It was one of those weeks. So much to do. So little time to do it. Friday comes around and finish my workday and at last I start my weekend. I grab my gym bag and my lunch bag out of my car and start briskly walking on the path towards my house. As I hurry towards the house I ended up slipping on a patch of ice concealed under a thin layer of snow. I land extremely hard. There does not seem to be anything broken, but every bone seems to be jarred and I am sore all over. Is it coincidence, or is there something more sinister behind this accident?
For myself there was a sigh of relief that nothing was broken. And to remind myself to not be in in such a big rush and to be more careful the next time. But for others there is a very superstitious connection between the accident that took place and the date of when it happened. You see yesterday’s date was Friday January 13th.
There are several speculations of how Friday the 13th became superstitious and that can even come into Christian circles. Such as Jesus being crucified on a Friday and 13 people at the last supper. That number included Judas who went on to betray Jesus. Many other sources point to Friday October 13th , 1307 when King Philip of France ordered the arrest, torture and execution of all the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar were warrior monks during the crusades. They were originally created to protect pilgrims going to the Holy Land of Jerusalem.
The charges against them were never proven, but hundreds of members received excruciating torture meant to bring about confessions and according to the book “Tales of the Knights Templar” by Katherine Kurtz, more than 100 died.
Since then there has been a few tragic events happening on Friday the 13th, but nothing out of the ordinary from other typical days of the year. In modern times with Hitler’s blitz bombing campaign, Buckingham palace was struck with 4 direct hits on Friday September 13, 1940. One of the greatest natural disasters took place on Friday November 13, 1970 when a huge storm called the Bhola Cyclone hit Bangladesh killing up to 500,000 people. The storm actually started in it’s intensity on Thursday November 12th. In terms of loss of human life this was the 5th worse natural disaster in human history. And one of the most recent tragedies was the coordinated Paris Attacks on Friday November 13th, 2015
Despite the “bad reputation” mindset there has been a lot of good things happen on this day with one of the greatest being America’s 1st equal opportunity act in which the government could not discriminate it’s hiring practices according to gender. And whether you view the accordion as a good thing or not, for the record it was invented on Friday January 13, 1854.
Triskaidekaphobia is a fear of the number 13 and our society revolves around the avoidance of this number. Many cities in America and Canada do not have a 13th street, many hotels and hospitals do not have a room #13. Many airports don’t have a 13th gate and many airplanes don’t have a 13th aisle. Eighty percent of high rises do not have a 13th floor.
And Friday the 13th has a direct effect on the productivity of our society. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Ashville, North Carolina as many as 21 million Americans are fearful of Friday the 13th. People will phone in sick at work and choose to stay at home. One person in a hundred refuses to drive on Friday the 13th. And 800-900 million dollars is lost in business each Friday the 13th because of that fear.
Friday the 13th, knocking on wood, black cats and walking under ladders are all known as superstitions. To be superstitious is idolatry and is like slapping God in the face by showing you don’t trust Him or believe in His words. There are numerous Bible verses that speak out against idolatry, but I will just mention three of them.
“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales; rather train yourself to be Godly” 1 Timothy 4:7
“Therefore my beloved, flee from idolatry” 1 Corinthians 10:14
“Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let god transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)