Saturday, 11 April 2009


You can imagine it...but being part of it is totally different. That's what one of last night's congregation remarked on leaving a most moving drama of the Passion.

The church was in full light as we began the liturgy and gradually lights were turned off as the candles were extinguished one by one. At each point in the Passion Narrative where something terrible happens a candle is put out. After the penultimate hymn even the chancel lights were switched off and the church was in total darkness with only three candles remaining. As the story drew to the climax the last two "disciple" candles were snuffed and, finally, with the death of our Lord, even the Christ Candle was put out.

"This man was God's royal Son" brought the story to a conclusion and the organ struck up an earthquake rumble that reverberated throughout the building, shaking the pews and startling the congregation. In the silence that followed Isaiah's words "He was wounded for our transgressions..." proclaimed a note of confidence, assurance and hope while reminding us why it had happened.

A Cantor, unaccompanied in the darkness and stillness sang "Were you there when they crucified my Lord..." and the people joined softly as verse by verse we reflected on what we had just witnessed. Finally, "Were you there when God raised him from the dead..." began and the relit Christ Candle was brought forward to its place - the only tiny light in the dark. Such a tangible silence enveloped the gathering that no one wanted to move, or speak... Truly the Lord was in this place.

Eventually we had to go...but even in the street as people went to their cars...any conversations were being held in a whisper so as not to break the stillness.

Much blessing was poured out on God's people this week.

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