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Getting Ready for Good Friday (March 29, 2024)

Good Friday

Why is the Cross the chief symbol for Christianity? Why do people wear crosses around their necks, on their jewelry and t-shirts, and put them in their churches? Certainly there are other symbols that could have been used.

  • Jesus taught us to love one another. Why not a heart?
  • Jesus is recognized as one of the great teachers in history. Why not a scroll or a book?
  • A lot of people think that Christianity is mainly about how to live a better life, or how to be moral. Why not the scales of justice?

Why a Cross? Because at the center of the Christian message, at the center of Christian hope, is the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

Paul summarized the preaching of the early church like this: “I preach Christ and him crucified.” Jesus himself spoke repeatedly about the importance of his death. He said his mission was to come and give his life as a ransom for the many. He called himself the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. In Luke’s Gospel, it says that he set his face toward Jerusalem, and in doing so began to teach his disciples that he was going to be killed and three days later rise from the dead.

That’s all to say: we need to understand the Cross in order to understand what Jesus was all about. On Good Friday, it's a chance to medidate on all that Jesus went through in order to redeem you.

Tenebrae Service

We'll gather at the church at 7pm. Ours will be a Tenebrae service -- Tenebrae meaning “darkness” or “shadows.” Once a service for the monastic community, Tenebrae later became an important part of the worship of the common folk during Holy Week. We join Christians of many generations throughout the world in using the liturgy of Tenebrae.

Tenebrae is a prolonged meditation on Christ’s suffering. Our readings will trace the story of Christ’s passion. The music is designed to communciate the weight and emotion of his suffering. And the power of silence and darkness suggests the solemnity and gravity of this momentous day.

As candles are extinguished, we will ponder the depth of Christ’s suffering and death. We will remember the cataclysmic nature of his sacrifice in sound (strepitus is the Latin word meaning "great noise"). And as we depart in silence, we will look forward to Easter morning and the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord.