After yesterday’s abortive visit to a church for Maundy Thursday, I reconsidered by plans for Good Friday, today, and decided to not to attend any service.
Part of this comes from having no familiar church I attend. But the greater problem is the common rite, based on familiar readings. For my purpose, I’ll refer to the Revised Common Lectionary. I don’t have a problem with the Isaiah or Hebrew lections, or the Psalm. But the gospel reading — with its string of “the Jews” — always catches in my throat. In my last pastorate, I tended to swallow or elide over the usage. And in typical mainline fashion, I spent time apologizing for the passage or trying to explain it — John’s gospel speaks to a particular experience of the early church — but in worship it sticks in the throat. Preachers, do you know what I mean?
I have visited, dined with, talked to, debated with, worked with and befriended too many real live Jews to go there. And try to explain away the incongruity to people who aren’t already tied into these cycles of worship.
It’s getting late — but there have to be better options for Good Friday, not just for the readings, but also for the liturgy which can easily go grizzly or maudlin. And we have a year to respond.