Monday, April 10, 2017

Good Friday - Seven Last Words

Easter is the major festival of the Christian Church, but in our modern culture it is given short shrift.  In December, and before, we begin preparations for the birth of Christ -- baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping, visiting, concerts, pageants -- the list is endless.  It is a season of good will, smiling faces and open hands.

Easter, on the other hand, is squashed into one long weekend in spring.  It doesn't even have a fixed date. While lots of children look for the Easter bunny and a basket full of chocolate, and Easter lilies appear for sale in the flower shops, that's about the extent of the secular world's celebration of this most important religious event.  Good Friday is largely ignored, except as a day off.

Small wonder.  Good Friday is hard.  There is no way to make it pretty.  On this day we commemorate the death of Jesus upon the cross.  An act of cruelty beyond our imagining, crucifixion was reserved by the Romans for the worst criminals.  It was barbarous, cruel and degrading.  Yet that is how Jesus died, given up to mob violence by those who feared His power and authority.  Pilate said, "I find no fault in him." John 19:4, but the crowd shouted "Crucify him!"  In the face of such ugliness, it's small wonder that our world wishes to turn away.  But we do so to our detriment. 

Without Good Friday, there is no Resurrection Sunday.  We must bear witness to Christ's death in order to celebrate His victory over death.  We must see and acknowledge His sacrifice in order to reap His gift of eternal life.  Good Friday is not pretty, but it is necessary.

At SPPC we will mark Good Friday with a meditative service that invites the worshipper to ponder in his heart the profound meaning of the day. The DieMahler String quartet will perform Haydn's Seven Last Words of Christ, interspersed with readings from scripture.  

The seven last words from the cross are:

 I. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)
II.  Today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43)
III. Mother, behold thy son (John 19:26)
IV. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34)
V.  I thirst (John 19:28)
VI. It is finished (John 19:30)
VII. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46)

All are welcome.  Service begins at 10:00 am.

Holy Week services at Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church

Maundy Thursday:            --  6:00 pm meal in the Upper Room 
Good Friday:                        --  10:00 am  The Seven Last Words of Christ
Easter Sunday Services:   -- 8:00 am Sunrise service, Cy Hampson Park
                                                   -- 9:00 am Breakfast in Molloy Hall at the church
                                                   -- 10:00 am Worship in the Sanctuary
                                                                                                              with choir and string quartet

No comments:

Post a Comment