Triduum#4 – Good Friday Evening

Generally in St Mary’s we have a Good Friday service or devotion of some kind in the evening, but it does differ in character from one year to the next.

In recent years, we’ve had a performance of Stainer’s Crucifixion, a Tenebrae service and services like tonight’s which is simply a meditation in words and music on the themes of Good Friday.

We’ll not be reading the Passion Reading again tonight – we’ve had that plenty and as we heard this afternoon, “It is Finished”. Tonight, we’ll have some poetry and perhaps a reading of the deposition from the cross, the time when Jesus is taken from the cross and laid in the tomb.

It’s worth noting in passing the the Deposition from the Cross is wonderfully depicted in one of the big paintings in St Anne’s Chapel. Jesus is taken down from the cross in a garden, but one that looks strangely familiar to anyone in this neck of the woods. It is all apparently taking place in Kelvingrove Park. A good reminder that the passion happens all around us all the time. It’s not just Jesus who is betrayed, captured, imprisoned, tortured and killed. The passion is all too familiar in some ways. So familiar that we block it out and don’t see the connections between the pain around us and God being in the world.

In some churches, the evening service is the main one of the day, particularly in places where people are prevented by work from attending in the morning or afternoon. Sometimes they walk the Stations of the Cross – a walking meditation looking at representations of the Passion Story. Sometimes it is Tenebrae – a musical service where lights are progressively put out until all is dark. Sometimes it’s a formal liturgy like the Veneration that we have here earlier in the day.

Tonight for us it’s music and words and then rest. All is done. Good Friday will be over.

And to end, a prayer from Compline the service of Night Prayer with which many people end their day:

Almighty God, whose most dear Son
lay at this hour in the sepulchre
in obedience to your will;
may we by your grace be so buried with him
that with him we may rise to life everlasting;
through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen