Good Friday, the most solemn day in the Christian calendar, sees a wealth of rituals. (“Good,” in this context, means “holy.”) The “Way of the Cross,” which re-enacts Jesus’s painful procession to various points (“stations”) in Jerusalem on his way to the crucifixion, takes place not only inside churches but in outdoor processions with local people portraying Jesus, Pontius Pilate and the disciples. Sometimes processions pause at real-life locations where violent crimes have occurred, to remind participants of the connection between Jesus’s suffering and those of contemporary men and women.
Many churches sponsor sermons on the “seven last words” (really the seven phrases spoken by Jesus on the cross, as recorded in the Gospels.) Some pastors take this opportunity to invite people from other denominations (and non-Christian religions) to address their congregations. Some Christians refrain from doing anything “fun” (when I was growing up: television) between noon and three, when Jesus is supposed to have hung on the cross.
More On Faith:
Campbell: Why we need Good Friday more than ever
Thistlethwaite: What’s good about Good Friday?