Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

John Denney 21 April 2000 – Good Friday


Back in the dawn of history, when I was but a lad in short trousers, grey flannel shirt and chapped knees, I remember a playground chant we used to use:

One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross Buns;

One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross Buns;

Give them to your daughters, give them to your sons,

One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross Buns.

Do children still chant that these days, I wonder, when they’re bouncing a pair of tennis balls against a wall, or skipping?  Perhaps it would need updating a bit, what with prices being the way they are.  Twenty-five pee a bun seems to be the going rate these days.  That’s five shillings, as used to was!


And of course, Hot Cross Buns were reserved exclusively for Easter.  You couldn’t find one in the shops before Good Friday.  But my local supermarket has been selling them since January, alongside Easter eggs, some of which hit the shops immediately after Christmas.  If I ruled the world, I’d make a law reserving the sale of everything to its due season.  No fireworks until a week before bonfire night, no Christmas goodies until the beginning of December, no Easter eggs until a fortnight before Easter Sunday, no Hot Cross buns till Good Friday itself.


I guess we all live in a “wish and get” culture nowadays.  If we want something, we want it now.  Buy now and pay later.  We can’t be bothered to wait.  We live life in a rush.  We demand instant communication, through our mobile phones and our e-mails.  And these things are wonderful, but we let them run our lives a bit too much.


Today, Good Friday, is the most solemn day in the Christian year.  It’s the day when Christians remember the cruel execution of Jesus outside the walls of Jerusalem around AD 33.  Christians, though, call this day “Good” Friday.  How can the judicial murder of Jesus, God in human form, be considered “Good”?


Because the death of Jesus, in ways no one fully understands, is the price that Jesus paid for our forgiveness.  This wasn’t a cheap “buy now pay later” transaction.  It was a “Come on in to the Kingdom of God; I’ve paid for you” transaction.  It was the greatest deal ever struck.


There was no other good enough

To pay the price of sin;

He only could unlock the gate

Of heaven, and let us in.


I’m off to eat a Hot Cross Bun for breakfast now, and I’ll be looking at the cross marked on it, and remembering…


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