"Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen." - The Book of Common Prayer (1979), The Episcopal Church.
A radical definition of family for a radical definition of sacrifice.
An atheist friend of mine always attends Good Friday services at his local Episcopal Church, the one time each year he crosses the threshold of a house of worship. Once, I asked him why. "Because the f---ing bastards killed Christ." The resurrection he rejects in its literal sense. But, there is for him still the crucifixion, which he recognizes as a distressingly human event, deeply political, and very significant: the horror of betrayal, the abuse of might against right, the exploitation of the mob by cynical figures of authority, the baying for blood, the rejection of meekness, the will to maintain order and the status quo rising up against a new order offered by an unlooked-for messenger; but also the process of positive change through sacrifice, the despair that may later be revealed as a beginning of a new dispensation, if not a metaphysical dispensation then a new way of doing things, a new way of being. Jesus came onto the scene and many people of power felt threatened enough to cause far greater offense in return. There is violence in the story. It is not for the faint of heart.
Photo: St. Mark's Church (Episcopal), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, Good Friday, 2013.