Good Friday is counter-cultural. It has the name "Good" but it is the darkest day of history, the day our Savior died.
I did not grow up following the liturgical calendar (which isn't such a bad upbringing), and there isn't much of the liturgical calendar that I still follow. But I do feel like Lent and especially Ash Wednesday and Good Friday have an important, even essential, part in yearly life.
These are times when we consider our own sin and our culpability in the death of Jesus Christ. It was *my* sins that nailed Him to the cross.
Whether or not you recognize "Lent" - it is a good thing to sacrifice, to fast. Not just a "well, this is when we fast" kind of fast, but a real, heartfelt, give something up for Jesus - kind of fast.
We don't do that much. We mostly indulge our senses to the full extent that we can afford. In fact, as I type this, I am listening to one of the over 12,000 "songs" (do you call spoken word a "song"?) on my iPod.
We blow quickly from one sense to another, from one experience to another, from one non-experience to another (as I would categorize most of our sedentary tv-watching). We don't wait. We don't analyze. We don't look beneath the surface in our own lives.
Lent flies in the face of that culture. It tells us to slow down. To deny ourselves. To follow Jesus.
To die to self.
If we do not do these things, we can never really celebrate in resurrection. We will merely *remember* it or think about it, but we won't experience it.
And we are supposed to experience it in the here and now, not just in Heaven.