Why Are We Here-- on Good Friday
April 4, 2015
The Good Friday service at Epworth was a profound experience. One worshipper said, "I sat there in the dark, meditating before the bare, stripped altar and felt the silence, the emptiness, the coldness of the world when Christ was in the tomb. And then the cantors sang 'When I Survey the Wondrous Cross'. . ."
And Pastor Thelander continued his three-part sermon:
"As I did last night, tonight I ask once again: Why are we here?
"The answer to that question is: We are here because we are part of a tradition. A tradition that claims that these are three of the most important days in all of history.
But why are we here tonight, on this Good Friday?
"The simple answer to that question is this: We are here because we are part of a tradition that is shaped by the Cross of Jesus Christ.
"Let me be more specific about what this means. For many people, the Cross is treated as a factor in a mathematical equation that shows how we are saved from sin. That’s alright, I suppose, as far as it goes. But that’s not what I mean when I say that we are part of a tradition that is shaped by the Cross.
"When I say that we are part of a tradition that is shaped by the Cross, I mean to say that it is in the Cross of Christ that we most clearly see the truth about how God is revealed in the world. The Cross reveals to us that God chooses to redeem the world’s brokenness and pain by taking it unto Himself. The Almighty, All-powerful One chooses the path of suffering love."
The sermon continued with a moving account of the death of a young man in the Holocaust. In a few days you will be able to read or hear the entire story here.
The cantor sang "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" and we continued to sit in darkness as the belltolled to commemorate the thirty-three years of Christ's life on earth. We then departed in prayerful silence.
Tonight we gather outside the church at 8:00 for the lighting of the Paschal fire. We will then enter the darkness of the tomb, each bearing a newly-kindled light and chanting, "The light of Christ."