Good Friday has always seemed to me the epitome of living in a post-Christian world. Less so today, perhaps, because we had such a dreich day here in the West, with hill fog that occasionally came down over the town sufficiently to bring us some drizzle; I've seen me go into the main street or the promenade and find it hoaching with visitors eating ice cream while I've been in a silent church with all its normal furnishings stripped away for the Passion.
I actually found it very hard to get going today - we were late last night after not getting home till 10.45 pm and then not going to bed till a rather unearthly hour. Then I couldn't sleep, partly, I think, because my rhythm tends to be to sleep lightly around 2am so if I'm still awake then I have to wait ages to ... Oh, never mind. I was tired today. At least I didn't feel as bad as yesterday, though the nausea/aches returned slightly around teatime. Before that, I realised that what I'd scribbled in a notebook beside my bed was the bones of a new poem, so I was able to work on it and produce something that pleased me. That silent meditation in the dark of Maundy Thursday has produced several poems over the years; it's a relief to realise I can still write one when the need arises.
The photo shows the bare sanctuary of the church at the end of the Good Friday service this afternoon. The large cross was carried up the church as part of the service and thumped down into its holder before being draped in red and hung with a crown of thorns. With all that's going on in the world just now, all the misery and all the evil, it's a powerful symbol that never loses its force.
After the service Himself and I and another musician stayed behind to rehearse for Sunday as well as for my part in tomorrow's service. When we got home I gritted my teeth and went down the road for a prescription before putting on the sloppiest, comfiest clothes I possess and doing some Italian online while Himself made the curry.
I don't know if any of you saw the programme "The Pilgrimage" on BBC 2 tonight, but if you did you might be interested to know that Father Simon, who conducted a Eucharist for the pilgrims in St Columba's Cave, is a friend who is every bit as magnificent as he appeared in the programme. Not, of course, that I would ever tell him that ...
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