Good Friday

I know that I don’t need to convince any of you that this has been a strange month. I know that each of us is experiencing various levels of shelter-in-place, stay-at-home, and quarantine. I sometimes forget that this is due to pandemic – I’m a homebody who can happily stay home and feel connected, without ever talking to much of anyone outside of my house. Sometimes I feel trapped, instead. I know that everyone is experiencing this current reality in their own way, and I can’t wait until we can meet over coffee or wine, maybe around a fire-pit or in a book store – but for now we share snapshots remotely. And it’s familiar and strange.

This week has been particularly hard.

It’s Holy Week, and for the last 10 years, at least, I’ve been part of the planning of or acting out of the various Church community events that happen this week. Breaking bread, washing feet, reading, and telling the story of a Savior who lived to die to live again, and then feasting with friends and family – champagne for breakfast and songs at sunrise.

This week has been hard.

As I write this post, it is Good Friday, and like years before, I’ve looked through liturgies and read the stories this week.

Last year, I helped plan music for a liturgy that this year, I got to help plan again. It is a neat experience to be trusted to help choose songs that will stick in people’s minds and help them remember, as they simultaneously listen to a story that does not always stick, and story we forget to remember is the story that makes each day possible and probable and worthwhile. The planning went much the same as it always does – a google doc, chatting and leaving notes back and forth, emails, edits, and a virtual high five.

The service went much the same as it always does.

Story – flame extinguished – song – story – flame extinguished – song – story.

All the joy and sadness and tears intermixed.

And still, tonight was hard.

As we heard the voices of our friends read the scripture, we did not see their faces. We did not feel their presence. As we sang the songs, we did not hear the voices, we did not feel the pull of heartstrings and presence of friends whose shared sadness, awe, and love are usually palpable in the words and music and silence when we stand so close and our voices echo together through a building we all share.

Hope and Lament mix together in Good Friday. Lent comes full circle as the ashes that remind us we are destined for dust at the beginning of this journey, are embodied in the death of Jesus, today.

Tonight, hope and lament are felt deep in our household.

We took part of a virtual service, telling stories and singing songs – and it was beautiful, and I’m so thankful for the community we have and stories we share. That in the midst of distancing, we are making spaces to come together.

There was still a Tenebrae

The first thing said, after we turned off the candled screen and turned back on the lights in our house was:

“I miss our friends”

And lament and hope mixed. In sadness that we are apart and love that we met together anyway – and hope that this will be short lived.

It’s a new experience to lament and hope remotely, while still in community. In a world where we often talk about the fact that lament and grief are feelings that are hard to lean into – hard to not discredit with silver-linings – with hope. Where, as a faith community we strive to be intentional about recognizing and validating lament and grief, this is hard. And where we are also intentional about hope, this is still hard.

It’s hard not to make Lament and Hope mutually exclusive.

So, here I sit.

Sad, and hopeful.

And one does not outweigh the other – or maybe they vary so rapidly that I just focus on the balance.

The death of Christ, the closing of the sanctuary – tied tonight – feels close – and so far away. In the midst of new ways of remembering, I know we’ll get to hear the echoes of friends again – and I’m hopeful and I’m sad.

I’ll leave with a Psalm and a Song tonight -A Psalm in which even the Psalmist has trouble sticking only to lament, and a Song that sounds so close to Lament, but is so full of Hope.

Psalm 71 was one of the readings this week, and in it the psalmist says:

19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
    you who have done great things.
    Who is like you, God?
20 Though you have made me see troubles,
    many and bitter,
    you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
    you will again bring me up.

Lament and Hope.

Lamb of God, you Take away, the sin of the world
Lamb of God, you Take away, the sin of the world
Grant us your peace(4x)

– (we sing the Welcome Wagon version – but it’s an Agnus Dei, find you’re favorite)

Hope and Lament.

Good Friday all.

One thought on “Good Friday

  1. Leaning in to the discomfort. I can get behind that on Good Friday, but knowing Easter will not bring the joy and relief it usually does has made the leaning in so.much.harder. Tenebrae. It is good, a good stretching and pressing in. Hope and Lament, Lament and Hope. Thank you for your thoughts.

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