A few weeks ago, I was teaching someone the English word bittersweet. English is the fourth language my friend has learned, and his interest in the word reminded me of this special term we have.

Bittersweet helps to explain why several of my friends and I expressed a love for the Good Friday services.

It helps to explain why Lenten hymns are some of my favorite.

It helps to explain why we don’t fast forward through the terribly sad parts of a movie, why I often write things that are dark, why we wear crosses around our necks.

To quote the tweet of an author friend:

Good Friday is bittersweet because even when we’re facing our sins head on, death hanging before our eyes, we cry tears of sorrow mixed with joy.

To deny the bitter is to deny reality. To deny the bitter is to deny the sweetness that follows on Easter morning, knowing that our sin and death are buried. Life—beautiful, sinless, perfect life—is ours forever.