by Fr. Ben Hankinson
The Good Friday liturgy begins where Maundy Thursday left off, in silence.
The blessing and dismissal are conspicuous in their absence at the conclusion of Maundy Thursday, and the opening acclamation is nowhere to be found on Friday. This is because the liturgies, though they are separated by a day, are in essence one liturgy spread over three days. What began Thursday continues Friday and concludes with the Great Vigil of Easter. And so, we open by moving directly to the collect and lessons which climax in the solemn reading of the Passion.
In response to what we have heard, to the completed work of the cross, we offer a series of solemn collects because it is through the Passion that we have access to such intercessions. We boldly claim that right and use it to intercede for the church, the nations, those in need, those who do not yet know Christ, and finally for ourselves and the faithful departed as the merits of Christ and his completed work are set between us and our sins.
Then, having heard the story of the cross, having called upon the strength and mercy of the cross, we turn our attention now to meditate upon it. The cross is brought forth as we adore the shameful instrument of death which has become the beautiful symbol of our life and our salvation. We glory in the cross.
Which in most years would lead us to to the altar of the Lord. We we do not celebrate the Great Thanksgiving on this most solemn of occasions, and this year we will not physically share in the comfort of the Sacrament. And yet, Christ, his body broken and blood poured out on the cross, nourishes our broken hearts just the same. We are spiritually fed by the fruit of the Lord's Passion as we depart to await the celebration of his glorious resurrection.
Passion, prayer, and paten.
Christ, cross, and cup.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set
your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and
our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and
grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy
Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life
and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you
live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Painting by Pieter Lastman, The crucifixion, 1616