Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday and Easter Sunday

Larry and I went to a Tenebrae service, a Good Friday service, at a local Methodist church. The purpose of the service is to remember the death of Christ. During the service the lights are slowly lowered as the story of Christ's death is recounted. At the end of the crucifixion you are left in total darkness. Symbolizing the darkness of world at the death of Christ. I was reminded of the darkness of my own sin. The darkness in my heart that Christ took upon himself in my place. That great transaction when my sins were paid by an innocent Savior. I marvel at the depth of the Mercy and Grace God has bestowed to me through Jesus Christ!

Then we return on Sunday, Easter morning, in the full light of the Resurrection of Christ! This morning we gathered for a Sunrise service. We could not have asked for a more beautiful morning! We were blessed with wonderful weather, blossoming tress and flowers, birds singing and brothers and sisters in Christ rejoicing in the Resurrection of our Lord and RISEN Savior. The symbolism of death and new life surrounding us was displayed so well with the gravestones and spring blossoming. We were reminded that one day the dead will rise. Sickness and sin will no longer hold us back from worshipping the Lord in His fullness. It was an amazing day of worship!

In reflecting back over the Tenebrae service, I always find it interesting how other brothers and sisters in Christ celebrate and practice worship. I really enjoyed looking through the Methodist Hymnal while we waited for the service to start. It was full of great Theological teachings and services, responsive readings and Creeds. I found this teaching from John Wesley on the front page of their Hymnal and thought it so interesting. These are the words of John Wesley written in 1761:

I. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.

II. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.

III. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a single degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.

IV. Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan.

V. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

VI. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing to slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

VII. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

These words of wisdom can be appreciated as much today as they could have been in 1761.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter :)

No comments: