Today is Good Friday.
A day of remembering an event which often feels so immense that it seems the world can scarcely bear it. I know I hardly can. It is too hard, and painful, and deep and wide. It seems too much.
Tonight our family attended a Good Friday service of worship that is taken from an early Christian service called "Tenebrae". The name Tenebrae is the Latin word for "darkness" or "shadows." Through this service we experienced only a small portion of Christ’s pain and suffering the day of His crucifixion.
One of the most conspicuous features of the service is the gradual extinguishing of candles until only a single candle, considered a symbol of our Lord, remains. As it gets darker and darker we reflect on the great emotional and physical pain that was very real for Jesus that evening. Toward the end of the service, the Christ candle is removed from the sanctuary, typifying the apparent victory of the forces of evil over good. And at the end, we file out quietly into the night.
Tonight, right in the middle of this service, I was reduced to tears by something I completely did not expect. "Gabriel's Oboe" from Ennio Morricone, the composer of the film "The Mission" stole my heart, and lead me on several moments reflections of the impact of the one solitary life of Christ. A life that has changed the face of the planet, and a life that has changed my life. Forever. I sat and listened to this haunting piece, and reflected on all centuries of followers of Jesus, who for both good and bad intentions, have changed the face of this planet.
How could one life so permanently affect so much of humanity? How could this be so? How could one man, who died as an obscure radical - reach into history, and continue to touch and transform lives today? How could this be?
Take a few moments, and listen, and wonder. From Ennio Morricone's performance at the UN in 2007: