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April 14, 2006

Good Friday Liturgy

In a little over two hours time I will be taking part in one of the Church's most moving liturgical services. The Solemn Liturgy for Good Friday in which the veiled Crucifix is carried into the Church by a Deacon who makes four "station" as he (or she) travels from the West End to the head of the nave. At each station a part of the veil is withdrawn slowly revealing the cross and the figure suspended on it. At each station the Deacon chants "Behold the wood of the Cross, on which hung the Saviour of the World."

When the crucifix reaches the head of the Nave it is placed on a Priex Dieu and the President, Deacon, Sub Deacon and Servers kneel before it, kissing the foot of the cross in penitence and thanks giving for the great sacrifice it represents. The congregation follow while the choir sings a series of penitential psalms - almost every person who takes part in this liturgical act of worship is deeply moved by it. I can certainly say that it is one service of praise and worship which always leaves me in a spiritual state of grace tinged with sorrow, yet uplifted in a way I cannot describe adequately. Two years ago it fell to me to carry the crucifix from this position into the Quire for the choral clerks veneration and then to place it on the High Altar - it has left a permanent mark on my soul. I know exactly how Simon of Cyrene must have felt.

Once the Crucifix is placed on the altar, the consecrated elements of the Body and Blood are brought from the Lady Chapel and the congregation receive communion standing before the Cross. Then everyone leaves the sanctuary and Quire - scattering and without ceremony, just as the frightened disciples did on that very first Good Friday.

Worth pondering as we mark this solemn day.

Posted by The Gray Monk at April 14, 2006 06:33 AM

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