Entries tagged with “Good Friday”.

For your reflection this Maundy Thursday:

To the Garden of Gethsemane

To the Garden of Gethsemane
Follow now the Lord and his disciples.
See him in the throes of agony
As the cords of death about him tangle.
Think upon this mystery:
The pain he feels, he feels for thee.

Here, as pow’rs of darkness him surround,
Hear his double prayer to God for mercy.
See him on his face fall to the ground,
Crying, “Take this cup of anguish from me!”
Watch his sweat drip down like blood,
First trickle of the coming flood.

Yet, though overwhelmed in his distress,
Still submits he to the purpose divine.
Hear him to his Father acquiesce,
Praying, “Let thy will be done and not mine.”
In response, God’s angel nears
And gives him strength to meet his fears.

Now the traitor springs and love profanes;
Comes by night to do his master’s mission.
This is now the hour when darkness reigns –
Now, when rightful king falls to sedition.
Hear the ancient serpent’s hiss!
Oh, see the strike beneath the kiss.

Maundy Thursday, 2011
Mathew Block


I’ve posted the words to this one online before, but this is the first recording I’ve uploaded.

Today is Good Friday, the day God died for sinful humanity. It should be a day for prayer and meditation solely; but you know as well as I many people will barely notice. So it was also in John Donne’s day: people found themselves, as they have throughout history, driven along by pleasure or business rather than the needs of the soul. Indeed, John Donne himself spent part of Good Friday , 1613, travelling. And while so doing, he wrote this poem.

Listen to me give a reading of the poem, and follow along with the text below.

Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward

Let man’s soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motions, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey:
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirled by it.

Hence is’t, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul’s form bends toward the east.
There I should see a sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget;
But that Christ on this Cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.

Yet dare I’ almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees God’s face, that is self life, must die;
What a death were it then to see God die?
It made his own lieutenant Nature shrink,
It made his footstool crack, and the sun wink.

Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height which is
Zenith to us and to’our antipodes,
Humbled below us? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our souls, if not of his,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragged, and torn?

If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On his miserable mother cast mine eye,
Who was God’s partner here, and furnished thus
Half of that sacrifice, which ransomed us?

Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,
They are present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them; and thou look’st towards me,
O Saviour, as thou hang’st upon the tree;
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid Thee leave.

O think me worth thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity,
Restore thine image, so much, by thy grace,
That thou mayst know me, and I’ll turn my face.


For your meditation this Good Friday: the 15th Antiphon for Holy Thursday as sung by Orthodox chanter Fr. Apostolos Hill.

This Wednesday (for those of us who still remember such days) marks the beginning of Lent: forty days spent in repentance before Easter – (the forty days do not include Sundays as they remind us of Easter and are celebrations of the resurrection of Christ). Lent is a period of fasting, of meditation, and of self-reflection. It is an opportunity to search our hearts and consider that it was our own sin which drove Christ to the cross. As such, it is a period of immense gravity.

The number forty has often been the duration of time God sets for important periods of cleansing and preparation. The rain fell forty days and nights to wash away the world’s filth during the time of Noah. Moses remained on the Mountain of God forty days to receive the Law from the LORD. Even Jesus Himself was led into the wilderness to be tested forty days by Satan, an important preparation for the greatest struggle He would later face: His crucifixion. Reflecting on these types of events, we set aside forty days each calendar year and think of our own need for cleansing. And we prepare ourselves for the memorial of how that cleansing came. That is to say, we look forward to our bitter-sweet Good Friday.

Today is Ash Wednesday. In biblical times, people, when they recognized their sin and repented, would put on sackcloth and sprinkle ashes upon themselves. It is a sign of contrition and brokenness before God. In some liturgical churches, this practice is symbolically invoked today. After spending time in personal reflection, congregants each receive ashes in the shape of the cross on their foreheads. It is an act of both individual and corporate confession.

Traditionally, the ashes were the remains of branches waved at Palm Sunday the Church-year previous. It is a solemn reminder that, while we praise God with our lips, shouting, “Hosanna to the King,” too often we deny him with our lives; our praises turn to bloodthirsty cries of “Crucify!” Truly, “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

And so we wear the ashes, symbol of our repentance. Yet we do not remain entirely forsaken. The ashes, as has been said, are applied in the shape of a cross. In the midst of our deep contrition, we recognize that forgiveness has been bestowed upon us. But at what cost! The Son of God slain – for thirty pieces of silver! And it was I who did it. It was you who did it. It was each of us who nailed His precious hands down, and it was each of us who forced the barbarous thorns into His beautiful head. Yet, in love, He called out for us, calls out for us even now, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

It is this forgiveness we seek during Lent. We know our sins. And so we watch, we wait, and we prepare for the day of remembrance, trusting in the blood of our Passover Lamb. So may this be our attitude throughout this Lenten season.


Almighty and everlasting God, who hates nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthy lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; though Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect for Ash Wednesday
The Book of Common Prayer