Good Friday

“Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

John 19:30b

And in that single moment, the course of our human existence changed.  The sin-filled path we had been dashing headlong down, since that monumental “crunch” as Adam and Eve chomped on the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, came to an abrupt and grisly dead end.

Good Friday gives us a moment to reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus makes for all of creation as he hangs on the cross slowly suffocating until, in John’s account, Jesus dies simply and quietly.  Today is not a day to look forward in joyful expectation to Easter morning, as we are sometimes prone to do.  Instead it is a day to be quiet; to fast and to pray; and to be still in the knowledge that Jesus will die for us today–with us in the frenzied mob shouting “Crucify him!  Crucify him!”  And he will do this because he is obedient to God, because he loves us.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy for Good Friday there is no blessing.  In fact it is the only service in the Book of Common Prayer where the rubrics direct for neither a blessing or a dismissal.  We are to leave the service in silence with only these words to contemplate:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set
your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and
our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and
grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy
Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life
and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you 
live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

About matthewhanisian

Associate Rector at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.
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