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Good Friday 2010

2 April 2010

We went to the morning service at St Nicholas in Brixton. This year Good Friday is a public holiday, as it coincides with Western Good Friday, and the advantage of that is that there is less traffic, and the drive to Johannesburg isn’t as nerve-wracking, though it was raining most of the day. Most years our Holy Week falls after the Western one, and so Good Friday is a normal working day, and the traffic is terrible. Rather unusually, they will coincide for two years running — this year and next year.

The main theme of the service is the taking down from the cross. At the end of the composite gospel reading of the crucifixion, the priest and servers take tyhe body from the cross, wrap it in a white cloth and place it in the altar. Then a little later the epitaphios (winding sheet) is brought out and placed on a table decorated with flowers.

The hymns we sing include:

v: The Lord is King; He is robed in majesty!  (Ps 92/93:1)

When You, the Redeemer of all, were placed in a tomb
all Hell’s powers quaked in fear.
Its bars were broken, its gates were smashed.
Its mighty reign was brought to an end,
for the dead came forth alive from their tombs,
casting off the bonds of their captivity.
Adam was filled with joy!
He gratefully cried out to You, O Christ://
“Glory to Your condescension, O Lover of man!”

v: He has established the world so that it shall never be moved. (Ps 92/93:1b)

In the flesh You were willingly enclosed in the tomb,
Who are boundless and infinite in Your divinity.
You closed the chambers of death, O Christ.
You emptied all the palaces of Hell.//
You honored this Sabbath with Your blessing, glory, and honor.

v: Holiness befits Your house, O Lord, forevermore.  (Ps 92/93:5)

The Powers of Heaven shook with fear,
when they saw Your ineffable forbearance.
They beheld You slandered by lawless men,
mocked as a deceiver by transgressors.
They beheld the stone that closed Your tomb,
sealed by the same hands that pierced Your side,
but they knew that Your death would be our life,
and joyfully they cried out to You, O Christ://
“Glory to Your condescension, O Lover of man!”

The EpitaphiosTonight we have the burial procession, where the epitaphios is carried around the block, with the whole congregation following in procession singing the lamentations — weather permitting.

St Nicholas Church, Brixton: Good Friday 2010

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