A strange chapter of accidents means this is the first Good Friday in years I will not be in church. Idiocy and poor planning and other accidents. But there you go.
So, after the heart wrenching grandeur and demands and sorrow of last night’s service at St Mary’s, and the very real sense of being part of the living church – today is about how to keep this day alone.
And maybe that is fitting.
Jesus’s woman followers stood together, watching his death. Less at risk of capture by the authorities of course, because what can women do? Not even reliable witnesses, not under Jewish law. Just as today we find it hard to believe the words of abused children. So they were free to be together, some of them, and dear knows what kind of support you give to each other as you watch somebody so so dear to your heart tortured to death. And John – not the apostle John, but a younger man with the same commonly given name. He must have been young enough not to be a real threat. He was with them, or perhaps Mary and he and a few of her closer friends and female relatives were together, apart, nearer the cross.
The others scattered, afraid and ashamed. As we so often are.
And today, we, men and women, are sometimes together, watching, helpless as Christ again suffers in the oppressed and powerless, and sometimes in horrible isolation. And, man or woman, both will at times be our experience.
So, I hope it is not unfitting if I largely keep this terrible day, this awe-ful day largely apart from my fellow Christians.
For keep it I will. Not quite in silence (life demands some speech) but much of it so. And I plan to spend time in a kind-of company. I am fortunate that my bibles have been gifts. My NEB from my father, my NRSV from a life long friend, and my endlessly-useful parallel Greek/English from another dear, dear friend. I always feel as though I read these bibles in company. I hope to spend most of the time from 12 to 2 in prayer, of one kind or another, and the last hour, which is a heavy burden alone, reading in just that invisible company. And in the company of weeping angels.
In spite of that, we call this Friday, Good.