I am well known for loving the part of the church year known as Lent. Partly, I love it because it is a great excuse to do what I like to do most anyway….read, study, pray, and think about the meaning of life. I love a chance to remember my human condition, to think about all the ways in which my faith has helped me survive and thrive despite that human condition, all the ways in which a better understanding of that human condition can help me communicate the good news to others… But to tell you the truth, one of the big reasons that Lent is my favorite season of the church lectionary calendar is, well, my voice.
I don’t really have an Easter voice or a Christmas voice. Composers have not stampeded forward to create beautiful, bright melodies for the contralto to sing on Easter. No arias with trumpet, no great long passages of joyful coloratura bespeaking our gratitude for the gift of the Resurrection.
Instead, I have a Good Friday voice. I have a voice that can communicate the mystery and the fear of that event, when the male disciples fled and left the women as the witnesses, when those who had believed the message in the presence of Jesus no longer knew what to believe, when no one knew the next step to take or even if they themselves would survive the night.
The Good Friday experience IS in fact, the human condition. We live in the “not-knowing”, with more questions than answers. We live in the dust, the dirt and the blood of our earthly existence. And yet, we still feel the mystery that infuses that condition, the mystery that is God’s love, present even in our humanity; and that mystery gives us the hope that propels us forward to the grace and joy of Easter and the Resurrection.
And now you know why I love Lent, and why I created the Music for Good Friday concert series at the Calvary Baptist Church. Over the years, I have observed that in many communities, it is easier to celebrate the grace of Easter than to remember the pain and mystery of Good Friday that makes that grace possible. If you are in the DC area, consider coming and remembering with us.