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April 9, 2020

"Tangible Resurrection: Good Friday"

[April 9, 2020] This video is the fourth part in a Holy Week video mini-series from the Rt. Rev. David Reed, Bishop of West Texas. In "Tangible Resurrection: Keeping Holy Week in a Time of Distance," Bishop Reed reflects on the spiritual richness of walking the road to Jerusalem with Jesus during a Holy Week marked by physical distance.

Bishop Reed shares in his fourth video, "Long, long ago, it seems almost in a previous life, we were at Ash Wednesday, the beginning of our Lenten Pilgrimage, a pilgrimage that has turned out to be like no other that any of us can recall. And yet we have made this pilgrimage together. We have journeyed; even physically separated, we have kept season in ways that probably many of us have not kept it before. I wanted to take us back there and remember some of the words that we prayed in the litany on Ash Wednesday, where we opened ourselves to God and confessed our sins.

"We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, our anger at our own frustration, our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, our negligence in prayer and worship," and so, on and on, being confronted with our shortcomings, with our brokenness, with our sin, with our rebellious sides. And yet, we're invited in onto this pilgrimage, trusting in the goodness and the grace and the love and the comfort and mercy of Christ whom we follow.

And we have kept this season, and now we're at the end, we're at the strangely named Good Friday, where we're given really nothing to do, except to consider the mystery of God's eternal love and the death of his son, to consider the depths of the love of God to reclaim us, for us to know his love for us as his children. And as we have moved to this point, been busy getting used to new ways of doing things, this day brings us to a still point. There's nothing for us to do.

Except to sit, and consider and contemplate, to pray and give thanks, to consider why this death, for us and for the world, is good.

When I was growing up, all the way through most of my years as a parish priest, the three-hour vigil of Good Friday was fairly common to hear, the seven last words of Jesus from the cross, spread over the three hours that he is believed to have hung on the cross. To gather in church and to consider that horror, and that mystery, that awful combining together of the best that humankind can offer, politics and religion, and how they conspired to kill Jesus.

But there's nothing for us to do, except to bear witness, to keep vigil. And whether you sit for three hours or for thirty minutes, I encourage you to take hold of this mystery, to take hold of the love and to hear the passion of our Lord, according to Saint John, to pray the prayers from the Prayer Book for Good Friday, to keep this vigil, to keep moving on this journey toward the heart of the mystery of God.

I wanted to conclude with a poem by the Welsh poet, R.S. Thomas called "The Coming."

And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.
On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.

And so, on this Good Friday we come to the place, spiritually. We come to the place to sit, to wait, trusting that the Son has come to us.

Proper Liturgies for Special Days are found in the Book of Common Prayer beginning on pages 264, with the Ash Wednesday, Litany of Penitence on pages 267-268 and the liturgy for Good Friday on pages 276-282.

"Tangible Resurrection" premiered Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 on diocesan social media accounts and blog.

Episodes will be released for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, with the following schedule:

Part 1: Introduction & Invitation - Thursday, April 2nd
Part 2: Palm Sunday - Friday, April 3rd
Part 3: Maundy Thursday - Tuesday, April 7th
Part 4: Good Friday - Thursday, April 9th
Part 5: Easter Sunday - Saturday, April 11th

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