Friday, March 21, 2008
Good Friday Five
Being home sick is not the way to get out of sermon writing on Good Friday. I generally cannot preach after the reading of the Passion. What more is there to say? That my Lord gave himself for me, for all those I love and care for? --For those I don’t even like? There is no more humbling thing in the world. It stops me in my tracks. There is nothing more I can say…
Revhrod at Revgals does save the day though, with her Friday five:
I hope that this Friday Five will be a meaningful part of your Good Friday. God's blessings to you on your journey.
1. Our prayer concerns are as varied as we are this day. For whom would you like us to pray?I would pray first for my enemies—those I find it difficult to pray for: my bishop, the bishops who have caused so much confusion in the church and split us so badly because of their ineptitude and their unwillingness to deal with difficult issues like racism, gay issues, women’s ministry, etc. --Those who are morally dishonest in their ministry and continue to cover their mistakes with what they declare as “God’s will” rather than with humility and truth.
I would ask for prayers for my self. I have been sick too much this year and need strength to serve my people well.
2. Are there things you have done or will do today to help the young ones understand this important day in our lives? Since I am staying in bed today, I can’t say that today is something that I would want others to learn from except that sometimes retreat is the better form of valor. At least I am sick enough that I am not tempted to “sacrifice myself” and infect the rest of the parish.
3. Music plays an important part in sharing the story of this day. Is there a hymn or piece of music that you have found particularly meaningful to your celebrations of Good Friday?
It is interesting that today is not only Good Friday; it is J. S. Bach’s birthday. XM radio is playing an “all Bach” program today. When one is a visual person, as I am, Good Friday is often portrayed with the great painting or crucifix. But as a musician, I know that music can move me more. Even his Well-Tempered Clavier can touch what the Cross does to my soul. No words will suffice. Hopefully I will hear Christ Lag en Todesbanden sometime today and weep.
4. As you hear the passion narrative, is there a character that you particularly resonate with?
Reading the Passion is like looking at a painting. All the characters are necessary to the painting’s conformation. I try not to enter into the picture because all the parts are already there. I am not left out because I am the observer, necessary for the painting to have meaning. In all the Ignatian prayer that I used to do, I was never successful at entering into the scene of the Passion. I didn’t realize for years that Ignatian prayer forms are not especially helpful for me—but the Passion needs to have witnesses. I am the witness. I am the one who has to stand powerless and watch my salvation wrought by someone who has given his all for me. And the job of the witness is to tell the story. So I watch the whole story opening in my heart. The story of love that goes beyond death.
5. Where have you seen the gracious God of love at work lately?For the past 6 or more years I have seen too much of the warring in Church settings to not be a bit jaded by the work of the Church. But for the past 7 months I have watched a small group of people live out their faith in a way that I have not seen in many a year. This little parish has ministered to the dying, the families of the dying, to the young, to the old, to themselves in ways that has taken my breath away. I have watched them begin to grow—not because I am there, but because they faced their need for real pastoral ministry and took on that responsibility. I have watched people continue to struggle with what is needed, not just what is wanted on financial issues and at the same time be willing to trust that God will provide what they need.
In the light of how this parish has ministered to my jaded and sin-sick soul, I am beginning to have some faith in the Church again. God is Good—even on Friday.