Friday, March 21, 2008

Christ is Dead!

Many years ago, following the Good Friday worship service, The Big Guy and I went with some friends to a little Irish bar in our Philadelphia neighborhood for some Rolling Rock and a night of Karaoke. When we got our drinks our friend lifted his beer high and proclaimed:

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.


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Jen said...

A beautiful post, Maypole. It's this kind of post where true faith comes through. Even though I don't share your particular faith, I love seeing the joy, love and faith which come from those who are wedded to their soul with their spirituality. Thank you.

Candygirlflies said...

Happy Easter, PM... Thanks for taking the time to come 'round to "my place" this weekend. Your comment was much appreciated-- right back atcha, babe. We were obviously "connected by music" this week.

I've put a song up, just for you.

Lots of love, CGF xo

Chrissy said...


That song is one of my favorites. We sang it yesterday at the end of our service as well, and I cried like a baby. Have a happy Easter, PM.

Beck said...

We sang Wondrous Love last night, which I'd never heard before and which made me cry bitterly - and yet tonight, I'm looking forward to standing on the bridge at sunrise with all of the other church congregations in town, feeling that sudden wild joy, spreading over 2000 years. Wonderful.

Christine said...

good friday always moved me when i was young, and i think i still carry its solemness with me when it comes every year. and, like for most, easter sunday brings great joy.

Running on empty

Ashley said...

Hallelujah, indeed. Beautiful song!

JCK said...

This is beautiful. I just returned from the Easter Vigil service and it was lovely to read your post directly after...

Run ANC said...

Am I totally stupid when I say I don't know why it's called "Good" Friday eventhough I've gone to church from a very young age (albeit not lately)?

Kyla said...

It is good to know the end of a story, especially when parts of it are so bitterly sad.