Saturday, March 26, 2005

Good Friday in the Allegheny Valley

Not far away in the town of Brackenridge the Allegheny Valley Association of Churches offered its annual Good Friday service at the Trinity United Methodist Church yesterday. The service used a liturgy developed over many years of area churches working together, focusing on the seven last words of Christ. Volunteers from a variety of churches led in worship, and offered gifts of special music. Ministers from churches across the theological spectrum each offered sermons on particular words of Christ. Central's former organist, Bryan Lassinger, did his usual outstanding job of playing the organ music through the three hour service.

In addition to the spiritual nurture provided by such a worship gathering, it was also a good time to see and hear familiar faces and voices, and new ones as well.

Holy Week is certainly an important time for Christian communities of faith to organize their own individualized observances and celebrations. Central is no exception to that general fragmented practice as it held its own Maundy Thursday service of Holy Communion the evening before. But against that backdrop of individual parochial observances it is noteworthy that a large number of Christians from a range of traditions can maintain a tradition of gathering together in fulfillment of Christ's prayer "that they may all be one." Every time gatherings such as this occur we can catch a glimpse of something that is yet to be.

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