This year, since Easter is so early (the earliest it's been since 1817 my mother-in-law told me) it may be the first year ever I don't attend church on Good Friday. I hope that doesn't happen, but there's a winter storm warning, and 8-9 inches of snow is headed our way. A white Easter!
If indeed we are able to go to church, it will be similar to probably many services around the country and the world. There will be a processional with the cross. We will sing Good Friday hymns. There will be the lighting of the candles. We will read through the crucifixion account. We will take Communion. The bell will toll thirty-three times, for Jesus' life here on Earth. Tears will be shed. The candles will be extinguished. The cross will be draped in black as well as the communion table covered in black. We will all exit the church in total darkness and complete silence.
(from "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe")
A howl and a gibber of dismay went up from the creatures when they first saw the great Lion pacing towards them, and for a moment the Witch herself seemed to be struck with fear. Then she recovered herself and gave a wild, fierce laugh.
"The fool!" she cried. "The fool has come. Bind him fast."
They rolled the huge Lion round on his back and tied all his four paws together, shouting and cheering as if they had done something brave, though, had the Lion chosen, one of those paws could have been the death of them all.
And they surged round Aslan jeering at him saying things like "How many mice have you caught today, Cat?" Everyone was at him now. Those who had been afraid to come near him even after he was bound began to find their courage, and for a few minutes the two girls could not even see him--so thickly was he surrounded by the whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him.
The Witch bared her arms and began to whet her knife. At last she drew near. She stood by Aslan's head. Her face was working and twitching with passion, but his looked up at the sky, still quiet, neither angry nor afraid, but a little sad. Then, just before she gave the blow, she stooped down and said in a quivering voice, "and now, who has won? Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human traitor? Now I will kill you instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magic will be appeased. But when you are dead what will prevent me from killing him as well? And who will take him out of my hand then? Understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die."
The children did not see the actual moment of the killing. They couldn't bear to look and had covered their eyes.
(from The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones)
"So you're a king, are you?" the Roman soldiers jeered. "Then you'll need a crown and a robe." They gave Jesus a crown made out of thorns. And put a purple robe on Him. And pretended to bow down to Him. "Your Majesty!" they said. Then they whipped Him. And spat on Him. They didn't understand that this was the Prince of Life, the King of heaven and earth, who had come to rescue them. The soldiers made Him a sign--"Our King"--and nailed it to a wooden cross.
They walked up a hill outside the city. Jesus carried the cross on his back. Jesus had never done anything wrong. But they were going to kill Him the way criminals were killed. They nailed Jesus to the cross. "Father, forgive them," Jesus gasped. "they don't understand what they're doing."
"Papa?" Jesus cried, frantically searching the sky. "Papa? Where are you? Don't leave me!" And for the first time--and the last--when He spoke, nothing happened. Just a horrible, endless silence. God didn't answer. He turned away from his Boy.
Tears rolled down Jesus' face. The face of the One who would wipe away every tear from every eye. Even though it was midday, a dreadful darkness covered the face of the world. The sun could not shine. The earth trembled and quaked. Until it seemed that the whole world would break. That creation itself would tear apart.
The full force of the storm of God's fierce anger at sin was coming down. On his own Son. instead of his people.
Then Jesus shouted out in a loud voice, "It is finished!"
And it was. He had done it. Jesus had rescued the whole world. "Father!" Jesus cried. "I give you my life." And with a great sign He let Himself die.
Jesus' friends gently carried Jesus and laid Him in a new tomb. How could Jesus die? What had gone wrong? What did it mean? They didn't know anything anymore. Except they did know their hearts were breaking.
"That's the end of Jesus," the leaders said. But, just to be sure, they sent strong soldiers to guard the tomb. They hauled a huge stone in front of the door to the tomb. So that no one could get in.
Or as James Macdonald says, "Yeah, we'll see about that. Hey, don't read ahead!"
A very, VERY Good Friday to all...