Saturday, April 23, 2011

Slow down.

Slow down.

That message came across to me several times in the Good Friday services (Chief Service at Noon and Tenebrae in the evening). In the Tenebrae service, for instance, the chanting of four complete psalms is tedious. For a long time, it feels like that’s all we’re doing. All that’s happened in the service so far is a collect. And then the Psalms say, “Slow down; enjoy the poetic Word of God.”

In the Chief Service (a service new to all of us at Hope), the longer Passion reading, the times of silence, the bidding prayer, the reproaches—everything seems to slow the service down and force us to meditate on the suffering and death of Jesus. The Service of the Sacrament is the exception, abbreviating the ordinaries and speaking everything, it feels abrupt and terse. Nevertheless, the overall pace of the service exhorts, “Slow down; know that all this is for you.”

Vesting for Good Friday also demands a slow, drawn-out pace. My cassock has 30 buttons, one for each of the years of the life of Christ when He began His ministry. I don’t usually button them all. On Good Friday, I do. And it takes quite a while. Slow down. Consider our Lord’s suffering.

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