Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, April 15, Morning – Good Friday

Rev. Catherine Nance, Senior Pastor

Sitting in Silence

Read: Psalm 62:1-2

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.”

It is Good Friday.

We focus on darkness. Stillness. Silence.

I am thinking back to last year’s Tenebrae Service held in our nave at noon.

We had just started regathering and there was no singing. There was not a lot of movement.

We did have organ and harp music at a few places in the service, but there was no singing. No unison reading of Psalm 22, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

The service was arranged so that there was not the usual recession of altar and chancel items out of the nave; instead, objects were draped in black at the end. Clergy and acolytes took their time being careful not to pass each other; keeping our distance. It took a little longer. There was more time for silence.

Planning Good Friday services for so many years, I was accustomed to the lump that forms in my throat, the tightness in my chest, and stinging in my eyes as we sing, Were You There, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, and What Wondrous Love.

Last year, it was different.

There was something powerful as the few of us gathered there sat in silence. Instead of turning in the hymnal to find words or seeking solace in a familiar tune, I was left to focus on the silence. I found myself listening to the words that were spoken instead of moving ahead to the hymn; the sounds of the scripture lingered in my imagination after each reading…

  • the sound of a sword being placed back in its sheath;
  • the difference in sounds between soldiers marching, bystanders scurrying, and disciples stumbling;
  • the creaking of that gate that opened and closed;
  • the sound of hands rubbing together over a fire;
  • the quiet strain of folks leaning in to hear what is being spoken inside;
  • the excited murmuring of a crowd eager to see what is happening
  • the hush of unspoken words

On this Good Friday, I am thinking of an Advent hymn, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. I invite you to spend time reading the passion narrative aloud and then pausing from time to time to be quiet. Just be quiet. Listen.


O God whose voice brought forth creation, may I be quiet today and listen. Help me pay attention to the sounds around me and to listen for you. In the silence of Good Friday, I seek your voice. Amen.

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