At first glance, there’s nothing “Good” about this Friday

“So if you’re walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare
As if you didn’t care, say, ‘Hello in there, hello.’”
– John Prine, Hello in There

Singer and songwriter John Prine passed away Tuesday in Nashville. Prine was seventy-three. However, Prine’s music still lives on and will continue to do so. For me personally, John Prine was more than just a great artist. Prine was a theologian whose songs connected the human condition of suffering with the hope of a better tomorrow. Prine had a hope that humanity would come to its senses and learn to love and care for each other. And on the first Good Friday and this Good Friday, hope seems to be in short supply.

This day, this Friday, that we call “good” – nothing good about this day at all at first glance. An innocent Jewish man betrayed, by one of his friends no less, hanging dead on a Roman cross. And for what? For daring to eat with sinners. For daring to touch and heal a leper. For giving us a new commandment- love one another as I have loved you. Little did the disciples know when they heard this love that death, even death on a cross, was what this love would look like.

The disciples and Jesus’ mother, Mary, leave that hill with disbelief, grief, anger, and utter despair. But I wonder, if by Saturday morning, there wasn’t just a little bit of remembering all that odd words Jesus said about dying and rising again on the third day. And a little bit of hope begins to grow, a faint spark in the darkness.

There is a hope of resurrection yet that is for another reflection. Rather, I want to look at Christ on the cross, giving of himself, for the love of all. And now consider, living like that. And I think such love is perfectly instructed in Prine’s lyrics I quoted at the beginning. When all seems lost remember Christ’s love of Good Friday given to all and go and live out John Prine’s hope for us all:

“So if you’re walking down the street sometime,
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare,
As if you didn’t care, say, ‘Hello in there…hello.’”
The peace of Christ be always with you,


P.S. If you have never heard any of John Prine’s music, I highly recommend his 1971 debut self-titled album from Atlantic Records. “Hello in There” is Track 3.

M. Walley is a Senior Advisor with The Saint Francis Foundation and the priest associate at Christ Episcopal Church in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Picture of Beth Cormack
Beth Cormack

Beth is the project manager for the Saint Francis Ministries Marketing and Communications team.

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