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Good Friday

March 23, 2008

I don’t really have time to write much about Good Friday, but it seemed like I should at least get something in before Easter (although it is technically Sunday already).

The service on Friday was amazing.

I knew they would be wearing all black. I didn’t expect it to impact me at all. It’s just a different color. I was wrong.

They looked so plain and bare and mournful. Just like the stripped altar at the front of the room. Plain… bare… empty… lacking. I guess I never consciously thought about it, but they usually come out in white or beautiful, bright colors. I had never seen these people stand at the front of the room with no ornamentation… in simple, dull black. There was such an evident absence… such a clear lack.

I knew that they would prostrate themselves once they reached the front of the room. I honestly expected it to feel a little cheesy. I expected to be somewhat amused, whilst yelling at myself internally for being so irreverent. I was wrong.

The moment was so somber. There was no processional music, as in a normal service. They simply entered in silence as we knelt between the pews. When they fell on their faces at the front of the room, my heart turned over within me. As they lingered there in that posture, the sobriety deepened.

The whole service was amazing. Tears kept welling up in my eyes and escaping in little streams down my face. My heart was so violently active. It was so sensitive to the constant stimuli that would not leave it in peace. The songs that we sang. The passion reading. The scripture readings. (The book of Hebrews is always sure to do something to my heart.) The entrance of the cross into the room.

I had spent much of the previous night in Psalm 22. As the congregation read through the first half of Psalm 22, my heart could hardly be contained within my chest. The depth of the impact of these words was immeasurable.

Most of the rest of my time through the Maundy Thursday vigil the night before had been spent in Exodus. The Lord had moved my heart with His patience and compassion on the people of Israel. How faithful He was to them… how undeservedly kind He was to them. And then all of those things from Exodus came and struck a blow at me that I had never anticipated…

Oh my people, what have I done unto thee? Or wherein have I wearied thee? Testify against me.

Because I brought thee forth from the land of Egypt: Thou hast prepared a Cross for thy Savior. …

Because I led thee through the desert for forty years, and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceedingly good: Thou hast prepared a Cross for thy Savior. …

I indeed did plant thee, O my vineyard, with exceeding fair fruit: And thou art become very bitter unto me. …

I did scourge Egypt with her first born for thy sake: And thou hast scourged me and delivered me up. I led thee forth out of Egypt, drowning Pharaoh in the Red Sea: And thou hast delivered me up unto the chief priests. …

I did open the sea before thee: And thou has opened my side with a spear. I did go before thee in a pillar of cloud: And thou hast led me unto the judgment hall of Pilate. …

I did feed thee with manna in the desert: And thou hast stricken me with blows and scourges. I did give thee to drink the water of life from the rock: And thou hast given me to drink but gall and vinegar. …

I did give thee a royal scepter: And thou hast given unto my head a crown of thorns. I did raise thee on high with great power: And thou hast hanged me upon the gibbet of the Cross.

Oh my people, what have I done unto thee? Or wherein have I wearied thee? Testify against me.

(Snippets taken from the Good Friday Liturgy.)

And he chose it. He went willingly. The Son offered Himself up. The Father betrayed the Son unto death. For us and for our salvation. This exceedingly merciful, kind, patient, and compassionate God. This one who had shown nothing but goodness to us came and, willfully, was met with reproach. ABOUNDING IN STEADFAST LOVE!!! He was betrayed by us and suffered for us. He saw fit to come and have compassion on us. He saw fit to come and deliver us from bondage. He died, at our hands, that He might overcome death. For us and for our salvation.

What kind of God is this? What kind of King is this?

Even communion was altered according to the attitude of the evening. The cushions on which we usually knelt were gone. Just a cold, hard ledge and a wooden rail. It was as uncomfortable as the words we spoke and sang all evening.

We ended by reading a prayer aloud and then left in silence.

The silence created a space where this phrase from the prayer just hung in my mind: “And [give] to us sinners everlasting life and glory…”

What kind of God is this?

With all that is within me, I do love and adore Him.

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4 comments

  1. “Don’t have time to write much”… whatever. I seem to have gone on for a reasonably long time, there.


  2. Beautiful post. Made my heart turn over. Happy Easter!


  3. I didn’t make much effort in preparing for Easter this year, and I didn’t even attend the Way of the Cross or the Good Friday service. I find comfort in what you’ve written. I’ve been months in searching for a person who’s not afraid to write about God. I’m glad I found your blog. I don’t feel too alone now.


  4. Sera – Thank you for the encouragement. I figure, if I can’t talk about the things that are of utmost importance in my life (i.e., God, relationships, etc.), why am I bothering to say anything at all? (This is not to say that I don’t write my fair share of random, silly posts. But those posts are not my reason for writing.)

    If you’re looking for some more bloggers who aren’t afraid to talk about God, I strongly recommend Amanda’s and Richard’s blogs (on my super-short blogroll). They are both good friends of mine and have excellent blogs.



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