Friday, April 10, 2020

A very different Good Friday

Because of the coronavirus, we have just come through the most unusual Lent I can remember -- a time when not only Christians, but people of all faiths have been asked to give up many things. And now we have reached the Triduum, the three holy days marking the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

How do we carry it through?

For me, Easter weekend has always been one of the busiest weekends of the year because I am usually up to my eyeballs in liturgical music for the season. But this year, even our churches are closed, and Alberta Health Services and the provincial government have outlawed gatherings of more than 5, or just those who live together in one household. So I won't be gathering with friends to sing the solemn songs of Good Friday, lead Taizé Prayer Around the Cross, or participate in our joyful Easter Vigil choir. Heavy sigh.

Really, it's a small price to pay for preserving the health of people, particularly those on the front lines during this pandemic. But I will miss all the Triduum singing, and the people with whom I so enjoy making music of solemnity and celebration.

Fortunately, many Good Friday events will be happening online. A couple of dear priest friends will be livestreamed saying mass from their parishes in Sherwood Park and St. John's NL, the brothers of Taizé will hold their Prayer Around the Cross on their hillside in France, and the Edmonton Outdoor Way of the Cross, which celebrates its 40th year, has been pre-recorded using appropriate social-distancing protocols and is now posted online for participants to enjoy. Even if you've never walked with Good Friday crowds in Edmonton's inner city, I would encourage you to take your faith to the streets listen to the message of this walk... This video goes live at 10 am on April 10th, the time the walk is usually scheduled.

One thing is certain... there will never be another Triduum quite like this one. May it move us to a deeper solidarity with all those who are struggling, and motivate us to be the hands and feet and heart of God on earth.

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