Christians have often remarked that Good Friday has a strange name. A number of historians believe it is actually a modification of “God’s Friday”. It is the most solemn commemoration of the entire church year. Good Friday causes us to take our time to stop and consider the extraordinary reality of Jesus’ crucifixion. His humanity is on stark display. The focus is on the cross, and on what the cross means for us. The Passion story and liturgy move us in a profound way and invite us to see the Passion of Jesus as an act of compassion for the entire world.
In our current version of the Book of Common Prayer we have a special liturgy for Good Friday, but this was not always the case. Before the 1970s, churches often created their own versions of something often labeled the “Seven Last Words” of Jesus. Such services typically lasted from noon until 3:00 pm and consisted of a variety of readings, prayers, homilies and periods of silent meditation. They were designed so that individual parishioners could quietly drop in to the service for a period of time, stay as long as they wished, and then also leave quietly on their own.
This older “Seven Last Words” format seems like a particularly good fit for a Good Friday service that is to be held online. So our diocesan service will make use of it without being broadcast from any single location and will run from noon to 3:00 pm. Here is the link: https://diocesecpa.org/holy-week-2020-good-friday/
The program will include elements of our Book of Common Prayer Good Friday liturgy as well as other prayers and collects. Musical interludes will offer time for contemplation or departure. The highlight of the program will be offerings and homilies that a small group of preachers and worship leaders will share with the virtual congregation who participate. Viewers and listeners are welcome to come and go as well as follow along with their bibles and prayer books.
It is also worth remembering that Good Friday is a day of personal fasting. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that can bring great rewards because hunger acts as a constant reminder of the purpose of the fast. Fasts can be kept in different ways and with varying degrees of strictness. If you are a determined, healthy adult, you may wish to go the entire day without taking anything but water or liquids. Or you may simply choose to go as long as you can without feeling unwell. Those with health problems or those not physically 100% may choose to skip a meal, to avoid meat, or to merely eat lightly. And some people should not fast at all due to health reasons. The point is not to make it a matter of pride just how much you can give up, but rather to honor the occasion as best you can. Any sacrifice which serves to remind you of the day will be beneficial. Fasting sharpens our spiritual attention and remind us of the plight of those who must do without on a regular basis. Other self-disciplines commonly employed by Christians on this day are the writing of our own obituaries or the planning of our own funerals.
And here is the link for Tonight’s service:
Our online diocesan service for Maundy Thursday will be unique:
Bishop Audrey is inviting us virtually into her home as she prepares an Agapé meal. This has been recorded so you can begin any time on Thursday evening. There will be prayers and scripture and the evening will end with her praying of Psalm 22, the traditional conclusion of Maundy Thursday. Afterwards, people are invited to participate in a live vigil on Facebook which will run from 8:00 pm until 8:00 am the following morning. (This will be a “drop in, drop out” vigil; no one is expected to stay the entire time.)
The Bishop suggests that in order to participate most fully in the program, those of us at home prepare a light meal — such as bread, soup, cheese, olives, dried fruit, and wine or juice — to enjoy during the Agapé portion of the evening.
VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR AT ST. EDWARD’S
Don’t forget to join Christina and Joe McLaughlin, hosting a weekly “Virtual Coffee Hour.” This is all new to us, so take a chance, set up zoom and see how it all goes! It will be fun to connect and whether you want to stay on for 5 minutes or the full session, grab your cup of coffee or tea, pull up a chair, and say hello to your fellow parishioners.
Here is a link of step-by-step instructions to set up zoom, that Christina put together.
And, if you have any questions, Christina has offered to please give her a call and she can help! Her number is 717-415-7043.
DATE: EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 12TH
TIME: 10 – 10:40 am
PLACE: Wherever you are comfortable with your computer in your home environment!
ZOOM JOIN CODE: 419 646 4139
ZOOM PASSCODE: 449312
WHAT TO BRING: Your coffee, and a favorite recipe to share!
** This join code and passcode will not be posted on the public website of Facebook.
LENTEN MEDITATION, MAUNDY THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2020
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them…“I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”
- John 13:12a, 15
Last year a mother and her two children wandered into our church just as the altar guild began clearing away items used during the foot washing ceremony. From the celebrant’s chair, I watched the altar guild quietly return a pitcher and basin as another member greeted our guests and invited them to participate. The daughter let go of her mother’s hand, removed her sandals and gingerly walked forward. My own daughter then rose from her acolyte chair beside me, knelt down in front of the visiting child and washed her feet.
The act of washing a stranger’s feet surely offers an example for us to follow, but that’s not what brought tears to my eyes. It was instead watching my yellow- haired, pale-skinned daughter tenderly wash the feet of a child her age with meticulously braided hair and dark-brown skin. It was a profoundly holy moment. Families of color never wandered into the church of my childhood, but if they had, I am certain no one would have voluntarily knelt down to wash their feet. In that moment I was reminded how often our children with their unblemished points of view set Christ-like examples for us follow.
- Allison Sandlin Liles lives in Dallas with her husband and two children and works as a parish priest and editor for growchristians.org.
Holy Week and Easter Music Offerings! Brought to you by: Members of the St. Edward’s Choir!
The following Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter offerings are courtesy of Libby Sternberg.
Ubi caritas by Maurice Durufle
Where love is, there is God.
Crucifixus by Antonio Lotti
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate
Haec dies by William Byrd
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Alleluia.
Peter Weber recalls one of his favorites, here. Enjoy!
Billings, Easter Anthem, ed. Shaw. I well remember this one as an elementary school chorister! The piece ends in fff on the word “bliss.”