Good Friday, April 19, 2019

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Title:Good Friday, April 19, 2019

Depicted is the Inri Cross, one especially for Good Friday

The letters “INRI” are initials for the Latin title that Pontius Pilate had written over the head of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 19:19). Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire.

The words were “Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm.” Latin uses “I” instead of the English “J”, and “V” instead of “U” (i.e., Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum). The English translation is “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews

Also included is a picture from the interlude after the Veneration of the cross. Finally we were blessed to be able to display Mary Peterman’s 14 watercolors depicting the station of the cross. In the collage is station 10, “Jesus is Crucified”

The bulletin is here.   The description of Holy Friday with the Bible readings and commentaries is here.   A photogallery is included here.

This year was unsettled –  cloudy with rain showers early in the day and threat of showers and thundershowers later in the evening. The latter did not happen. We had 20 at the service, up from 16 last year.

This service continued our worship through the Triduum, the last three days of Holy Week.  It was the day of the execution of Jesus . This service begins and ends in silence. Since the fourth century, Christians have commemorated the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior on this day.  

The Good Friday service is under the section in the Prayer Book "Proper Liturgies
for Special Days" which contain key services in Lent – Ash Wednesday,  Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, the Great Vigil.  Good Friday is good because the death of Christ, as terrible as it was, led to the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, which brought new life to those who believe. 

The service has 6 parts 1.  an entrance in silence,  2. readings which include the John 18:1-19:42 Passion reading, 3  the Solemn Collects, 4 The Entrance of the Cross, the Veneration of the Cross,5 Musical Meditations and 6 Conclusion. 

Tthe first reading is from Isaiah, the ever present Psalm 22, and Hebrews. Catherine read John’s Passion Gospel reading, John 18:1-19:42. Here is an excerpt from the opening of the John reading.

David Lose writes of Good Friday "We are used to thinking of Good Friday as a day of solemnity, even of grief, as we ponder the sacrifice Jesus makes for us with his death on the cross.

Lose continues,"But have you ever thought of it as a day for celebration? If you take care in reading John’s Gospel – the Passion narrative appointed for Good Friday (the Synoptic accounts are read on Palm/Passion Sunday) – you’ll realize quickly that celebration is probably more the mood John invites then solemn grief. Because, according to John, Jesus’ death is no tragic accident but rather the culmination of Jesus’ earthly mission to rescue a fallen humanity from the power of sin, death, and a world captive to evil and draw them to God’s abundant life. Jesus, in other words, goes to the cross not just willingly but eagerly, for the cross is actually his throne, the place where he will be lifted up and from which he will draw all persons to himself (Jn. 12:32)."  

There are moments of bright light in the Good Friday story as Justin Taylor and Andreas Kostenberger point out – "A bright irony on this darkest of days is that the men who step forward to claim the corpse of the Christ for burial are not family members or disciples. They are members of the Sanhedrin: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. It is one more unexpected thread of grace woven into this tapestry of redemption. They quickly wrap Jesus’s body in a sheet and lay it in a nearby tomb. Evening is falling and they don’t have time to fully dress it with spices."

From David Lose, "In the descriptions of this scene provided by the other evangelists, there is always a moment of agonizing self-doubt when Jesus asks, even begs, his heavenly Father to remove from him this cup of suffering and then comes through this moment of grievous testing and doubt by affirming, “not my will, but yours, be done” (Mk. 14:36, Mt.26:39, Lk. 22:42). There is no such moment of trial in John… The second scene, this one from the crucifixion, follows suit. For Jesus utters no cry of despair from the cross in John but instead fulfills prophecy, gives orders to his followers, and finally dies saying, “It is finished.”

The death is portrayed as an exaltation; it’s the way of his return, of his circuit back to the father from whom he had come. The phrase is constantly used "that the scripture might be fulfilled." 

The Solemn Collects in the Prayer Book provide this theme of an active Christ and his mission alive – "Our heavenly Father sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved; that all who believe in him might be delivered from the power of sin and death, and become heirs with him of everlasting life."

The Solemn Collects are prayers for all – "We pray, therefore, for people everywhere according to their  needs" – the church, world, the governments and people, and those who have died

The sermon  was about the secret disciples, Joseph of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. From the sermon “After the death of Jesus on the cross, “Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus.”

“And Nicodemus, a Pharisee and leader of the Jews, who had first come to Jesus by night, because he too was scared to be seen with Jesus, is also a secret disciple, but now he goes with Joseph to take down Jesus’ body and to bury it.

“So tonight, I invite you to behold this man, as Joseph and Nicodemus did, to behold him lifted high, his arms of love stretched wide on the hard wood of the cross, so that everyone might come within the reach of his saving embrace.

“And out of gratitude, get up your nerve! Give up being a disciple in secret.

“Out of gratitude, like Joseph and Nicodemus, risk everything now and let the whole world see and know that you are a disciple of Jesus, by reaching out your hands in love, offering the same graceful and sacrificial love that Jesus has given to you, so that new life can spring up out of death.

“Let’s live in such a way that the world can see Jesus living in and through us in the ways in which we love one another, with God’s graceful and sacrificial and life giving love,

“To show our love publicly and reverently for our Lord and Savior, as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea finally did.”

After the sermon was the veneration of the cross, the dramatic entrance of the cross. The raising of the cross is slow but dramatic as it is raised and placed on the altar.Video in 2019 and photo from 2018

 The Veneration are three readings about the cross with anthem interludes about the cross. Since our organist was sick this year, we only sang one hymn.

After the veneration was the Interlude. We were invited to light a votive candle and place it in the bowl.

The service concluded with the Lord’s Prayer and Concluding Prayer – "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and  grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you  live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen."