Friday, 22 April 2011

Ways of meaning on Good Friday

In German it's called Karfreitag - "Kar" it would seem is derived from an old-high-German word "chara", which means complaint, misery or mourning, so "grief Friday" or "grieving Friday". I can almost hear the keening or the lament in "chara". In English we call it Good Friday - good also has the meaning of "pious" or "holy". In Norwegian it's called Langfredag - long Friday, perhaps because of the unbearable time spent watching and waiting for death, or perhaps just the long time spent in church services in centuries gone by ... In French the day is called vendredi saint - holy Friday...
These bits and pieces of meaning and translation all contribute to my sense
of this day in the Christian calendar. In addition there are the memories of other Good Fridays, of my father carrying the cross on the walk of witness into the town centre in the year that he was mayor, of my mother playing passion chorals on the violin, of preaching, of praying, of music and silence. And of Hans Ruedi Weber's book "On a Friday Noon", given to me for my 18th birthday. Christ's generous suffering and death speaks of so many other deaths, due to human violence and intolerance ... have we learnt from the passion story, have I learnt? Was I there when they crucified my Lord? ... well no, but in many ways I am still there for he is still being crucified, raped, violated, stoned, strung up today.