Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

"Elizabeth has thrice today commemorated the death of her Savior." -facebook

(1) Last morning prayer service of Lent.  We read Mark 15.  During the Reflection, Molly commented on the fact that even those being crucified right alongside Jesus join the crowd in mocking Jesus -- "their last minutes and they just want to get in on the joke."  Given my recent readings, I said, "I wonder if they were some of the people who were disappointed in Jesus -- who had hoped that Jesus would be the One who would come and save them."

Our Good Friday vigil starts at 7a with morning prayer in the chapel, and moves upstairs at 7:30a, where we'll have prayer stations set up, and someone available at all times to pray with you, if you like. You may come and go throughout the day. Every hour on the hour, we'll chant, hear a collect, a reading. At 2:15p, you can come listen to Macmillan's Seven Last Words from the Cross--haunting, awful, awe-full. At 3p, the hour when Jesus died, a short service with song and prayer. Vigil continues through 6p. You can come put prayers in our wailing wall, made by Michael Stenner, you can kneel before the cross, write confessions in water on a board and watch them evaporate, pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, by running water.
It was really sunny and warm today, which was lovely for eating lunch outside, but made for some cognitive dissonance for a 3pm Good Friday service [edit: heh].  I walked in ~2:10pm (I hadn't read Molly's email thoroughly or I would have aimed to be there at 2:00) and James kinda waved at me and the windows don't have curtains and I wanted to take off my shoes and kneel in front of the cross but it felt too public, too exposed.  Someone was kneeling in front of the wailing wall (which was like a corkboard or something put up on the wall, with strips of black -- and some red -- cloth covering it and some newspaper stories tacked onto it and materials for writing up and adding your own laments), so I went over there and sat down kind of to the side a bit (I realized kneeling would be uncomfortable, so I sat with my knees pulled up to my chest).  After a while I was feeling a little dizzy, so I moved to lean against a pew.  And eventually I laid down on my stomach (I was between a column of pews and a wall, away from everyone else).  My mind wandered a lot (as it does, when I try to be in prayer), but I was glad to have taken ~45 consecutive minutes of attempting to be in prayer.

I hadn't thought to pick up a bulletin when I walked in, which wasn't really an issue for the 3pm service except for the fact that I don't know the Apostle's Creed by memory much at all.

We closed with singing, "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord," but the most striking moment of the whole service for me at least was when Molly was reading the story in Matthew, someone up front (at the appropriate moment) actually rent a piece of cloth -- which is a really jarring sound.

(3) Tallessyn led a ~Taize service of Tenebrae at CWM tonight.

We didn't do a "last words" service exactly (see below), but we did make a nice arc through the end of Jesus' (human) life, I think.

Tallessyn said that she hoped that by making the service very simple, it would help us to think about those people today who suffer and face what Jesus suffered and faced.

The first thing that had struck me when I had walked into the worship room was that the cross was draped in black mesh, like a widow's veil.  After hearing what Tallessyn said, I thought of how if the Cross is wearing a widow's veil, then it is Christ who is in mourning, who is mourning the brokenness of Her Body: the Church.  [Edit: I meant Christ's Bride, the Church -- this is what I get for writing when tired.]

[Luke 22:42] If it is possible, take this cup away from me.
[Matthew 26:40, 41b] Could you not stay awake with me one hour?  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is week.
[Matthew 27:46] My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (read by 7-year-old Telynia)
[Luke 23:43] Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.
[John 19:30] It is finished. (read by 5-year-old Leyalyn)

In the intro, Tallessyn said that we were invited to leave in silence at the end, and that there were consecrated elements by the door if we wanted to take Communion as we left.  There was a candle next to them, which I thought was a really nice touch (it works on levels!).

After the service was ended, I sat in the dark for, I dunno, five minutes?  At one point, to help keep my mind from wandering, I just listed names of people I am praying for, rather than doing the, "I pray thus-and-such for them."  I wasn't sure when to leave and I started focusing on my breathing more and thinking, "Well I can stay just a few more moments," which reminded me of cardio workout days when it's a struggle to get through the forty-five minutes on the treadmill and I'm watching the seconds pass on the timer and it had never occurred to me that that kind of discipline could aid this kind of discipline, and it also occurred to me that there is a certain discipline to just sitting, even if my mind is wandering and I'm not actually being prayerful for a lot of it, that being able to just sit in silence for extended periods of time is an important step.
Tags: church: somerville: cambridge welcoming, church: somerville: first church ucc, church: somerville: ucc: morning prayer, holy week: good friday, people: church: ian, people: pastors: molly, prayer

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