Paraskevidekatriaphobia: The fear of Friday the 13th. It’s an odd topic considering we’re in the Octave of Easter, but it’s worth addressing. There are no hard and fast explanations as to why people find Friday the 13th unlucky. Some say Friday is considered unlucky because Jesus was crucified on a Friday (yet we call it Good Friday). As for 13, it’s an “irregular” number, not the “complete” 12 (like the 12 apostles or the 12 tribes of Israel). Many buildings don’t have 13th floors.
Nonetheless, Friday the 13th becomes a kind of idol that, for a day, rules our lives. Fewer people tend to drive their cars on that day. And God forbid you plan your wedding on Friday the 13th. We all may have certain unconscious superstitions that kind of become part of our normal ritual. Don’t walk under a ladder. Knock on wood. Don’t open an umbrella inside the house, my mother still tells me; It’ll bring you bad luck. (I got over that one). I tend to say “bless you” each time someone sneezes (even if I say it in my head) for fear if I don’t the person may catch ill—or a demon or something.
Harmless, right? Maybe. But I think it’s little idols like this that can give us the excuse to say “harmless” to even bigger things. And the thing is, these little idols can unconsciously draw our gaze away from God. Remember, God’s in relationship with us. God’s gaze never leaves us even though time after time we look elsewhere for meaning. I find it fascinating how many women get their relationship advice from Cosmo. Or how many people look to a celebrity like Jenny McCarthy or Jennifer Hudson for health or diet advice. Or do you remember the obsession with the book The Secret? It contained the secret to living a happy life! People saw a book that had an answer to all their problems so they snatched it up. It’s not to say others can’t guide us, but we tend to look everywhere but God. We shouldn’t let a magazine or celebrity or self-help book or calendar date have so much control over our life.
“Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals.”
(Exodus 20:5, GNT)
What little things rule your life on a day to day basis? Today is a great chance to see if there are things rivalling for your attention on God?
Oh, and be ready. There’s another Friday the 13th coming up… 13 weeks from now. ;-)