Last night I participated in our church’s Maundy Thursday Tennebrae Communion service. Before the service we had opportunity to walk through the stations of the cross set up in hallways and rooms. Each station included some form of art: sculpture, paintings, photography, human sculpture, poetry, collage, etc. I appreciated the walk because it allowed for silent reflection at my own pace. The communion was also done in silence and alone [different from our usual tradition of eating and drinking together] to mimic the loneliness of Christ on the cross, and now us in our own sin. It was troubling to leave the meeting space in silence, only greeting people with a look and a nod, and yet also appropriate for the occasion. We have to wait till Sunday to break the silence of death.
This morning I found myself alone at home. I cleaned up the house, swept the floor and put on a pot of soup to simmer. It was in silence until I remembered my “Good Friday Song” that I think I only play once a year – “The Killing” by “the violet burning” from 1989. It is a 7 minute lament anthem complete with hammer sounds, a driving bass beat and wailing electric guitars. The lyrics of course are about the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t know that they are that profound theologically, but today I just want to focus on the reality of God’s death; that is overwhelming enough.
Every day on my way home from work I cycle through a graveyard. Thus, I contemplate my mortality on a daily basis. They are not morbid thoughts, and not always even sober, but they always help me to appreciate the fragility and preciousness of life. In the morning I cycle a boardwalk through a marsh and hear the lively sounds of birds and frogs as they celebrate the day. And one day this week I met Bill again! He’s alive! It seems he now often takes another route that has less of a climb, although he did not admit this to me. Ah, the frailty of life as we get older!
Good Friday means so much and today I simply reflect on the reality that Jesus was a human being who tasted death just like we do. As I contemplate my own death I’m thankful that Jesus also conquered death in the resurrection. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.