Last night we gathered to relive Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. We sang songs from the Taize tradition…simple, meditative songs. We heard Scriptures read, we confessed our sin, we were assured of forgiveness. Becky Brown tied the Scriptures together for us, recalling that Jesus was celebrating the Jewish Passover with his disciples that night. We washed one another’s hands, remembering Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and his command to be servants of one another. We received the Body and Blood of Christ at the table of the Lord, just as he said to do. And then we “stripped the church” of candles, communion ware, and paraments and left it barren in anticipation of the barrenness of Good Friday.
And now it is “Good Friday.” It is the darkest of days on the Christian calendar. The cross is draped in black. We’ll relive the Good Friday story today. We’ll gather with friends from other churches at 11:00 at First Presbyterian for the “Cross Walk” up Main St. We’ll stop along the way to hear Scripture readings from that last, dark day of Jesus’ life. The “Walk” will end at our front steps, where everyone will be invited in for prayer and silence until noon. At noon we’ll have a simple, 30-minute service, with Wilson Strickhausen telling the Good Friday story from the perspective of the Apostle John. There will be a simple liturgy in response, known as the “Reproaches.” More silence, more prayer, as worshipers feel led. And then tonight at 7:00 we’ll repeat that service in the sanctuary.
Notice I have used the word “relive” a couple of times. In these days, it’s important that we remember this story so central to our faith and life, but as more than just an intellectual exercise. To relive is to engage more fully, more deeply, to allow the story to be internalized as part of us…part of who we are…shaping and forming us.
I encourage you these next couple of days to engage with the story. Read the Scripture readings and devotionals, and you’ll read the story, even if you can’t make it to a service. (Mark 14:12-15:47) As you do, remember those in our world who are suffering, marginalized, persecuted. Remember the families of those who lost their lives in the airplane in the Alps, and the family of the co-pilot who apparently intentionally caused the crash. Remember the survivors and families of the terrorist attack in the University in Kenya, where apparently students who admitted to being Christian were shot and killed. Remember….
On Sunday we will gather in three services, as we usually do, to proclaim “Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed, Alleluia!” It will be glorious! But there is no way to really reach Easter without completing the Lenten journey, which takes us through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, a day of silence.
Speaking of silence, we’ll read Mark’s Easter story Sunday, which concludes, curiously, with the women leaving the empty tomb frightened and confused and telling no one. Think about the silence…the silence between Good Friday and Easter, the first silence of Easter itself, before the shouts of “He is risen!” And come Sunday ready to sing and shout our joyful acclamations, for Easter is the day of days.
Who do you know who could use the Good News of Resurrection, the possibility of new life, the joy of Easter? Give them a call with a friendly invitation. They just might come.
Finally, remember that the parking place of honor for those who are able is at the library. The short walk will allow you to breathe the fresh Easter air and get a bit of exercise to boot!
See you Sunday at the Alleluia place!