Friday, April 02, 2010

The Good Friday Feel

I've found a few days of the year have "a feel" to them. By a feel, I mean they don't "feel" like any other ordinary day. They have "a" feel, distinct from any other.

When I was younger, my birthday had a feel to it, but it seems to have lost it as I've grown older. Christmas always has had one, but not as strong a one as it did when I was younger.

As time has passed, the opposite has become true for Good Friday and Easter. Their feels have become stronger. Actually more so for Easter. Good Friday has always had a strong feel to me, even when I was a kid. Maybe it's because it was a school holiday, but there was always a sense of there being something different about this day.

Anyway, I feel it again today. Maybe it's attributable to the familiarity of Holy Week itself that creates this heightened sense of awareness, which carries through the whole weekend. Must be something like that.

If so, then I think the hymns have a lot to do with it. There are definitely a set of hymns that come out this week, from Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and, of course, Easter.

Including my own favorite, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, LW #241. Seems like we always sing it Thursday. Hence, the feel of Good Friday.

"Let all mortal flesh keep silence
And with fear and trembling stand;

Ponder nothing earthly minded,

For with blessing in his hand

Christ our God to earth descending

Comes our homage to demand.

King of kings yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
In the body and the blood,
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads it vanguard on the way
As the Light of Light, descending
From the realms of endless day,
Comes the powers of hell to vanquish
As the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,

Veil their faces to the presence

As with ceaseless voice they cry:

'Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, Lord Most High!'"

Here's a particularly beautiful rendition from St. Peter's Catholic Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Thanks again, YouTube.