Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday and Veneration of the Cross

By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?

They made his grave with the wicked
and his tomb with the rich,

although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain.

Isaiah 53:8-10

The worship space at St. Christopher's, prepared
for Good Friday

"Good Friday is a very solemn day and it feels heavy to me." These words were spoken by my pastor in his sermon during the noontime liturgy today. I agree with him. Good Friday is a very heavy, uncomfortable day.

Today is the day that Christ dies. The noontime liturgy in my faith community really centered on that and, as I told my wife as we were driving home, it felt like a funeral without the emotional catharsis of a loved one passing on and without the celebration of life. Today, on the day that Christ dies, I don't think there's really any shaking the sense of discomfort.

Today we venerated the Cross. It was a simple, rough cross; really just two unsanded boards that were tacked together. Each of the people in the church, each in turn, kneeled in front of this image of Christ's suffering and each of us watched as every person made their act of veneration (again, incredibly awkward and uncomfortable). When it was my turn, I kneeled and I wanted to pray "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again," like we do on Sundays during a Eucharistic celebration. I guess that I could have prayed that, but there in front of that cross, all that went through my head was "Christ is dead." Over and over. Then I kissed the foot of the cross and walked away.

If you look at the picture above, you can see each part of the liturgy. It's interesting that each part left a mark on the space. There is a hole where the baptismal font usually sits (the water in the bowl was used to wash the altar last night on Maundy Thursday and the bowl itself was put away). There is the rough-hewn cross resting in front of the altar. And behind that, sitting on the altar, is what is left of the reserve sacrament. But it is covered by a white pall. Just like a casket would be at the end of a funeral. The bulrushes frame the whole thing and now we are left to watch and wait.

We wait at the tomb and we wait for what may come tomorrow night.

~ ~ ~

How are you experiencing Good Friday? Please share your reflections in the comments below or share with me on Twitter or Facebook.