The Good Friday service at our church was one of solemn reflection, on the passion of Jesus’ crucifixion, on concerns around the world, and on the state of our own lives.
The reflection was made more poignant with the musical performance of Benjamin Britten’s Canticle III and Edith Sitwell’s poem “Still Falls the Rain.” The poem was written after the London air raids in 1940 and has strong allusions to Christ’s Passion and human suffering. In 1954, Britten asked Sitwell for permission to set the poem to music. It was first performed in January, 1955.
On this Good Friday, it was performed by Mark Braun on piano, Seth Blank on French horn and the tenor voice of George Eisenhauer.
When Sitwell first heard her poem accompanied by Britten’s canticle, she wrote, “I am so haunted and and so alone with the wonderful music and its wonderful performance . . . I had no sleep at all on the night of the performance. And I can think of nothing else . . . It was certainly one of the greatest experiences in all my life as an artist.”
On this Good Friday, in our church, Canticle III with “Still Falls the Rain” also appeared to have had a profound impact on many who attended the service.
Good Friday at our church also included an all-day Labyrinth (prayer path) set up in the parking lot. The path was defined by grocery bags as a reminder of hunger throughout the world. The public was invited to walk through the path, taking a few moments for contemplative reflection and prayer.
A grocery cart was placed at the exit to the prayer path for anyone who wished to make donations of non-perishable food products for Judy’s Pantry, which operates out of our church.