New Song (Good) Friday

It seems a little too sunny here in London for a Good Friday – hard to mourn in this brilliance.  But perhaps that too is a grace of God reminding us that this is not the last chapter of the story.

Many of us will be off to some type of service today; playing, singing, mourning, worshipping, and, above all, remembering.  Remembering is the thing today: that Jesus died, why Jesus died, our role in this death, …

This day is the centre of the Christian faith; love, judgment, salvation, and glory all come together in what was supposed to be just another execution.  Leave it to God to yet again (still) be about redemption!  But on this day I find it helpful to not get to resurrection too quickly.  I imagine myself as one of Jesus’ followers.  None of the grandeur, even beauty, of the Cross is in evidence yet.  I have no idea that anything is going on apart from yet another act of brutality by the Romans.  I’ve been following him for years and then, today, in his death all my hopes and dreams died too.

This is the experience out of which today’s song comes.  It’s an old hymn from the African-American community.  The first version is by Mary Price.  This isn’t the oldest recording here but it is the one with a lyric and probably reflects a much older hymn on which Blind Willie Johnson’s meditation is based.  Blind Willie’s version of this song is perhaps his most famous song – it was even included on the Voyager spacecraft as one of humankind’s great musical achievements alongside Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.  It is this version that is then interpreted by Marc Ribot and chamber group, the Kronos Quartet.  My hope is that this song, in whichever version, can be a help in remembering.

Dark Was the Night – Mary Price

Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground – Blind Willie Johnson

Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground – Marc Ribot

Dark Was The Night – Kronos Quartet

A blessed Good Friday to you.

Stay tuned for Sunday morning.

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