Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hiding From the Cross

Yesterday evening, my little church continued a tradition.  We gathered together to tell the story of the passion and crucifixion, a story of suffering and loss told in a small darkened room.

Songs of lament were sung.  Candles were extinguished, one by one.  Reader after reader rose to tell their portion of that old hard story.   It was mournful and musical and simple.

And I had nothing to do with it.  Oh, I was there, sure.  I was hidden away, up in the shadows of the old balcony, running the presentation whose text had been pulled together by our able choir director.   But on Good Fridays in the recent past at my church, the pastor has had nothing whatsoever to do with the service.  It's a laity run/planned/implemented worship.

It was an interesting dynamic last year, moving from a church where I was the primary engine driving Good Friday worship to being on the outside of it.   But as I mused over it this morning having done it twice, I found myself finding a peculiar harmony with the story of the cross as my tiny church tells it.

On Good Friday, I am no longer the Teaching Elder who teaches.  On Good Friday, I am not the Pastor who leads, or the Preacher who preaches.  Those titles and roles are stripped away, and I find myself hiding in the darkness, watching things unfold from afar.

It felt, as I prayed and sang, like being Peter.  The Rock!  The strong one!  Only on that evening, I was like Peter, in the shadows, as others witness to the story.   I was like the disciples, watching from afar.

It didn't feel good, because Good Friday isn't about feeling good.  But it did feel right.