Friday 2 April 2021

Good Friday traditions upheld

Remembering the times

At church earlier today, it dawned on me that I probably have never attended a Good Friday service. In the Netherlands, Good Friday is usually not a holiday, though the Monday after Easter is. Thinking of Nigeria, the only observance I can recall was we did not eat meats at home on Good Friday, only fish. The only day of the Passion weekend we celebrated was Easter Sunday.

As I sat in church, at one point the dean of the cathedral born a large cross that he walked down the aisle to the altar where the cross was set up and a mallet was used to knock it into place. The sound of the hitting was quite impactful almost like hearing the nails being hammered into the palms and the feet of the Lord as narrated in the gospels.

Traditions holding firm

Again, there was no sermon as the readings were long enough to pass for a sermon itself. There were a few familiar hymns sung by the lay clerics along with Latin recitations which had accompanying English translations. During Communion, an African American spiritual was sung which had none of the inflections or stirrings of African American spirituals, yet, a very good rendition, all the same.

At the end of the service, the clergy walked to the back of the hall just under the tower and as the last hymn was concluded, the doors were slammed shut, signifying the closing of the tomb. All the symbolism and back at home, I had a slow-cooked fish curry bubbling away. I think, in terms of celebration, I have upheld to an extent the traditions of old.

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