Scenes from Good Friday

There were two major liturgies on Good Friday morning. The first for families took us on a journey for the five senses where we had a chance to engage with the way of the cross.  We learned to sing "Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom", the simple Taize hymn, and heard the gospel story.  Then we explored touch through learning about making the sign of the cross.  Carrying the cross is demanding - but as a community we can share it.  We met one of the women of Jesusalem who were weeping - and we learned that crying can sometimes be a good thing because God is bigger than we are and hears our prayers. We wrote prayers for others on large tear drops. 

We moved to the centre where we could see the large cross at the front - and were reminded that Jesus was given sour vinegar to drink and taunted by the soldiers.  Then we heard about a dramatic event where rocks tumbled and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  This was a chance to learn something about the place of the Temple at the time of Jesus.  It had several sections and different people were allowed into different parts of it - Gentiles on the outside rim, observant Jesus closer in - and the high priest in the centre only once a year.  But that structure was torn apart - and left cloth souvenirs as reminders. 

Finally we returned to the sanctuary and had a chance to smell frankincense and myrrh - and used them to bury Jesus and lay him in the tomb.  And we were reminded that this was not the end of the story - and went downstairs for hot cross buns and egg decorating.

The more traditional Good Friday Solemn Liturgy followed  - unaccompanied hymns, a forceful homily delivered by guest preacher, Fr. Pearce Carefoote, the solemn collects,  the Veneration of the Cross with Willan's moving setting  of the Reproaches sung by the Gallery Choir alternating with the congregational "Sing My Tongue the Glorious Battle".

Faithful Cross above all other,
One and only noble tree1
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood and sweetest iron,
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.

The Sacrament returned to the high altar and a mass of the presancitified  followed.  Then all departed in silence to respect the solemnity of the day.