Good Friday

Good Friday

Good Friday

If we have gotten questions about anything in Holy Week we get the most about Good Friday.  The reason is that things happen on Good Friday that happen no other time in the church year and the reason for this is very simple:

Good Friday is the one day of the church year when we remember that Jesus Christ was DEAD.

Good Friday was the day that Jesus hung upon the cross, suffered upon the cross and died upon the cross.  Therefore, what had been an all ready solemn Lent  turns to a day of mourning, penitence, and sorrow.  We remember the time that Christ suffered and Christ lay dead in the tomb.

That is why everything is black on Good Friday.  When we enter the church for our service, the black is the color of mourning, but also we are entering into the place where our Lord can be found - and on Good Friday that is in the tomb.  Therefore we symbolically enter into the tomb with Christ, we sit there and remember the death that it took to save us from our sins and to bring us to eternal life. 

Good Friday reminds us that there was a cost to our salvation.  The cost was the death of the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the death of Jesus Christ.

Therefore it shouldn't be happy, it shouldn't be joyous, it should be sad and mournful and dark.

Tenebrae Service:

Now on Good Friday we do the Tenebrae Service.  Tenebrae means the "Service of Darkness".  As you know it is pretty simple.  We gather in the sanctuary which is draped in black for the reasons mentioned above.

One thing that gets people's attention and something that I have gotten questions about is why we use the black candles in the service.  That seems unsettling to some people. 

If you find that unsettling - that is totally the purpose.  It should be unsettling that Jesus, the savior of the world has died.  The black candles are that color because they represent that as the story is told the light is going out of the world.  They are black to represent, that things are not as they should be.  They are black to remind us that the world has turned upside down and on its head.  Everything is upside down, the one who is the resurrection and the life lies dead in the tomb.

But notice not all of the candles are black.  The center candle is white.  It is the one candle that will not be extinguished.  It points us to the Jesus who is the light of the world and despite all the ways that it tries the darkness and evil of the world will not overcome it

That is why at the end of the service the one remaining candle is carried from the room, for a brief moment - then it comes back.  It comes back to remind us that after the short period in the tomb, the light did return.  Jesus never abandons us, even to the dark.

It does seem dark and morbid, but that is exactly the point.  If we forget the cost of what Jesus gave to save us then we miss how important what happened really it.  Jesus died and we need to remember it.  If not we don't understand why Easter morning is such a good and great and remarkable thing.  We live, and all those who have died in the Lord will life, because Jesus took that journey into death.  Good Friday helps us remember what Jesus has done and what he saves us from.

It may be dark, but it was the darkness that Jesus Christ battled so that we might live eternally in his light.

Thanks be to God

Pr. Mike

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