Skip to comments.How Christians Have Honored Good Friday For Centuries
Posted on 04/02/2021 8:18:39 AM PDT by Kaslin
Good Friday—a holiday in just 10 states—is celebrated by most Christian denominations, with fasting and somber worship services that often end in silence.
Before Christians joyously celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, they first must make a gruesome stop at a hill called Calvary. Two days before the trumpets sound, and churches—many opening for the first time in a year—fill their sanctuaries with lilies, dogwood, and alleluias, we first must witness the hideous trial of the sinless Lord, the bloody brutal scourging by Roman soldiers and his anguishing suffering and suffocating death on the cross, a day called “Good Friday.”
The origin of the name “good” for such a grim and grisly day is unknown, but the earliest use of “guode Friday” is in a text from around 1290, according to the Oxford English dictionary. Some say it comes from the use of “good” as an adjective, an Old English synonym for “holy,” while other sources see its origins in the term “God’s Friday,” or Gottes Freitag, or Gute Freitag.
The Baltimore Catechism, the standard U.S. Catholic school text from 1885 to the 1960s, calls Good Friday good because of its salvific nature: Christ “showed His great love for man and purchased for him every blessing.”
Good Friday—a holiday in just 10 states—is celebrated by most Christian denominations, with fasting and somber worship services that often end in silence. The liturgy of Good Friday generally consists of the reading of the Passion narrative and in some churches, adoration of the cross. Many Catholic churches follow the Stations of the Cross, a 14-station devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man.
Dating to the ninth century, Tenebrae is one of the oldest traditions in the Christian church for the commemoration of the passion and death of Christ. From Latin, Tenebrae can be translated as “shadows,” “darkness,” “death,” or “night.”
Through scripture readings and hymns, the story of Christ’s betrayal, trial, and crucifixion is told. As the Passion story unfolds, candles are extinguished, until the death of Christ, when only one light is left burning. This light is removed from the sanctuary, symbolizing Christ’s death and entombment.
In the 17th century, a three-hour service, a meditation on Jesus’ “Seven Last Words on the Cross,” was introduced into the Catholic liturgy, and is celebrated today across Christian traditions and in Eastern Orthodox churches. According to the Gospels, Jesus was tried before the Jewish and Roman courts at daybreak, then led to Golgotha, where He was nailed to the cross at the third hour (9 a.m.). At noon, darkness covered the earth for three hours, and Jesus died at the ninth hour (3 p.m.)
The seven last words of Christ are recorded in the four Gospels. Of those standing mocking and cursing him, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). To the confessing criminal on the cross next to him, He said, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
To his mother Mary and disciple John standing at the foot of the cross, He said, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother” (John 19:26-27). To his Father, using the words of Psalm 22, He said, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”—that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34).
In those last seven words, He also said, “I am thirsty” (John 19:28); “It is finished” (John 19:30); and finally, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When He had said this, He breathed his last (Luke 23:46).
There was an earthquake, tombs broke open, and the curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. The centurion on guard at the cross declared, “Truly this was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:45-54). Jesus’s body was removed from the cross and laid in a tomb.
On Good Friday, we also read of the disciples who followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem and then to Calvary, who witnessed his suffering and heard his last words. Matthew writes that “many women” were at the foot of the cross. He names Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Matthew 27:55–56). Mark adds Salome to the list (Mark 15:40), and John mentions Mary, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, as well as Mary Magdalene (John 19:25).
John was the only male disciple mentioned who was at the crucifixion. Judas had betrayed him, Peter had denied him. The others had fled.
Recognizing the grievous agony of the crucifixion, hymnwriters through the ages have found words and music to express the sorrow of sin-sick souls for whom Christ suffered and died. In worship, and at home, these hymns offer opportunities for quiet meditation and prayer.
“O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown!” “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” is attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1153), translated into German by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676, a great hymnist of the church, with harmony by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Praise to the Lamb of God! Jesus the righteous.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
The Orthodox Church does not serve a "Seven Last Words" service as such, which, as the author points out, is a post-schism, post-Reformation innovation.
The Orthodox Church serves the Royal Hours of Good Friday on Good Friday morning, and the "Unnailing" Vespers at 3 PM Good Friday afternoon.
Over the course of those two services the Passion chapters of all four Gospels are read, and in that sense and that sense only the "Seven Last Words" are proclaimed.
Orthodox Good Friday will be on April 30 this year.
Anyone notice how Google’s main page has *nothing* for Good Friday?
Because of the way that the Orthodox Church schedules Holy Week services, the Matins of Holy Friday are served on Thursday night.
This service features the Twelve Gospel lessons, all of which are accounts of the Passion of Christ.
Yes, Orthodox Holy Friday will be on April 30 this year, and Pascha on May 2.
Glory be to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!!!!
Aye, between the Matins of the Twelve Passion Gospels, the Royal Hours, and the Unnailing we hear each of the Seven Last Words twice, possibly thrice.
The Good Friday service is my favorite.
1. Father Forgive (forgave - aorist) them
2. To one of the thieves who changed - this day with Me
3. To the World - The veil to the Holy of Holies is Opened
Before it’s even needed
Immediate when it happens
The Way is Opened for All
I would be more than mildly surprised if Google tweaked anything to reflect Good Friday. Even if they did, it would be a perversion of some sort. They certainly have opportunity in the first three letters.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.