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a good Friday

We didn't go to church this evening—instead we hosted our regular Friday evening small group, which is now a mix of churchy and non-churchy folks. That was a good call—we had a great full gathering—but I did feel a little disappointed to miss out on a lovely moving service at our church where, more and more, we're figuring out how to make things lovely and moving. We tried to make up for the lack by visiting the Stations of the Cross at Bethany House.

Me and the boys (plus one) in the monastary garden looking at a sign

cursory examination

Thanks Katie for inviting us, and for the picture above! Katie's church hosts an interpretive Stations every Good Friday, and we meant to go to that—only with the steady drizzle it was cancelled. So we just got the unlabeled illustrations (in very nice wood-carved semi-relief), but also had the place to ourselves. That was a fine trade-off for our rambunctious crew, who were more interested in statues and puddles than liturgy.

Zion kicking water in a giant puddle

holy water?

Still,we were all there, and they got the story; they know what's up. After the big boys had all run off I was looking at some of the pictures with Lijah, and asked him if he knew who that guy was. "It's Jesus," he told me. Yup. Then he went on, "Jesus dyin. Onna cross." Then I put him down so he could look at a tiny house and a fountain, and stamp in puddles deep enough to cover his boots.

Lijah looking at a fountain in the scraggely monastary garden

contemplating the depths

I think all in all it was a good balance of "holiness" and regular life. I wouldn't have bothered to write about the day at all—it's way past my bedtime!—except for an terrific blog post I came across while failing to do the work that was keeping my away from bed in the first place. It notes an interesting coincidence: "2016 brings a rare occurrence this coming Friday — the coinciding of two very solemn observances, one fixed, one moveable: the Feast of the Annunciation, and Good Friday."

Apparently it happens every once and a while; John Donne wrote a poem about it.

Tamely, frail body, abstain today; today
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came and went away;

(There's lots more to the poem; read the rest of it at the link above). The post concludes with a celebration of the idea of liturgy, including the following:

It's a way of reading the Bible in dialogue with itself, with the ongoing tradition of which it is a part, and with the whole community of the faithful, out of which flashes of realization can emerge, sometimes slowly dawning on you, sometimes flashing out in startling clarity.

Yes. That's why, even when we skip church, we're always looking to let the liturgical spirit into our lives. I think we had a good Friday; I hope you did too!

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