Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday with O. P. Kretzmann

Good Friday is odd day.  Normally I take Fridays off.  And I will take some hours off today but it is not a day off.  I wake up and the house feels different.  I feel different.  I put on the black attire of my work clothing but I do not go right to work.  The work today is not at the office, or appointments with people, or phone calls and emails to follow up... Normally the work today would come in the form of two worship services -- one at noon and one at 7 pm.  Although I hesitate to call them usual worship services in the sense of what we are accustomed to -- these would have been very different.  But these are even more different times.

At noon 40 or so usually gathered to hear the reading of the Passion, to sing a hymn or two, to hear a homily, and to pray in the quiet of such a difference.  The chancel is now empty except for a big, rough wooden cross with a real crown of thorns and some dried up palms.  The talk is death.  The death is the Son of God.  The focus is on what it took and who paid the price for what we see in the mirror of our souls.  We will contemplate the Passion of our Lord but in the way that God means for us to contemplate -- with the true worship which is faith in what He did and what He accomplished for us and for our salvation.

In the evening we would have gathered with several times that number for a service of the Word (the tabernacle door stands open displaying the emptiness within and the eternal light is dark).  This should have been a fuller service of the Word with the reading from the Old Testament and New Testament and the longer reading of the Passion, interspersed with choral anthems and hymn stanzas.  And then a sermon that unfolds the Passion story that it may be not just a story but our hope, our foundation, our life...  And then the adoration of the cross, the reproaches, and at last the bidding prayer with its close in the Our Father...  It is supposed to have been a service of shadows with lights dimmed, muted organ, and plenty of silence.  But not this year.

As if this day were not different enough with its focus on death, there is the shadow of death over us in the corona virus threat.  Death, death, and more death on a Friday we dare only by faith to call Good...
Litany for Good Friday — 1938
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father in heaven
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God
Have mercy on us.

By Thy Suering and Death —
By the hurt of Judas
By the pain of Peter
s denial
By the sweat of blood
By the agony of soul
By the robe of purple and the crown of thorn
By the bite of the whip and the lash of the scourge
By the Way of the Cross
By the nails and thirst
By the blood that stained the Holy Rood
By the travail of Thy soul By the riven vine and the trodden winepress
By Thy expiring cry

By Thy triumph in death
O dying Redeemer, hear us.

From hardness of heart and darkness of soul
From coldness of mind
From trampling Thy blood on the way of sin
From driving the nails again
From crucifying Thee anew
From forgetfulness of Thy great sorrow
From the loneliness of life without Thee
From greed and ambition
From the lust of the eye and the pride of life
From the burden of remembered sin
From the cunning of men
From the confusion of ignorance
From hate
From a jealous heart
From the last sin of unbelief
O living Redeemer, deliver us.

For the heart of man today, afraid
For the sick of body to ease their pain
For the sick of mind to lighten their gloom
For the sick of soul to bring them forgiveness
For them who weep alone
For Thy Life in every broken heart
For the soul that knows not Thee
For all who make known Thy way upon earth
For all who love Thy Holy Name
For all Thy Church in all the world
Thou King of Principalities and Powers, of Thrones and Domin ions
Thou Lord of Cherubim and Seraphim, of angels and archangels
Thou Prince of Peace and Glory, of Kingdoms and Empires
O dying and living Redeemer, hear us.

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