Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday 

We left the church in silence Holy Thursday and the silence continued today at the Good Friday service. Our pews were full to overflowing with silent, reverant folks. Our first reading was from Isaiah 52 and 53:
He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.

Balsam & Oil of Chrism

And our second reading was from Hebrews 4:
we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Then, for the Gospel reading, we had a full reading of the Passion from John 18 & 19, with different people reading the parts and our priest reading for Christ.

After a short homily on the opening images of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," (where Jesus is tempted and passes the test where Adam failed) we had a very, very long series of prayers for the Church, for the Pope, for the clergy, for those preparing for baptism and entry into the church (ME!), for the Jewish people, for those who don't believe in Christ, for those who don't believe in God, for all those in public office (how about those judges!), for the men and women in the military, etc. It was a long time to kneel.

Next up, the veneration of the cross. Three teenagers brought a large cross up to the alter made of good sized logs. Everyone in the church then filed up to the alter and bowed and kissed the cross. This was a slow process as every person took their time and was respectful.

Finally, we celebrated Holy Communion. Father went to the side room where he had put the Host on Holy Thursday and brought it out. We did not have the Blood of Christ, just the Body and then the Host was returned again to the side room. We filed out in silence once more. This service, too, was nearly two hours long and tomorrow night, when we join the church, the Easter Vigil will be well over three hours. I can well believe that many would consider a week of attendance at the Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday Mass, Good Friday Service, and the Easter Vigil Mass followed by Easter Sunday Mass as excessive... but this is serious business. This is the celebration of God's victory over sin, this is the central theme of Christianity and the central mystery of salvation. One wonders if the end of time, the final judgement, will be any more of a serious business than this. "Left Behind" be tossed, the final war is already won. Why wait to celebrate until we're dead?

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