Those of you who are Tony Campolo fans will surely know the reference made by the title of this blog. Campolo often tells the story of a preacher in his church who moves a congregation to call out the praises of God with that one, repeated phrase. In between phrases, he tells the story of Jesus death on Good Friday – a horrible moment in history. But he reminds people that Sunday – Easter Sunday – is comin’. The story isn’t over.
The church does a pretty good job of celebrating the Resurrection but Good Friday is a bit of a challenge. What’s so good about it? Jesus died, didn’t he? It must have been a horrible day in the lives of his family and friends, those who stood at the foot of the cross where he breathed his last and saw their loved one, their friend, their leader, their dreams, die. Those of us living on this side of that Friday want to fast-forward to the good part, where he conquers sin and death, gives the Devil a kick in the ass and says, “NOW, it’s finished.”
But we forget that Jesus had to do a lot of dying and conquering before he got to the raising part. And in that dying, he bore the sin of all creation, he suffered horribly – in ways we can barely imagine – both physically and spiritually. What music gives voice to that kind of suffering better than the blues?
That’s what my son, Aaron and I, mused one Good Friday years ago, when we listened to Randy Stonehill’s “Didn’t it rain?” and thought that the best time to sing that song in church would be that day. But in our church, that service is quite traditional, fairly sombre… a rockin’ blues song might not be welcome in that context.
So, we decided we needed to create a service that celebrates the suffering of our Lord with music that gives voice to that and just find a place to do it. We gathered together some of our favourite musicians and put together the Good Friday Blues Band. We approached Lando Klassen, owner of House of James (you know, James, that in-your-face, show-me-your-faith-by-your-deeds disciple) and asked him if he would open his space for such a service and let it be a place where all would feel comfortable to gather and worship. Lando, God bless him, said yes, without hesitation.
So it’s coming people. The “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Comin” Blues service, Good Friday, April 6th at 7:o0 pm at House of James Tell your friends!
In the meantime, come back here on Ash Wednesday (February 22nd) and every Friday of the Lenten Season and with each post, we’ll tell you a bit about the songs you’re going to hear. We promise, it will be unlike most church services you’ve ever been to; we hope it will be one in which you are inspired and uplifted. To God be the Glory.