Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

Confession time:
I don't really like Good Friday worship.

I love the day, what it stands for, cling to the theology of the cross instead of a theology of glory, but worship on this day does little for me. Even as a pastor. Maybe especially as a pastor.

Last year I took the challenge to preach this day -- because I knew it would be a challenge and I hoped it would give me something ... some insight as to why I pull away from this day ... some appreciation for the corporate worship of the day ... something. And, while I was more exhausted and a little more high strung because of my status as preacher, I can't say that it enhanced my appreciation for worship.

I am waiting for something, someday to move me out of my from-a-distance observance of Good Friday. I don't want some fancy-schmancy passion play, some over-dramatized portrayal of what happened so long ago. Maybe some simple words with a mournful instrument. Whatever it is, it will have to sneak past my (internal) hyper-critical stance.


nycmom said...

I confess that I never liked Good Friday worship for years. In fact, I dreaded those annual 3+ hours services with the Stainer Crucifixion (although it is a beautiful work) or the Maunder Olivet to Calvary interwoven with 7 sets of prayers and 7 sermons. (As you can probably tell, I started in the Methodist church, but many of the Episcopal churches I sang in as a professional chorister did the same services.)

For the last twelve years I have been in a small Episcopal church that does the service out of the Prayer Book -- very simple, very quiet (and about an hour shorter). I now find it to be hard work -- moving from Palm Sunday through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, but it is all of one piece, and works for me.

On the other hand, when you are responsible for leading the service in one way or another (and I am the lead singer in an unaccompanied service) there is much less time and energy to simply worship -- so I think that it is entirely understandable that worship doesn't do much for those of us who are working.

SingingOwl said...

Yes, I think that is part of it. Thursday I led a candlelight communion service at church and while others said it was wonderful, I had a difficult time entering into the worship of it. I kept thinking of what I had to do next.

Tonight I took part in an ecueminical Good Friday service with nine other clergy folk from the area. I enjoy my fellow ministers (six of the nine are women--amazing--and all are gracious and good to be with). I enjoy these in an odd way, and they are almost always well done--though always very liturgical which is different for me, but a nice change. We rotate from church to church. But I also always feel nervous, feel that I will miss my part, trip, sing flat--whatever! I would LOVE to just sit in a congregation in an unknown church somewhere, with no responsibilities.

LutheranChik said...

We had such a beautiful, simple Good Friday service at our church -- pretty much just the lessons, one hymn, a very short sermon and the Bidding Prayer. All we did, really, was tell ourselves The Story again. I've been to spikier/more orchestrated/more dramatic Good Friday services, but I think I like this simple service the best.

RuthRE said...

We do tenebrae. Calm, somber. Mournful psalms, hymns, readings, the passion...gradual extinguishing of candles down to one.....single candle is taken away....a loud sound to represent the death.....last candle brought back in to represent the resurrection. All leave in silence.

It's simple, it's direct, it's focused, it's's not pagentry and pomp.....and I like it. Kinda runs itself it can be very personal for each person.