As a little girl, I remember sitting in our church during Good Friday service as they stripped the altar, then dimmed the lights, then... WHAM! (slammed the bible)... All for us to remember that Jesus had died on the cross. It was finished.
In Fort Wayne, the Good Friday service at the church we attended was similar, except they scattered the 40 pieces of silver on which Judas betrayed Jesus, right in front of the altar before they.... WHAM! (slammed the bible)....
At our church in Denver, the Pastor's stripped the altar bare last night, after we celebrated The Lord's Supper.
Today, we will go into church, where the altar will be laid bare, the Pastor's will wear black vestments, and we will reflect upon Jesus' brutal torture and death upon the cross for our transgressions. And, during that time, our choir will be singing Bach's Passion of St. John. It will either make you writhe in agony in your pew as you listen to me screech in the soprano section, or the words will speak to you in a beautiful way and tell you of how Christ painfully endured the cross for us. I'm hoping that it's the latter one...
Stricken, Smitten, and AfflictedBy: Thomas Kelly
Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See him dying on the tree!
This is Christ, by man rejected;
Here, my soul, your Savior see.
He’s the long expected prophet,
David’s son, yet David’s Lord.
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
He’s the true and faithful Word.
Tell me, all who hear him groaning,
Was there ever grief like this?
Friends through fear his cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress;
Many hands were raised to wound him,
None would intervene to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced him
Was the stroke that justice gave.
You who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed;
See who bears the awful load;
It’s the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man and son of God.
Here we have a firm foundation;
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ, the rock of our salvation,
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on him their hope have built.
Have a blessed Good Friday.