Saturday, April 07, 2007

Good Good Friday

Something completely new happened to me yesterday. Someone called me at home less than an hour after services had ended to tell me what a good service it was and to thank me.

It was the Good Friday service. Not the noon ecumenical one I blogged about before, but the evening Tenebrae that we had at the church. It was pretty simple. We used the Tenebrae service out of the order of worship. There are 16 readings from the Gospel of John, each done by a different reader. As each reading is finished, the reader puts out one of 15 candles, ending with the Christ candle. Every two readings we had either a hymn or an anthem. The choir did two pieces, and we had a guest bell choir that played two pieces, plus two more as prelude. Very simple. No sermon. Just 16 readers, some songs, and some candles.

After the service several people stopped me to thank me or compliment me on the service. (It's extraordinarily difficult to take a compliment on a Good Friday Service.) Then today as we gathered to decorate the church for Easter, several others made a special point to come up and say the same. It is by far the most positive response I've gotten for anything that we have done. It was very powerful, very affecting. But very simple.


Anonymous Mary Ann said...

Whoo HOO!!!! :)

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Cara said...

This year was the first time I did the Tenebrae service and it was a powerful experience. Last year this service was so well received by the congregation that they insisted on doing it again.

4:31 PM  
Blogger david said...

Yes, and I think that it's a triumph for liturgy. No sermon. Only liturgy. And yet it's the most powerful service of the year. (The material might help too).

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann said...

I think you're absolutely right about the importance of liturgy (and Scripture). Of course, I'm also pleased to hear you say that-- my own principle is to emphasize those and music (though not music at Good Friday) and decrease or eliminate other things for the higher services....

7:44 AM  

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