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Services on Good Friday and other special feast days

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  • Abraham Varghese
    Since Mr. Chirackaal recently raised the issue about long services a number of authors wrote their opinion. Some authors  also started writing about Holy
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 17, 2013
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      Since Mr. Chirackaal recently raised the issue about long services a number of authors wrote their opinion. Some authors  also started writing about Holy Qurbana liturgy.  But I think the focus of Mr. Chirackal’s posting was more on the Good Friday services and may be special services.  In this context, I think the public celebration of our Holy Qurbana is the most beautiful and meaningful liturgy and cannot be considered as long.  In most churches the public celebration is completed in about one hour and cannot be considered as long.
      However, our special services including the Good Friday service however may need changes as they are long and also the complex language prevents most laity from understanding the meaning and thus participate fully in the services.  I would like to reason it based on the following points with some case examples.
      Although Our Good Friday service is perhaps the longest service, note that everybody come to the Church on Good Friday.  I had a cousin who never goes to church but he comes on Good Friday. He shows up and then hangs around for a while go to the ‘Kappi Kada” next door to the church hangs around there and comes back once in while and repeats this till the service is over in the afternoon.  I am sure there are a number of other people like that.  In US some people comes in the morning spends most of the time in the basement. So I think our people believe that this is an important day and they spend the whole day in the church premises although not in a productive way.  Respected K.M. George Achen says full participation in the liturgy is important.  Does the liturgy on Good Friday induce full participation as envisaged by Achen?  Can we make the service more appealing so as to attract my cousin and many other people like him when that is the only day he comes to church? The verbose language, repetitions do not help participation of mind and body in the worship.  Further, most people may not be able to concentrate for such long times.  Note further that even when the service is the longest, almost everybody comes to church on Good Friday.  Is it not wiser to make the service more attractive when everybody comes to church on this holy day so that they will come back to celebrate the resurrection on Easter (which does not happen for most) and every Sunday thereafter.  Can the church make the Good Friday services better when all of its members come to the church?
      There are number of repetitions and so called “breaks for rest” in between different segments of the Good Friday service.  These breaks for rest only distract most laity.  Instead why not eliminate those breaks and complete the service in a shorter time. 
      Respected K.M. George achen puts stress on participation and understanding of the liturgy and says that worship is more effective when a person understands the meaning gets himself involved.  The services need to be revised to make it more attractive.  Why not make the Good Friday service more attractive and enticing when it is a day when almost all people come to the church. 

      We should avoid the indirect curses /prayers accusing Jews in the Good Friday Service (this has been discussed in this forum in the past).  There is not point to have indirect curses to Jewish people. 
      When a special service starts, the first thing most laity do is to look at the prayer book and see how long the service is?  I believe that people do not understand the complex language in the songs and prayers and are not able to fully participate in the worship.  Most people who are born and brought up in Kerala find it difficult to understand meaning of some of the songs and prayers.
      To conclude I agree with Mr. Chirackal that the Good Friday services need revision to make it more attractive and facilitate better participation in the worship services.  I also commend on Mr. Chirackal’s efforts and hard work in reaching out to the poor and needy through the Icon Charities. 

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