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Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday 2020

El Greco's Christ Carrying the Cross
From John Chapter 19 (KJV):

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him.  And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe...

...Pilate saith unto them, "Take ye Him, and crucify Him."...

...And they took Jesus, and led Him away. And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified Him, and two other with Him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.  Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, "Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews."  Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written."

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also His coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.  They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be": that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, "They parted My raiment among them, and for My vesture they did cast lots." These things therefore the soldiers did.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, "Woman, behold thy son!"  Then saith He to the disciple, "Behold thy mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her unto His own home.

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, "I thirst. " Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth.  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, "It is finished": and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost....

...Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

From Handel's Messiah (Isaiah 53:4-5, KJV)


  1. Thank you so much for these magnificent performances of two choruses from Messiah. John Eliot Gardiner conducting the Monteverdi Choir English Baroque Soloists has given a distinguished interpretation of great beauty to this familiar work.

    This particular choir has achieve a "Sound Ideal" second to none.

    I only wish And With His Stripes We Are Healed had not been cut off before the concluding passage which ends with "The Iniquity Of Us All."

    1. Franco,
      I see the matter of that phrase differently because the concept of Jesus dying and rising from the dead to redeem us from our sins central to the Christian faith i.e., He died for me.

      Without sin, I would have no need for a Redeemer.

      My 2 cents of theology for now.

    2. I was thinking primarily in MUSICAL terms, AOW. And With His Stripes is a FUGUE that ends with a HALF-CADENCE, and a half-cadence always implies a need for CONCLUSIVE material.

      Of course, in Messiah this half cadence creates a BRIDGE to All We Like Sheep, so I was WRONG –– and you were RIGHT–– about "The Iniquity of us all."

      I used to play that fugue as a organ solo back in the day (It sounds very convincing that way), but had to add a concluding cadence so the piece didn't sound cut off in mid-sentence.

      So I was both right nd wrong in what I said initially.

      By the way it borrowing, rearranging and improvising material was common practice in the Baroque Era. They ere n't nearly as strict as we about slavishly following the printed score exactly as written.

      Happy Birthday to Me (today is my 79th!), and HAPPY EASTER to YOU!

  2. Tomorrow I plan to present Messiah in its entirety at my blog. I discovered a sensational recording of a LIVE performance in French Abbey by a Hungarian Chorus. The quality is certainly on pr with Joyn Eliot gradiner's magnificent achievement, and in som ways seems even more passinate and full-blooded while maintaining the utmost refinement in tone and pinpoint accuracy in articulation of the meismatic (i.e. running) passages which exceeds any I've ever heard for sheer brilliance.

    May we all draw strength, courage, inspiration, joy –– and a large measure of humility –– from the magnificent music that so poignantly illuminates the meaning of Holy Week, and the miracle of Easter soon to come.

    1. I hope to be able to listen to at least some if that magnificent oratorio.

  3. Beautiful selections....and some of the more difficult to sing.... we struggled to do the Messiah justice in our small Moravian church choir.
    Good memories with the "Sing ins" done in the '70s at the Academy of Music in Phila..thousand or more in attendance....

  4. In reply to your comment to Franco, a thought for Good Friday:
    Jesus volunteered for the cross.
    He gave up his place in glory to come down here and die on that cross.
    What did He get out of the deal?
    Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame,
    What did He get? What was the joy that was set before Him that He didn't have before the cross?
    He got us. He obviously knows more than we do.
    Like Tom Hanks said at the end of Saving Private Ryan: "Earn this".

    1. Ed,
      Over at your blog, you have posted an excellent meditation for Good Friday -- and Holy Saturday. Thank you!

    2. Ed, such wise words that make me misty eyed and completely humbled. AOW, blessings to you and others here. Would you mind pointing me to Ed's blog?


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