Thank God it’s Friday!
Collect for the Day:Almighty and most merciful Father; we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare though them, O God, which confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy holy name. Amen (The General Confession from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer)
As I knelt with my brother priests, Frs. Theron and Todd, after having just stripped the altar for Maundy Thursday Mass, it hit me… Like a ton of bricks: TGIF!
I assure you that I wasn’t thinking about a restaurant, nor proclaiming relief after a hard day’s work, I was simply contemplating my own sinfulness. And, I was thankful that tomorrow, Good Friday, over 2000 years ago, Christ would die in my stead for my sins.
You see, if Friday hadn’t come than the glorious resurrection of my Lord would not have occurred… And, my sins would remain. Not that I was concerned about punishment, but like for one of the dear priests next to me who collapsed with despair and began weeping and pounding the floor boards in front of that exposed altar we had just laid bare—sin’s remembrance hurts.
It hurts very deeply to remember offenses, particularly against the ones we love… To see their faces as we kneel, unclothed of vestments and exposed as priests in the dark… Contemplating “the devices and desires of our own hearts”; it is then that we, too, see our lover’s face as He is pleading with us to stay awake but one hour before being betrayed, beaten, and crucified.
You see, one requires companionship as he or she is about to die. No less Christ. And so, as biblically promised, where two or three have assembled in His name, He was among us. We three priests felt His presence as authentically as we experienced our own. He was there in the sanctuary of St-Philip-in-the-Field, having mercy on three “miserable offenders”—whom He spared and restored. And, when we stood and walked out of that church through the front door—wiping the tears from our eyes—I whispered, “Thank God it’s Friday.”