us all as human beings and indeed unites all creatures.

“All beings suffer” as Buddhism teaches and as the cross teaches.

Life trumps suffering (or as Rabbi Zalman Schactner used to say, “there is more good than evil in the world but not by much”).

Therefore be on the look out for good.  Be a hunter-gatherer for good.

“The Crucifixion” by Ullrrich Javier Lemus. Station Twelve in The Stations of the Cosmic Christ.

“When your heart breaks, the whole universe can break through,” advises Buddhist teacher Joanna Macy. 

Heartbreak and grief open us up and enlarge the soul.

We die many times before we die.  Get used to it.  Learn to Let Go.

Love and suffering are often united—one pays a price for loving which is often (not always) unrequited.  And that is okay.

“The seed must die for the plant to grow.” (Jesus)

“If you want the kernel you must break the shell.” (Eckhart)

Forgiveness is in order.  That breaks the cycle of hatred.

“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Jesus)

“You must love something more than the fear of death if you are going to live.”  (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

See Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 123-128.

Banner Image: The Kayford mountaintop removal site, Kayford Mountain, WV. Photo by Kate Wellington, Flickr

Queries for Contemplation

Be with these lessons of Good Friday.  Let them wash over you and through you.

What other lessons from the Good Friday archetype can you name?

What further lessons do you take from being with the archetype of Good Friday and the cruel death of Jesus on a cross?

Recommended Reading

Resurrection Logic: How Jesus’ First Followers Believed God Raised Him from the Dead

Bruce Chilton investigates the Easter event of Jesus in Resurrection Logic. He undertakes his close reading of the New Testament texts without privileging the exact nature of the resurrection, but rather begins by situating his study of the resurrection in the context of Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, and Syrian conceptions of the afterlife. He then identifies Jewish monotheistic affirmations of bodily resurrection in the Second Temple period as the most immediate context for early Christian claims. Chilton surveys first-generation accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and finds a pluriform–and even at times seemingly contradictory–range of testimony from Jesus’ first followers. This diversity, as Chilton demonstrates, prompted early Christianity to interpret the resurrection traditions by means of prophecy and coordinated narrative.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

4 thoughts on “Lessons from the Archetype of Good Friday”

  1. Avatar

    There is a story of Old Iron Staff Lee who one day, while leaning against a fence, contemplating the glories of Lunch. Christ appears and reminds Old Lee about his Son of God abilities. “Yes, Yes, I can do all those things too,” says Lee, “but why bother with such trivialities.”

  2. Avatar

    Good morning, thank you dear Matthew for hunting-gathering this good for us to share, and this art gallery for our spirits to wander through together.

    These Kahlil Gibran words sprang to mind;
    “the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
    And how else can it be?
    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
    Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
    And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?”

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Beautiful, Laura! Thank you for sharing this profound poem by Kahlil Gibran. It captures the relationship between the Via Negativa and the Via Creativa perfectly. Your offering makes me wonder if he could have ever imagined the world we now live in and that his poetry still moves the mystics of the world in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The context may change but the path of the soul is the same.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: