For Good Friday April 10 at 7pm
Set out five candles and light them as the service begins. After each reading extinguish a candle as a symbol of our sorrow over Jesus’ death and our own mortality.
In a world where we witness far too much senseless violence, disappointment, hardship and loss, some may wonder whether we should spend a day so focused on an instrument of torture and pain. With the sting of death abounding during this pandemic, perhaps the cross seems to heap on yet more despair. Yet, the message of this day is not despair, but hope. “That which Christ has not assumed he has not healed,” wrote St. Gregory of Nazianzus in the fourth century, “but that which is united to his Godhead is also saved.” On this day, God comes in the person of Jesus Christ to assume the pain and suffering of our human existence, to empty himself.
So on this day, the church lifts high the cross as a symbol of the victory found even in death. In Matthew’s Gospel, the moment of Jesus’ death is signaled by the temple of the curtain being torn in two, from top to bottom. The boundary between God and humanity is rendered as Christ died a death like us. But the moment of Jesus’s death also cracks open the graves and people are raised from the dead. Even amidst the sting of death, Good Friday promises surprising and even unsettling signs of life and hope.