Good, Friday

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Is there any tool more ubiquitous during the Easter season…and JUST during the Easter season…than this?

Simple, yet profound. It has pretty much only one purpose in it’s abbreviated life.

Alive and profound during March and April, dormant and/or disposed of the rest of the year.

Seeing one, holding one, has my brain fire to remember the smell of vinegar. Coloring eggs on Good Friday in our basement, my seven-year-old self would get all excited at my latest creation.

I’d fish it out of the colored brine and race upstairs to show my mom.

Only to trip about eight steps in and cracking my creation beyond repair.

Haste making waste and all that.

I still suffer from that sometimes. An early lesson I never learned.

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Lent ends today. All those people giving up candy or booze or Facebook can get back after it tomorrow. I subscribe now to the plan of, rather than giving something up, try to be it a bit more thoughtful, less harsh to the world around my. My cynicism is hard to retreat, though, so I’m generally not successful.

One thing holds, though – no meat on Good Friday.  I eat less of it anyway now, so it’s not much of a refrain. Home with the kids today, I made them tuna sandwiches (more mercury in that tuna now than in the days of old, I’m sure) and macaroni and cheese.

For me, though, a roasted beet, slaw and goat cheese sandwich, with a smear of cilantro pesto. Kinda bougy, but a bit more biblical – sort of – since it was on toasted Ezekiel 4:9 bread.

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Good Friday was, and still is in many respects, a solemn day. My dad would be working but my mom would try to keep us quiet during the hours of 12 and three, the times, according to the Bible, that Jesus hung on the cross. Wonder if kids still are prompted to do that?

As I got older, it would be off to Mass at 3 p.m., sometimes as the altar boy. That was always a long service, lots of singing and we’d go through the Stations of the Cross for the last time. Were You There When They Crucified My Lord was a standard song to be sung.

Always lots of incense about, coming out of that that brushed gold incense burner going up my nostrils. The smoke of the incense is symbolic of sanctification and purification, as well as symbolic of the prayers of the faithful. I’d smell it in my head when I went to sleep that night. I’d have to also hold the heavy liturgical book for the priest for the service, too. I remember one priest, as he saw my weak arms quiver, whispering “Just a few more, hang in there” as the congregation sang.

Sometimes, though, the light streaming through the color glass windows would be awesome and you’d come out of Mass happy despite the solemnity of the day.

Late in the afternoon/early evening I’d go with my parents to visit different churches in the Wyoming Valley. Looking back, this was a bit like the Good Friday version of a St. Pat’s bar crawl – rather than a beer at every stop, we’d kneel and say a prayer in front of the altar at every church.

Fulfilling, but in a different way.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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