This year the Good Friday fell on 25th March, the day on which the Church usually remembers the Annunciation, the visit of the angel to that young girl Mary nine months before Christmas, because you understand Jesus was born on 25th December.
So for our Ecumenical Good Friday service we remembered Mary, Mary who saw her first born die, hardly a good day, regardless of which day of the week it was. Below is a section of the service, this part fell between the reading of the Candlemas story in Luke’s Gospel and the playing of ‘Mary did you know?’ which was accompanied by images of Simeon lifting Jesus high while Mary looks on.
Mary, Mary, what a day it must have been for you. Not today, today full of sorrow, but that day in the temple, that day when Simeon and Anna recognised your Son as God’s chosen Messiah, a day of recognition like that day of Palms when they cried Hosanna, was that really only a few days ago?
How long did your joy last after that day, was your soul pierced at once? Pierced by those words that haunted the joy of caring for your new born child. Did you fear for him as your nursed him, as you cradled him in your arms to soothe his crying did you think you would be cradling him in your arms wishing for any sound at all to come from his lips? Did the shadow of those faithful servants words cloud his childhood playing, when he reached the age of manhood, when his bar mitzvah was declared, did Simeons words echo then once more?
Mary, did you know what those words meant, how deep the wound would be? Did you know that you would not be alone in your sorrow others too would weep, weep for not just for the death of your Son but for the death of hope, and love and life. Mary did you know what your Son would do? Did you know all that your Son would do? Did you know all the lives your Son would touch? Mary did you know he would die like this?
Mary did you know that when that angel visited you on an evening such as this one, this would be the pain of your yes?
As the closing words of Pentatonix echoed round the church
A picture of a sleeping babe in May’s arms changed into the famous Pieta by William Bouguereau.
We recalled how the expectations, the understandings the perceived knowledge of the wise, the pious, the learned,was oh so wrong. How the actions of so many have, down through the years, been the ones at which fingers were pointed, and yet how our actions today can often be not much better. Do our words, our actions, our judgments keep that tomb sealed closed.