Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday gospel musings

We've just returned from the Good Friday service here in Ferney.

It was very simply and Reformed, we listened to the whole of the passion narrative in Matthew's gospel, celebrating communion at the beginning of the service as this is where the narrative of the institution comes in the passion story. There was wonderful organ music and the congregation made a good attempt at singing various Bach chorales.
I am always very stimulated through listening to any longer public reading or recitation of the Bible. There are always bits I'd forgotten about, parts that strike me with renewed force, things my mind dwells on. I realised immediately that given Peter's tears as the cock crows he is the first to show remorse and guilt - even before Judas - despite my too hasty off the cuff judgement yesterday.
Tonight I was very struck by the "Many women, watching from far off, who had followed him from Galilee" in the crucifixion scene but also by the two Joseph's who somehow bear earthly Christ at the beginning and end of Matthew's gospel - the earthly father willing to take on the strangely, wondrously pregnant Mary, then the wealthy man willing to give his tomb for one who has been put to death as a criminal. The Joseph at the beginning of the gospel dreams dreams that protect the coming and then newly born child, but in the passion narrative it is Pilate's wife who dreams to try to encourage her husband to take this unknown Jesus with some seriousness - this is what triggers his public handwashing.
Dr Brown meanwhile had been dwelling on the seeming contradiction or juxtaposition of verses 29 "I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom."and verse 32 "But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee." in chapter 26. The first would seem to be more of an eschatological promise but the second promise seems to be of a rather different order. What might it all mean??
Ah well, we came up with no answers but we did have an almost interesting exegetical discussion was had over our salmon supper.