Our Good Friday Passion

The Good Friday service is a sober, somber, brooding celebration.  The music is heavy, the periods of silence seems everlasting.  I confess that each year I am tempted to skip Good Friday and go straight to the Great Vigil.  But this year I am glad I didn’t.

Kurt asked us in his homily what we are prepared to suffer or even die for.  OK that got my attention.

The telling of the passion story is best taken in sitting there with your eyes closed.  Reading along distracts me from the story by the density of the words so I miss the nuances of the meaning of the reading.

The rhythm of Holy Week is hectic.  At St. Timothy’s this year has come off like clockwork.  Our team of clergy and staff has gone about their work with usual precision.  It may seem like chaos to them but to us in the pews it has been professional, holy, and just as we expected.  We all know that we are nearing the end of our interim period.  We know the Vestry is interviewing finalists and soon God will reveal to us whom he has chosen to be our new rector.  For now we wait, we pray, we will celebrate Easter as we have each year.

But this Good Friday it hit me.

When the doors of the church opened after the reading of the passion and Kathy Trapani came through those doors carrying the Cross—it hit me.  This was it.  This was the last time we would see Kathy carrying the cross for us on our way to Easter, to a new Rector, to a new start as a parish.

Suddenly the sense of passion came alive.  She was stoic.  She was determined.  She walked down that aisle on a mission.  It had to be perfect.  It had to be poignant.  It had to make her invisible to us so that all we saw was that Cross coming to its place of honor.  And so it was.

And there holding up the cross as she put it in its proper place for the last time was the person who has carried us on her back, held our hand, wept with us, laughed with us and sat with us in our times of need.

The tradition at St. Timothy’s has been to rotate the celebrant role among the clergy.  It is a collegial tradition that honors each member of our clergy team and gives them the opportunity to live into their vocation fully.

Maybe it was just the luck of the rotation draw that saw Kathy in the role of celebrant tonight. But in my passion this night I think it was a pure and perfect gift from God—the honor of carrying the Cross. Kathy’s journey from the pews to seminary to her ordination and then call as a member of our clergy team, her dedicated service in our midst comes full circle in the honor of carrying the Cross into the church as she nears the end of her journey as our Interim Rector soon to take her leave.

A pure and perfect gift from God.

I prayed this night that Jesus would fill her up with the satisfaction of knowing that she has done this job so well, so truly, so faithfully that the passion of having to give it up will turn into Easter by what God has planned next on her journey of faith.  But tonight it was Good Friday and the passion of the night will lead us to Easter.  And on Easter we will give thanks for the Risen Lord and also for His pure and perfect gift of a good shepherd.

It was a Good Friday!


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