Good Friday - when the world is enjoying the sunshine, laughing, when children are playing and the schools are on holiday, when life is going on while, on a hill apart, a life is ending. I think it must always be thus, just as Auden said in Musée des Beaux Arts - suffering is always happening while everyone else just goes on with their affairs.
Holy Trinity church is perched on a hill - what our bishop calls "your impossible hill" - at the back of Dunoon, removed from the world in its own way. It seems a very suitable place for the remembering, the reliving of the Passion. Today's service of the last hour was one of the most affecting I've participated in, with moments of real tension when there was complete, absorbed silence.
One of these came when we turned to witness the bringing in of the cross. Depending on who was conducting the service, over the years, we've had various ways of doing this, from the low-key and formal to the dramatic, but today was different. Instead of the priest carrying a cross, a member of the congregation who happens to be a server but who was today in his ordinary clothes carried an almost life-size cross on his shoulder, bowed under it as in any art of film would depict, totally serious and committed to the moment. It was exceptionally powerful.
And as for my part in it, we were able to do something I've wanted to do for the past 45 years - sing the Reproaches by Victoria. I first sang them in Cumbrae perhaps 46 years ago, and never since, though the music is always in my head when the appropriate time in the service occurs. And then we all wandered out into the sunshine. Things had been done well, and now it was finished.
And life went on.