In the time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I have taken some time to reflect upon the past day a little more deeply, particularly from my background. I am Filipino, and come from a country whose national religion is Catholicism. Filipinos have taken Catholicism quite seriously, and I personally know of many devout Catholic Filipinos.
I was reminded of the devotedness of some Filipinos when I saw some news articles (here) on Good Friday about crucifixions. No, we are not talking about Christ crucified, but actual twenty-first century people being crucified. There are certain groups in the Philippines who get crucified upon a cross, with actual nails and everything. As a child, I remember seeing on the news channel an interview with a person who would undergo these crucifixions. Others who are devout get flogged as they walk a version of the Via Dolorosa.
I have mixed feelings about their reasons. In my previous church, I had always heard that those getting crucified were drunks and drug users who felt that they could receive atonement by undergoing crucifixion. In one of the articles yesterday, I read that these people do it out of devotion.
The Catholic Church disapproves of these actions, and I am in agreement. Furthermore, I agree with Scripture that the only way to be identified with Christ’s crucifix is through baptism and discipleship. Although I cannot judge the intent or devotion of those becoming crucified, I do believe that such devotion is misguided.
I also remember my first Holy Week in the Philippines as a young adult. I remember hearing of the idea that because Christ died on Good Friday, one was not to go out or do anything brash because the evil spirits had free reign. I think such thinking borders on superstition, no matter how well-meaning it might be, and that it causes one to almost forget that Christ is risen.
Thanks be to the Father for the Passion of His Christ in which He took upon our sins and for the baptism by which we are identified with the Lord Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection. Christ lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit—one God forever and ever.