Tuesday in Holy Week
April 3, 2012
This Friday (4-6-12) is “Good Friday.” It is the day Christians commemorate the death of Jesus. To a non-Christian this might seem odd. Easter, the day of his resurrection, now that might seem like a day to celebrate, but not the day of his death. It probably seems even stranger to a non-Christian that the day is called “Good” Friday. Maybe it should be call “tragic” Friday, or “death” Friday, or “travesty of justice” Friday, or “dark” Friday, or some other mournful name. Passages like: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2), “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18), and “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14), must seem almost nonsensical to those outside the Faith.
Christians, though, know that the day is indeed “good,” no matter how ugly it looks. That is because, on this day, the Son of God bore our sins on the cross meriting for us life and salvation. This is the day we were saved. This is the day our debt was marked “paid in full.” So, while it is indeed a day of sorrow as we witness the sacrifice of Christ, it is, nonetheless, “good.”
At Lamb of God we remember this ultimate sacrifice in two ways. The church will be open from noon to 3:00 for prayer and meditation. These hours are selected because it corresponds to the three hours of darkness that covered the land while Jesus was on the cross. People who attend may wish to also walk our Stations of the Cross as part of their devotional exercise.
We will also have a Tenebrae service, beginning at 7:00 PM. This is a traditional “service of darkness.” This is both a dramatic and somber service. During the second half of the service the last words of Christ are read as the lights slowly dim. At the end of the service the sanctuary is in darkness. The last candle, the Christ Candle, is removed. After a period of silence, a loud noise is heard, representing the tomb of Jesus being sealed. Then the Christ Candle is returned, representing the sure knowledge that Jesus will be raised Easter Sunday.
The Old Testament lesson is Isaiah 52:13-53:12. This will be read responsively. The Epistle lesson is Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9. The Gospel lesson is John 19:17-30. The sermon is titled “It Is Finished” and is based on the Gospel lesson. The choir will be singing “Lamb of God.” The congregation will sing “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now” (LSB 440), “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted” (LSB 451), “Go to Dark Gethaemane” (LSB 436), and “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” (LSB 449). We will also pray together the Great Litany (page 288, LSB), which is traditional for Good Friday.
As is traditional, the Lord’s Supper will not be a part of this service.
Good Friday marks the second day of the Great Triduum.
The video below is of the Lutheran Warbler singing “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” Unlike her other recordings, she is singing to an organ this time. Through computer magic, she is also singing in harmony. It is an excellent recording.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert