April 22nd, 2011

saxon cross

Good Friday service

My soul is well fed after our three-hour Good Friday service. It was very powerful. What a privilege to have so many speakers! There were those who were a bit erudite, others who put us there on the hillside, some who evoked our compassion, and one* who was positively (if uncharacteristically) blunt. Taken all together, it made a sermon more comprehensive than one normally hears, a tale more complete in the telling.

The music was amazing in its range, both musical and emotional. There were traditional hymns and spirituals. The soloists were accompanied by organ, by piano, by guitar, by pre-recorded arrangement, as well as a capella. The prelude, interludes, and postlude ran the gamut from classical to jazz, on both organ and piano -- and all of it well chosen, befitting the occasion and what had just been said or sung. One solo in particular reduced me to tears; other songs and pieces lifted me up and gave me peace.

The congregation was small: about thirty people, some of whom came and went. Most were retired folks (understandably), but one of the soloists was a 15-year-old boy, another a young teacher from the junior high. There were several walks of life present in the congregation. It was a healthy mix.

The sanctuary had no ornament, stripped bare for Good Friday. The arrangement of the liturgy was simple and uncluttered. One by one, leaders arose to take their turn leading the various sections. Inexorably, the story moved toward its conclusion. In the end, I'd say the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. I'm glad we did it.


*That would be me.