Sunday, April 1, 2012

For a good Good Friday 2012

This Sunday, I'm thinking about Friday. Last year, I recommended as much silence as possible for Good Friday. It's still a good plan to have a quiet day (we have a no computers/TV rule), but this year, I'd like to invite you to participate in my favourite Good Friday reflections.

Invitation #1: At 10 a.m., you're invited to gather with a good-sized crowd, rain or shine, outside of Hope Mission (9908-106 Avenue) to participate in the 32nd Annual Outdoor Way of the Cross. It's an ecumenical prayer event commemorating the suffering and death of Jesus, that offers time to notice how the gospel values of Jesus are important to individual and social life today (I'm plagiarizing from the advertizing and throwing in my own comments as well, but I suspect this is a case where the organizers won't mind being plagiarized). People of all faith traditions are warmly welcome. The walk begins and ends at the same location, and participants are advised to dress for the weather (I'll add a few exclamation marks to that last statement)!!! It's not a strenuous walk, as our L'Arche Edmonton community, including those in wheelchairs, participate every year -- the picture above shows one of my L'Arche friends closest to the camera. This year, we're particularly excited because we get to present Station 5, which focuses on Homelessness. I'm looking forward to participating in the music group, too.

The full walk takes about two hours, and there is fellowship with refreshments after the final station. Donations of non-perishable food and toiletry items are welcomed. As much as I appreciate church services on Good Friday, I appreciate this even more, because there's something really powerful about walking in the inner city in solidarity with the brothers and sisters there, reflecting on what we are called to  as Christians, and re-enacting Christ's walk to Calvary. Many of our inner-city brothers and sisters join us as we reflect on Christ's words in the 25th chapter of Matthew's Gospel, bringing his words to life:
" Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you? Or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?"
And the King will answer them, "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me." 
Invitation #2: You're invited to Good Friday Taizé Prayer Around the Cross, at 7:30 p.m. at Providence Renewal Centre (3005-119 Street). It's a beautiful hour of meditative scripture-based song that centers on a simple wooden cross.

If you're in the neighbourhood, please come to either or both of these events. The reason I love them so much is because they gather Christians from every denomination together to remember what is common to us all... Jesus, who set us free by leading us to new life! Laudate omnes gentes, laudate Dominum! Sing praises, all you peoples, sing praises to the Lord!

If you're nowhere near Edmonton, I'd love to hear about your own meaningful ways to mark Good Friday wherever you are.

Have a blessed Holy Week.

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