Good Friday

In the Western Church, today is Good Friday (Karfreitag). It’s an odd day, because even though it is one of the major days of Holy Week, not all Protestant churches commemorate it. Some do more on Maundy Thursday and either skip Good Friday, or have a sort of musical meditation service.

It’s especially awkward this year, for those places in the US where church services cannot be held for whatever reason. I tend to get twitchy for other reasons, partly because we are in tornado season (although my area’s supposed to have snow on Easter Monday and the following day. Go figure.) Plus I’ve been through too many service where the minister or worship leader tries to force people to have an emotional catharsis of some kind. I do not respond well to that kind of manipulation, no matter how well intended.

For those of us in the musical side of things, it is also “oh no, only two days until Easter! Don’t have allergies, don’t have allergies, how many Easter lilies this year?!?”

This year? No. It feels distinctly strange not to be running in circles, musically speaking, among several churches doing different works.




12 thoughts on “Good Friday

  1. This year, only one thing is required. We can focus on what’s important. Someone below may have made a terrible mistake.

  2. I don’t know about catharsis, but if you don’t leave Good Friday service humbled, the preacher isn’t doing his job.
    Not to mention all the great hymns appropriate for the day. (Any service where you get The Old Rugged Cross and Amazing Grace back-to-back is a winner in my book.)

  3. Agree with PK… And all we can do is roll with it. This is a test of our faith, stripping away all the ‘convenience’ and wrappings of the church service and the ‘normality’ of the new dress, the decorations, the music, and the message.

  4. Ah Easter Lilies. I find them very beautiful, but find the scent unpleasant. and of course I’m massively allergic to their pollen,
    and one year I forgot to take my anti-histamine. I was up in the back of the choir loft (where they stash the tenors) and I thought I was going to die as my throat and lungs started to seize up. Also should you want to bring one home (some other year clearly) think twice about it if you have cats. The Day Lily family is all bad news for cats if they eat it and Easter Lilies are among the worst of the bunch.

    • If you’re allergic, beware most of Holy Week… a lot of Catholic parishes order their lilies and get them in by Thursday or Friday, and I’m sure that’s true of other denominations, too. So somewhere in the church, church basement, school, or outbuildings, there will be a vast sea of lilies and other Easter plants during the week, just waiting. I think they smell great, but allergies and sensitivities are no fun.

      • One year, a dear soul decided that since the church had a poinsettia tree at Christmas (poinsettia plants on little risers), an Easter lily tree would be just as delightful. We lost almost a quarter of the choir (guess where they put the “tree”?) wheezing and teary-eyed during the first service. The “tree” mysteriously disappeared and lilies appeared on the window-sills sometime before second service.

        • Oh heavens that’s hilarious. And yes in our church the item at the very of what would be the altar is the baptistry (think a VERY large hot tub but slightly more than waist deep. Filled and heated at need but normally empty. Choir loft just in front of it . Theres a large ledge/Rail to prevent Choristers from falling into said baptistry. That ledge and rail get Poinsettia at Chrismas and Easter Lilies and Hyacinth at Easter, and tenors and basses (being generally taller) get the back row near the ledge in the choir loft. I’m just doomed…

      • Right Baptist here. The Easter lilies show up usually after Maundy Thursday as the sanctuary is VERY undecorated for that service.
        Always liked the stripping of the linens from the altar in more liturgical denominations (Catholic, Episcopalian) quite moving and beautiful.

  5. Ideally, any religious service should have _room_ for emotions, but also room for thinking, and for kinda being blank.There should be all different kinds and levels of being engaged, because that’s not wrong.

    Because there’s no way that anybody but God can know for sure, or control, exactly where people are in their religious life at any given time, or where their gifts or religious modes of perception and reaction are. There are lots of ways to be deeply involved with God at any moment, and there’s also a place for being shallowly involved. And then’s there’s “spiritual dryness,” which is the leg day of the spiritual life and a giant pain in the… leg. There’s people of every age and culture.

    So yeah, I like a Mass or a service that has space for everything, and depth enough for anyone. You don’t have to dumb things down, or rev things up. If you just do it right, there’s plenty for everyone.

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