The Great Three Days

The Last Supper, attributed to Giampietrino and Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio between 1515-20, oil on canvas. Credit: Google Arts & Culture
By on March 31, 2023

Editor’s Note: A shorter version of this article originally appeared in the Virden Empire-Advance in March of 2021. However, it seems timely as this issue of the Mustard Seed will be delivered around Holy Week.

As The Mustard Seed drops in your mailbox (or on your computer screen), we’re about to head into what is known to many Christians as “the Paschal Triduum” – or in plain English, “the Great Three Days” (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.) During these three days, we commemorate Jesus Christ’s betrayal, trial, crucifixion and death.

In these days, we commemorate some pretty emotional events, and for some, hearing the events of this week have drawn tears to their eyes wondering: “O who, am I, that for my sake, my Lord should take frail flesh and die?” (to quote the hymn My Song Is Love Unknown.)

To hear that the Son of God, who was present at the creation of the earth, born into human form, who is part of the Holy and Undivided Trinity was crucified like a common criminal is hard for us to hear – how could the crowds have turned so quickly on Jesus Christ – the one who preached of the Kingdom of God? How did this go wrong so quickly? Why call Good Friday good – the Son of God was crucified, after all?

These are all good and normal questions, if we look at the whole story from a human point of view (which makes sense, since we’re humans). However, in all of this, God used the events of the Paschal Triduum to work out our relationship with Him.

To use the words of the old hymn There Is A Green Hill Far Away: “He died that we might be forgiven, he died to make us good; that we might go at last to heaven, saved by his precious blood.” The events of Good Friday are not good in that we watched Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World, hung on the cross like a common criminal. I highly doubt that those who gathered around the cross (and in that room following these events) thought any of this was “good”. The man who they believed was going to change the world was not only dead, but had died a humiliating death. In their eyes, it was all over – the good times had come to an end, and now all that was left to do was to mourn their friend, their master, their Lord.

However, as has been done more times than we mere mortals can count, the Father used these events and turned them on their face. St. Paul describes God’s wisdom this way: “For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25). The Father turned these events on their head, and made them good for humanity – the humanity that He loved so much that he sent his only begotten Son into the world, not to condemn it, but that in order that the world might be brought into a right relationship with Him.

These events are good in that we are now, through Jesus’ work on the cross, reconciled to a God who loves us more than we can ask or imagine. So, my friends, as you prepare to hear once more the stories of Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum, I invite you to enter once more into these events, to hear the stories, “and trust in his redeeming blood, and try his works to do.” These events are hard for us to recount, but it is the story of our salvation. In Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, “beneath thee hell defeated lies; thy captive people are set free, and endless life stored in thee.” (The Lamb’s High Banquet Called to Share, Common Praise [1998], #214)

May you and yours have a blessed Triduum, and a joyful Eastertide celebration. He is risen, indeed, alleluia!


  • Fr. Matt Koovisk

    Fr. Matt Koovisk is the Editor of the Mustard Seed. He served the Diocese from 2017-2024 as the Rector of St. Mary's, Virden; St. Mark's, Elkhorn; St. John's, Reston; and Christ Church, Melita. He also served as the Secretary of Synod during that time.

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