Good Friday opens up the chance for me to conduct the Tenebrae Service. And we did it with some adaptation with the Seven Last Words of Jesus, relevant passages with prayers tonight. We ended with Psalm 51 and dismissed quietly while singing the Taize Chant I’ll use the full outline from Upper Room Daily Reflections to jot down some thoughts.
THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS began long before he was born. It began in eternity, with a decision in the heart of God to journey from glory into poverty, from power to vulnerability, from all to nothing. The God of all the universe made a conscious decision to journey downward, to be born as a human baby in a finite world.
– Peter Storey
Listening at Golgotha: Jesus’ Words from the Cross
From p. 64 of Listening at Golgotha: Jesus’ Words from the Cross by Peter Storey. Copyright © 2004 by the author. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission of Upper Room Books. http://www.upperroom.org/bookstore/. Learn more about or purchase this book.
Share your Good Friday journey. What are you thinking? Feeling? What are your reflections on today’s quote? Share your thoughts.
The day started with a good time of meditation on John chapters 18 and 19. I used the Bible Experience to help me along. Rather than reading it silently, I listened attentively, with a pen jotting down some phrases into my journal. There were quite a few which stood out for me. The most haunting one was then the chief priests shouted, “We have no king but Caesar!” There’s so much to reflect just based on that utterance. Lord have mercy!
I spent the afternoon with a Christian Fellowship group who meets in their workplace. Had lunch with them and then shared from some thoughts on how for us going through death before the resurrection redeems every single moment of pain and suffering we face. We don’t hurry from Palm Sunday and skip to Easter Sunday. We go through Good Friday! Showed them Psalm 13 and shared with them some reflections from Markus Ng’s recent departure. I thought a lot about Markus today and the whole episode around him has drawn me to appreciate Good Friday even more. Through him, I find myself drawn closer to Christ. We still miss you, Markus.
Got some needed rest before the Tenebrae service at BLC tonight. So, I found my heart quite settled and ready to embrace the final darkness symbolized by the final candle being snuffed out.
As I was driving home, I wondered it was similar wasn’t it. The most significant death in history happened on that day, and many people were still doing what they would normally do. The rippled impact of Christ death will take time to spread beyond the confines of its space and time. It’s hard to fully grasp God’s ways and his wisdom in carrying out his will. There’s so much to take in at one go.
Now, more and more I can appreciate why it was only after the resurrection and quite a while before the disciples were “getting” it right. It was a long journey to process all the experiences one has had with Christ. How different would it be for us today?
I know the Tenebrae service is not the most child-friendly as it demands much silence. Furthermore, it forces us to confront death through the symbolism of darkness – utter darkness, but like it or not, this is reality, this is life. And sooner or later, we will have to deal with it. I believe part of Christian formation for parents to children, and the rest of us as Christ-followers is to relate to this. That’s why I see Good Friday as one of the three most important services in the church year. And increasingly, it’s now become part and parcel of my own spiritual growth and maturity.
Previously, it’s full of busyness because we’re all gearing up for Easter. And therefore, tend to bypass Lent and the Holy Week with a skip and a hop. But, since so many jump firsts, and fears later … I have found the Holy Week season and Lent as one which has slowed me down enough to Sit first, and reflect on the former and the future, with the leading of the Spirit and the guidance from Scripture.
Part of this has brought me to a place to understand maybe a little bit better what this “journey” downward” is all about. Not fully, but a little bit more.
And as a result, I find myself more open to whatever is coming from the heart of God. Remember, whatever. I trust him.
Today’s Scripture Reading
When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.