Friday, April 2, 2010

Walk of witness?

Good afternoon God,

I have a question - its about this Good Friday walk of witness habit..

Am I alone in thinking that it's more like an accusation than a witness?

Can you explain to me why we walk in silence, stopping traffic with our sombre stares, accusing those who are going about their busy lives with our solemnity and misery until they too feel the burden of guilt...?

Please Lord, tell me..what image of your love and your grace are we witnessing to?
What child would instinctively want to follow such a march?

I can't help thinking that the image we present to the world on such walks is exactly what we are accused of by the press and secular society - miserable kill joys, unnaturally solemn, sinful and seriously out of touch..

I need to know God - how many times will we crucify you in a vain attempt to look good to ourselves?

But perhaps I've misunderstood..
Perhaps this walk of witness is not to witness to our faith, or to your love
Perhaps it is supposed to witness to how we repeatedly need you to be crucified
Perhaps its our walk of shame to witness to how we fail to understand what

'Once - for all' 


So like a crowd of Sisyphus we are doomed to endlessly roll the burden of our guilt and shame to the top of Calvary over and over again, only to watch it roll back down again in time for next year.. or 


we finally understand and in understanding are set free from our guilt,
saved from our self-obsession and allowed to see through to Easter Sunday.


If we must walk to witness to our faith - I cannot for the life of me understand why we don't we do it on Easter Sunday - with song and laughter - handing out chocolates and balloons..

Why don't we make it a big joyous parade with trombones and drums that will make the toes tap and persuade the children to tug at their parents hands until they follow the band - right into a service of joyous thanksgiving?

And invite them to hear the Good News...

No matter how many Fridays there are - Sunday will still come.
Thanks be to God.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    You may have gathered that I couldn't agree more!

  2. We walked this morning in Brighton - not in silence but as a happy group of Christians chatting, stopping at various churches on route for a sing and some prayers. We didn't stop any traffic, we didn't look miserable and it way the nicest Good Friday Morning I have ever spent!! Love the parade on Sunday idea - shame I have to go to residential school, or we could go out with chocolate and balloons!!

  3. I think you're right, I much prefer the concept of carnival and mardi gras - the bright colourful and yet meaningful procession.
    Charity x

  4. Angie,

    Should it count for anything that in scripture the crucifixion and Pentecost are essentially public events and the Resurrection and Ascension are private (disciples only)?

  5. Interesting idea Dave,
    so perhaps we celebrate and witness to Pentecost..?
    Just so tired of doom and gloom when the Gospel is intended to be Good News.
    The over emphasis on misery and penitence and sin was invented by the clergy to keep the laity fearful docile and submissive...
    the Good News is Alleluia - your sins are forgiven..
    yep even the crucifixion..

  6. Angie,

    My experience here is quite different.

    Try getting people in Raunds or Thrapston (I have generally alternated between the two for Good Friday) to do anything quietly :-) Our marches are pretty cheery things, greeting lots of friends on the way.

    At Thrapston we now have a tradition of handing out free hot cross buns to everyone and anyone (each with a napkin with a explanation of Good Friday on it). Now well received (it took a while for people to get used to free food!). Hardly doom and gloom.

    I keep being asked the question "So why do you call it Good Friday" which is a great opportunity for an emphasis on the Gospel as Good News

    If we make everything a happy celebration then all our festivals get taken over by commercial interests and the meaning gets lost (eg Tesco selling Easter crackers with bunnies on them). They are less keen to commercialise Good Friday (other than year round hot cross buns).

    Also 25% of the population will suffer from a mental disorder every year. If all we do is be happy then we seem out of touch and irrelevant to a large number of people.

    As for over dependence on clergy I did not lead anything at the Good Friday march, all the Methodists leading prayers, readings and singing (2 women and 2 men) were lay - as it should be.

    I do like the idea that the crucifixion is bad, sudden, public and then over. The resurrection is quieter but so much more powerful because it is ongoing for eternity. That works for me because you can't sustain a really big high all the time. Better to have resurrection everyday.

    Anyway none of this will stop a huge party atmosphere in the morning, also very definitely on Pentecost :-)