Christ is Dead!Without missing a beat the whole table raised their beers and said in unison:
He is Dead Indeed!For a moment we thought the whole Irish Catholic population of the bar was either going to faint or beat us up, but then they laughed heartily, and our friend went on to win the Karaoke contest.
Good Friday, is, I think, my favorite observance of the church year. I like the quiet reflection, the acknowledgement of the grief. I love the tenebrae service, as the lights diminish and the last words of Christ are read. I love old hymns and the slamming of the bible to signify the stone being rolled in front of the tomb. The quiet. The aloneness. The prayer.
But this year it wasn't Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed or Ah, Holy Jesus that moved me most during the service, although they are wonderful hymns, sung for centuries on this solemn night. Rather, it was this song that I sang, with my daughter in my lap, that moved me most:
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
How Deep the Father's Love for Us - by Stuart Townend
Christ is dead. But I know the end of the story, and that is what makes this Friday Good. On Easter Sunday we will say that Christ is Risen. But that is the truth every day, not just on Easter Morning. Hallelujah.