Today is Good Friday, the day we commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion and death. It’s a somber day.
Today’s two services at my church, Stations of the Cross at noon, and then the Good Friday Liturgy tonight, were both spiritual and moving. The Liturgy of Good Friday celebrates the Passion of the Lord, or the events before and including Jesus’ crucifixion. It’s a solemn service.
The altar is completely bare from the previous night’s Maundy Thursday service and the “Stripping of the Altar.” The Hangings (or all the different fabric adornments for the lectern, pulpit, altar, etc.) have been stripped. They are gone. Jesus’ body was stripped of its coverings, so we strip the Altar of its coverings. The candlesticks have also been taken away. The candles are removed from our presence in recognition of the darkness that followed Jesus’ death on the cross. The church lights are dimmed. Jesus, our light of the world, was snuffed out during the events at Golgotha, so we extinguish our lights.
The Good Friday Liturgy service starts in silence as the service ended in silence the evening before.
Tonight we heard the reading of the Passion from the Gospel of St. John. It was moving. But to me, the most powerful part of the service was one sentence spoken by the priest during the sermon. That sentence was: “It was not the nails that kept him on the cross, it was love. ” That one sentence is what stuck with me on the drive home after the service.
Tonight, I’m remembering His sacrifice.