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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.

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Category: Virtual Topics
by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today, we wrap up our consideration of Father’s Day, focusing on some of the characteristics that make a Good Father. This is second year that we have brought you this series. It is a holiday that was proposed to be a companion of Mother’s Day. It has not received the same press as has Mother’s Day, probably because of the very close bond between mothers and their children.

This is a post from what we did last year in looking at parenthood. We hope that as you read this and the subsequent posts that you will gain new and fond appreciations for our fathers. They have provided us with the support and love that has nurtured us through the good and bad times.

Let us renew our commitment to become the best fathers that we can be to our own children and not make the mistakes that may have been made by our own fathers. GLB

[ This is Part 7 of 7. ]

[ 2976 Words ]

    

“That he delights in the misery of others no man will confess, and yet what other motive can make a father cruel?”
— Joseph Addison

“My father was a boxer, though. So, I have a particular interest in Ray Mancini, I think.”
— Warren Zevon

“James Brown became my father. He would talk to me the way a father talked to a son. He became the father I never had.”
— Al Sharpton

continue reading…

by Gerald Boerner

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today, we revisit the several aspects of Father’s Day, focusing on the parenting example provided by our grandparents. This is second year that we have brought you this series. It is a holiday that was proposed to be a companion of Mother’s Day. It has not received the same press as has Mother’s Day, probably because of the very close bond between mothers and their children.

This is a new addition to the posts from what we did last year in looking at parenthood. We hope that as you read this and the subsequent posts that you will gain new and fond appreciations for our fathers. They have provided us with the support and love that has nurtured us through the good and bad times.

Let us renew our commitment to become the best fathers that we can be to our own children and not make the mistakes that may have been made by our own fathers. GLB

[ This is Part 6 of 7. ]

[ 2672 Words ]

    

“In 1973, a woman could not get a credit card without her husband or father or a male signing off on it.”
— Billy Jean King

“The worst misfortune that can happen to an ordinary man is to have an extraordinary father.”
— Austin O’Malley

“My mother is Irish, my father is black and Venezuelan, and me – I’m tan, I guess.”
— Mariah Carey

continue reading…

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today, we revisit the several aspects of Father’s Day, focusing on our parenting during childhood. This is second year that we have brought you this series. It is a holiday that was proposed to be a companion of Mother’s Day. It has not received the same press as has Mother’s Day, probably because of the very close bond between mothers and their children.

We have included the post from last year and expanded it to include additional background information on the fatherhood and parenthood. We hope that as you read this and the subsequent posts that you will gain new and fond appreciations for our fathers. They have provided us with the support and love that has nurtured us through the good and bad times.

Let us renew our commitment to become the best fathers that we can be to our own children and not make the mistakes that may have been made by our own fathers. GLB

[ This is Part 5 of 7. ]

    

“Growing up, I’ve enjoyed hunting with my father.”
— Dale Earnhardt

“Doubt is the father of invention.”
— Ambrose Bierce

“I want to go ahead of Father Time with a scythe of my own.”
— H.G. Wells

“Though my father was Norwegian, he always wrote his diaries in perfect English.”
— Roald Dahl

continue reading…

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today, we revisit the several aspects of Father’s Day, focusing on Toddlers. This is second year that we have brought you this series. It is a holiday that was proposed to be a companion of Mother’s Day. It has not received the same press as has Mother’s Day, probably because of the very close bond between mothers and their children.

We have included the post from last year and expanded it to include additional background information on the fatherhood and parenthood. We hope that as you read this and the subsequent posts that you will gain new and fond appreciations for our fathers. They have provided us with the support and love that has nurtured us through the good and bad times.

Let us renew our commitment to become the best fathers that we can be to our own children and not make the mistakes that may have been made by our own fathers. GLB

[ This is Part 4 of 7. ]

    

“The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.”
— Clara Barton

“Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance.”
— Hippocrates

“Father asked us what was God’s noblest work. Anna said men, but I said babies. Men are often bad, but babies never are.”
— Louisa May Alcott

“All the learnin’ my father paid for was a bit o’ birch at one end and an alphabet at the other.”
— George Eliot

continue reading…

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today, we revisit the several aspects of Father’s Day, focusing on Boyhood. This is second year that we have brought you this series. It is a holiday that was proposed to be a companion of Mother’s Day. It has not received the same press as has Mother’s Day, probably because of the very close bond between mothers and their children.

We have included the post from last year and expanded it to include additional background information on the fatherhood and parenthood. We hope that as you read this and the subsequent posts that you will gain new and fond appreciations for our fathers. They have provided us with the support and love that has nurtured us through the good and bad times.

Let us renew our commitment to become the best fathers that we can be to our own children and not make the mistakes that may have been made by our own fathers. GLB

[ This is Part 3 of 7. ]

    

“My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.”
— Aldous Huxley

“My father was not a failure. After all, he was the father of a president of the United States.”
— Harry S. Truman

“Just talk to me as a father – not what the Constitution says. What do you feel?”
— Joe Biden

continue reading…

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today, we revisit the several aspects of Father’s Day, focusing on Fatherhood. This is second year that we have brought you this series. It is a holiday that was proposed to be a companion of Mother’s Day. It has not received the same press as has Mother’s Day, probably because of the very close bond between mothers and their children.

We have included the post from last year and expanded it to include additional background information on the fatherhood and parenthood. We hope that as you read this and the subsequent posts that you will gain new and fond appreciations for our fathers. They have provided us with the support and love that has nurtured us through the good and bad times.

Let us renew our commitment to become the best fathers that we can be to our own children and not make the mistakes that may have been made by our own fathers. GLB

[ This is Part 2 of 7. ]

    

“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”
— Alexander the Great

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”
— Sigmund Freud

“Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all the affections, as there is room in heaven for all the stars.”
— Victor Hugo

continue reading…

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today, we revisit the events and origins of Father’s Day for the second  year in a row. It is a holiday that was proposed to be a companion of Mother’s Day. It has not received the same press as has Mother’s Day, probably because of the very close bond between mothers and their children.

We have included the post from last year and expanded it to include additional background information on the holiday. We hope that as you read this and the subsequent posts that you will gain new and fond appreciations for our fathers. They have provided us with the support and love that has nurtured us through the good and bad times.

Let us renew our commitment to become the best fathers that we can be to our own children and not make the mistakes that may have been made by our own fathers.  GLB

[ This is Part 1 of 7. ]

    

“I’m Happy You’re My Dad”

    

I feel safe when you are with me;
You show me fun things to do;
You make my life much better;
The best father I know is you.

I’m happy you’re my Dad
And so I want to say
I love you, Dad, and wish you
A Happy Father’s Day!

By Joanna Fuchs

 

“My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it till now.”
— John F. Kennedy

continue reading…

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 The Lord is Risen… Happy Easter to all.

We now look at the culmination of Holy Week: Easter Sunday. While not part of Holy Week as such, it is the culmination of the celebration of the past several days. On Good Friday, Christ is betrayed, tried and crucified. His dead body was placed in a new tomb (“Whited Sepulchre”) for three days. On the third day Mary Magdalene went to watch over the tomb and found the stone rolled away from the entrance and the tomb empty. Christ was no longer dead, but had been resurrected. He had paid for mankind’s sins with his life and rose again to overcome death.

Today, we continue to celebrate this event in many ways, in many countries. Each country has made this special time personal to that country. Above all, man continues to worship a risen Christ and walk with Him as his children.  GLB

    

“To a Christian, Easter Sunday means everything, when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
— Bernhard Langer

“Christ appeared alive on several occasions after the cataclysmic events of that first Easter.”
— Josh McDowell

“My mom used to say that Greek Easter was later because then you get stuff cheaper.”
— Amy Sedaris

“We were taking collections for people with AIDS in New York around Easter.”
— Chita Rivera

“Passover and Easter are the only Jewish and Christian holidays that move in sync, like the ice skating pairs we saw during the winter Olympics.”
— Marvin Olasky

“The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.”
— Basil C. Hume

“And it is always Easter Sunday at the New York City Ballet. It is always coming back to life. Not even coming back to life – it lives in the constant present.”
— John Guare

“A strangely reflective, even melancholy day. Is that because, unlike our cousins in the northern hemisphere, Easter is not associated with the energy and vitality of spring but with the more subdued spirit of autumn?”
— Hugh Mackay

  

Easter Sunday

The_resurrection_day Easter is the central religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to Christian scripture, Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Some Christians celebrate this resurrection on Easter Day or Easter Sunday (also Resurrection Day or Resurrection Sunday), two days after Good Friday and three days after Maundy Thursday. The chronology of his death and resurrection is variously interpreted to be between AD 26 and AD 36. Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Eastertide or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer, and penance.

Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the vernal equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on March 21 (regardless of the astronomically correct date), and the "Full Moon" is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between March 22 and April 25. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian Calendar whose March 21 corresponds, during the twenty-first century, to April 3 in the Gregorian Calendar, in which calendar their celebration of Easter therefore varies between April 4 and May 8.

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast called Easter in English is termed by the words for passover in those languages and in the older English versions of the Bible the term Easter was the term used to translate passover.

Relatively newer elements such as the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts have become part of the holiday’s modern celebrations, and those aspects are often celebrated by many Christians and non-Christians alike. There are also some Christian denominations who do not celebrate Easter.

Theological Significance

The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith. The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God and is cited as proof that God will judge the world in righteousness. God has given Christians "a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead". Christians, through faith in the working of God are spiritually resurrected with Jesus so that they may walk in a new way of life.

Easter is linked to the Passover and Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper and crucifixion that preceded the resurrection. According to the New Testament, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning, as he prepared himself and his disciples for his death in the upper room during the Last Supper. He identified the loaf of bread and cup of wine as symbolizing his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed. 1 Corinthians 5:7 states, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed"; this refers to the Passover requirement to have no yeast in the house and to the allegory of Jesus as the Paschal lamb.

One interpretation of the Gospel of John is that Jesus, as the Passover lamb, was crucified at roughly the same time as the Passover lambs were being slain in the temple, on the afternoon of Nisan 14. This interpretation, however, is inconsistent with the chronology in the Synoptic Gospels. It assumes that text literally translated "the preparation of the passover" in John 19:14 refers to Nisan 14 (Preparation Day for the Passover) and not necessarily to Yom Shishi (Friday, Preparation Day for Sabbath) and that the priests’ desire to be ritually pure in order to "eat the passover" in John 18:28 refers to eating the Passover lamb, not to the public offerings made during the days of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:8).

Anglo-Saxon and German

Ostara_by_Johannes_Gehrts

Ostara (1884) by
Johannes Gehrts.

The modern English term Easter is speculated to have developed from Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre or Eoaster, which itself developed prior to 899. The name refers to Eostur-monath, a month of the Germanic calendar attested by Bede as named after the goddess Ēostre of Anglo-Saxon paganism. Bede notes that Eostur-monath was the equivalent to the month of April, and that feasts held in her honor during Ēostur-monath had died out by the time of his writing, replaced with the Christian custom of Easter.[16] Using comparative linguistic evidence from continental Germanic sources, the 19th century scholar Jacob Grimm proposed the existence of an equivalent form of Eostre among the pre-Christian beliefs of the continental Germanic peoples, whose name he reconstructed as Ostara.

The implications of the goddess have resulted in theories about whether or not Eostre is an invention of Bede, theories connecting Eostre with records of Germanic folk custom (including hares and eggs), and as cultural descendant of the Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn through the etymology of her name. Grimm’s reconstructed Ostara has had some influence in modern popular culture. Modern German has Ostern, but otherwise, Germanic languages have generally borrowed the form pascha, see below.

Semitic, Romance, Celtic and other Germanic Languages

GrunewaldR Isenheim Altarpiece: The Resurrection
by Matthias Grünewald,
completed 1515

The Greek word Πάσχα and hence the Latin form Pascha is derived from Hebrew Pesach (פֶּסַח) meaning the festival of Passover. In Greek the word Ἀνάστασις (upstanding, up-rising, resurrection) is used also as an alternative.

Christians speaking Arabic or other Semitic languages generally use names cognate to Pesach. For instance, the second word of the Arabic name of the festival عيد الفصح ʿĪd al-Fiṣḥ has the root F-Ṣ-Ḥ, which given the sound laws applicable to Arabic is cognate to Hebrew P-S-Ḥ, with "Ḥ" realized as /x/ in Modern Hebrew and /ħ/ in Arabic. Arabic also uses the term عيد القيامة ʿĪd al-Qiyāmah, meaning "festival of the resurrection," but this term is less common. In Maltese the word is L-Għid. In Ge’ez and the modern Ethiosemitic languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea, two forms exist: ፋሲካ ("Fasika," fāsīkā) from Greek Pascha, and ትንሣኤ ("Tensae," tinśā’ē), the latter from the Semitic root N-Ś-‘, meaning "to rise" (cf. Arabic nasha’a – ś merged with "sh" in Arabic and most non-South Semitic languages).

In all Romance languages the name of the Easter festival is derived from the Latin Pascha. In Spanish, Easter is Pascua, in Italian Pasqua, in Portuguese Páscoa and in Romanian Paşti. In French, the name of Easter Pâques also derives from the Latin word but the s following the a has been lost and the two letters have been transformed into a â with a circumflex accent by elision.

Easter in the Early Church

Israel_5_010.jpg_Via_Dolorosa-_Walk_in_Jerusalem,_with_Jesus_Christ-Actor_and_Press Reenacting the Stations of the Cross
in Jerusalem on the Via Dolorosa
from the Lions’ Gate to the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The first Christians, Jewish and Gentile, were certainly aware of the Hebrew calendar (Acts 2:1; 12:3; 20:6; 27:9; 1 Cor 16:8), but there is no direct evidence that they celebrated any specifically Christian annual festivals. The observance by Christians of non-Jewish annual festivals is believed by some to be an innovation postdating the Apostolic Age. The ecclesiastical historian Socrates Scholasticus (b. 380) attributes the observance of Easter by the church to the perpetuation of its custom, "just as many other customs have been established," stating that neither Jesus nor his Apostles enjoined the keeping of this or any other festival. However, when read in context, this is not a rejection or denigration of the celebration—which, given its currency in Scholasticus’ time would be surprising—but is merely part of a defense of the diverse methods for computing its date. Indeed, although he describes the details of the Easter celebration as deriving from local custom, he insists the feast itself is universally observed.

Perhaps the earliest extant primary source referencing Easter is a mid-2nd century Paschal homily attributed to Melito of Sardis, which characterizes the celebration as a well-established one. Evidence for another kind of annual Christian festival, the commemoration of martyrs, begins to appear at about the same time as evidence for the celebration of Easter. But while martyrs’ "birthdays" were celebrated on fixed dates in the local solar calendar, the date of Easter was fixed by means of the local Jewish lunisolar calendar. This is consistent with the celebration of Easter having entered Christianity during its earliest, Jewish period, but does not leave the question free of doubt.

Third/Fourth-Century Controversy and Council

It is not known how long the Nisan 14 practice continued. But both those who followed the Nisan 14 custom, and those who set Easter to the following Sunday (the Sunday of Unleavened Bread) had in common the custom of consulting their Jewish neighbors to learn when the month of Nisan would fall, and setting their festival accordingly. By the later 3rd century, however, some Christians began to express dissatisfaction with the custom of relying on the Jewish community to determine the date of Easter. The chief complaint was that the Jewish communities sometimes erred in setting Passover to fall before the northern hemisphere spring equinox. Anatolius of Laodicea in the later third century wrote:

Those who place [the first lunar month of the year] in [the twelfth zodiacal sign before the spring equinox] and fix the Paschal fourteenth day accordingly, make a great and indeed an extraordinary mistake.

Peter, bishop of Alexandria (died 312), had a similar complaint

On the fourteenth day of [the month], being accurately observed after the equinox, the ancients celebrated the Passover, according to the divine command. Whereas the men of the present day now celebrate it before the equinox, and that altogether through negligence and error.

The Sardica paschal table confirms these complaints, for it indicates that the Jews of some eastern Mediterranean city (possibly Antioch) fixed Nisan 14 on March 11 (Julian) in A.D. 328, on March 5 in A.D. 334, on March 2 in A.D. 337, and on March 10 in A.D. 339, all well before the spring equinox.

Because of this dissatisfaction with reliance on the Jewish calendar, some Christians began to experiment with independent computations. Others, however, felt that the customary practice of consulting Jews should continue, even if the Jewish computations were in error. A version of the Apostolic Constitutions used by the sect of the Audiani advised:

Do not do your own computations, but instead observe Passover when your brethren from the circumcision do. If they err [in the computation], it is no matter to you…

Two other objections that some Christians may have had to maintaining the custom of consulting the Jewish community in order to determine Easter are implied in Constantine’s letter from the Council of Nicea to the absent bishops:

It appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews…For we have it in our power, if we abandon their custom, to prolong the due observance of this ordinance to future ages by a truer order…For their boast is absurd indeed, that it is not in our power without instruction from them to observe these things….Being altogether ignorant of the true adjustment of this question, they sometimes celebrate Passover twice in the same year.

The reference to Passover twice in the same year might refer to the geographical diversity that existed at that time in the Jewish calendar, due in large measure to the breakdown of communications in the Empire. Jews in one city might determine Passover differently from Jews in another city. The reference to the Jewish "boast", and, indeed, the strident anti-Jewish tone of the whole passage, suggests another issue: some Christians thought that it was undignified for Christians to depend on Jews to set the date of a Christian festival.

Date of Easter

Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts, in that they do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars (both of which follow the cycle of the sun and the seasons). Instead, the date for Easter is determined on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar.

In Western Christianity, using the Gregorian calendar, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25, inclusively. The following day, Easter Monday, is a legal holiday in many countries with predominantly Christian traditions. In Eastern Orthodox Churches — which continue to use the Julian calendar for religious dating — Easter also falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25, inclusive, of the Julian calendar. (The Julian calendar is no longer used as the civil calendar of the countries where Eastern Christian traditions predominate.) In terms of the Gregorian calendar, due to the 13 day difference between the calendars between 1900 and 2099, these dates are between April 4 and May 8, inclusive. Among the Oriental Orthodox some churches have changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar and the date for Easter as for other fixed and moveable feasts is the same as in the Western Church.

The precise date of Easter has at times been a matter for contention. At the First Council of Nicaea in 325 it was decided that all Christian churches would celebrate Easter on the same day, which would be computed independently of any Jewish calculations to determine the date of Passover. It is however probable (though no contemporary account of the Council’s decisions has survived) that no method of determining the date was specified by the Council. Epiphanius of Salamis wrote in the mid-4th century: …the emperor…convened a council of 318 bishops…in the city of Nicea…They passed certain ecclesiastical canons at the council besides, and at the same time decreed in regard to the Passover that there must be one unanimous concord on the celebration of God’s holy and supremely excellent day. For it was variously observed by people…

Western Christianity

Procesion_semana_santa_jpereira Procession in Santiago de Compostela.

The Easter festival is kept in many different ways among Western Christians. The traditional, liturgical observation of Easter, as practised among Roman Catholics and some Lutherans and Anglicans begins on the night of Holy Saturday with the Easter Vigil. This, the most important liturgy of the year, begins in total darkness with the blessing of the Easter fire, the lighting of the large Paschal candle (symbolic of the Risen Christ) and the chanting of the Exultet or Easter Proclamation attributed to Saint Ambrose of Milan. After this service of light, a number of readings from the Old Testament are read; these tell the stories of creation, the sacrifice of Isaac, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the foretold coming of the Messiah. This part of the service climaxes with the singing of the Gloria and the Alleluia and the proclamation of the Gospel of the resurrection. At this time, the lights are brought up and the church bells are rung, according to local custom. A sermon may be preached after the gospel. Then the focus moves from the lectern to the font. Anciently, Easter was considered the ideal time for converts to receive baptism, and this practice continues within Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion. Whether there are baptisms at this point or not, it is traditional for the congregation to renew the vows of their baptismal faith. This act is often sealed by the sprinkling of the congregation with holy water from the font. The Catholic sacrament of Confirmation is also celebrated at the Vigil.

The Easter Vigil concludes with the celebration of the Eucharist (known in some traditions as Holy Communion). Certain variations in the Easter Vigil exist: Some churches read the Old Testament lessons before the procession of the Paschal candle, and then read the gospel immediately after the Exsultet. Some churches prefer to keep this vigil very early on the Sunday morning instead of the Saturday night, particularly Protestant churches, to reflect the gospel account of the women coming to the tomb at dawn on the first day of the week. These services are known as the Sunrise service and often occur in outdoor setting such as the church cemetery, yard, or a nearby park.

The first recorded "Sunrise Service" took place in 1732 among the Single Brethren in the Moravian Congregation at Herrnhut, Saxony, in what is now Germany. Following an all-night vigil they went before dawn to the town graveyard, God’s Acre, on the hill above the town, to celebrate the Resurrection among the graves of the departed. This service was repeated the following year by the whole congregation and subsequently spread with the Moravian Missionaries around the world. The most famous "Moravian Sunrise Service" is in the Moravian Settlement Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The beautiful setting of the Graveyard, God’s Acre, the music of the Brass Choir numbering 500 pieces, and the simplicity of the service attract thousands of visitors each year and has earned for Winston-Salem the soubriquet "the Easter City."

Additional celebrations are usually offered on Easter Sunday itself. Typically these services follow the usual order of Sunday services in a congregation, but also typically incorporate more highly festive elements. The music of the service, in particular, often displays a highly festive tone; the incorporation of brass instruments (trumpets, etc.) to supplement a congregation’s usual instrumentation is common. Often a congregation’s worship space is decorated with special banners and flowers (such as Easter lilies).

StJohnsAshfield_StainedGlass_GoodShepherd_Face [Please refer to the complete article for more details
about the Easter Celebration around the world.]

 

References

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Easter… 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Sunday

Brainy Quote: Easter Quotes…
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/easter.html

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today we switch our consideration from the observation of Holy Week from that of the Christian celebrations to that of the Jewish celebration of Passover. While Passover is more than a single day, it is the basis upon which the Christian celebration is founded. Passover reflects the celebration of the sparing of Jewish firstborn sons during the period of the Exodus from Egypt. So, take time to read this posting for a better appreciation of the real meaning of Easter.  GLB

    

“And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.”
— Bible quotes

“And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.”
— Bible quotes

“Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.”
— Bible quotes

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.”
— Bible quotes

“After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.”
— Bible quotes

“And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.”
— Bible quotes

“And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle and three hundred oxen.”
— Bible quotes

“For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one / That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.”
— Bible quotes

  

Jewish Observation of Passover

The_Jews_Passover Passover is a Jewish and Samaritan holy day and festival commemorating the biblical event of Hebrews’ escape from enslavement in Egypt.

Passover is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays (Yom Tov), and is commemorated by many affiliated and nonaffiliated Jews alike as a time to contemplate the endurance of the Jewish people throughout history.

Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan (equivalent to March and April in Gregorian calendar), the first month of the Hebrew calendar’s festival year according to the Hebrew Bible.

In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Hebrew slaves, with the tenth plague being the killing of every firstborn male, from the Pharaoh’s son to the firstborn of the dungeon captive, to the firstborn of cattle. The Hebrews were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term "passover". When Pharaoh freed the Hebrews, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread". Matza (flat unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday.

Together with Shavuot ("Pentecost") and Sukkot ("Tabernacles"), Passover is one of the three pilgrimage festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace historically made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. Samaritans still make this pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, but only men participate in public worship.

Date in the Spring and Length

Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, which corresponds to the full moon of Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew calendar, in accordance with the Hebrew Bible. Passover is a spring festival, so the 14th day of Nisan begins on the night of a full moon after the vernal equinox. To ensure that Passover did not start before spring, the tradition in ancient Israel held that the first day of Nisan would not start until the barley is ripe, being the test for the onset of spring. If the barley was not ripe an intercalary month (Adar II) would be added. However, since at least the 12th century, the date has been determined mathematically.

In Israel, Passover is the seven-day holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, with the first and last days observed as legal holidays and as holy days involving abstention from work, special prayer services, and holiday meals; the intervening days are known as Chol HaMoed ("festival days"). Diaspora Jews historically observed the festival for eight days, and most still do. Reform and Reconstructionist Jews and Israeli Jews, wherever they are, usually observe the holiday over seven days. The reason for this extra day is due to enactment of the Sages. It is thought by many scholars that Jews outside of Israel could not be certain if their local calendars fully conformed to practice of the Temple at Jerusalem, so they added an extra day. But as this practice only attaches to certain (major) holy days, others posit the extra day may have been added to accommodate people who had to travel long distances to participate in communal worship and ritual practices; or the practice may have evolved as a compromise between conflicting interpretations of Jewish Law regarding the calendar; or it may have evolved as a safety measure in areas where Jews were commonly in danger, so that their enemies would not be certain on which day to attack.

Karaite Jews and Samaritans use different versions of the Jewish calendar, which are often out of sync with the modern Jewish calendar by one or two days. In 2009, for example, Nisan 15 on the Jewish calendar used by Rabbinical Judaism corresponds to April 9. On the calendars used by Karaites and Samaritans, Abib or Aviv 15 (as opposed to ‘Nisan’) corresponds to April 11 in 2009. The Karaite and Samaritan Passovers are each one day long, followed by the six day Festival of Unleavened Bread – for a total of seven days.

Origins of the Festival

The commandment to keep Passover is recorded in the Torah in the Book of Leviticus:

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month between the two evenings is the LORD’S Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. And ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days; in the seventh day is a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. (Leviticus 23:5)

The biblical regulations for the observance of the festival require that all leavening be disposed of before the beginning of the 15th of Nisan. An unblemished lamb or goat is to be set apart on Nisan 10, and slaughtered on Nisan 14 "between the two evenings", a phrase which is, however, not defined. It is then to be eaten "that night", Nisan 15,[11] roasted, without the removal of its internal organs with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Nothing of the sacrifice on which the sun rises may be eaten, but must be burned. The sacrifices may only be performed in Jerusalem.

The biblical regulations pertaining to the original Passover also include how the meal is to be eaten: "with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s passover" (Exodus 12:11).

Some of these details can be corroborated, and to some extent amplified, in extrabiblical sources. The removal (or "sealing up") of the leaven is referred to the Elephantine papyri, an Aramaic papyrus from 5th century BCE Elephantine in Egypt. The slaughter of the lambs on the 14th is mentioned in The Book of Jubilees, a Jewish work of the Ptolemaic period, and by the Herodian-era writers Josephus and Philo. These sources also indicate that "between the two evenings" was taken to mean the afternoon. Jubilees states the sacrifice was eaten that night, and together with Josephus states that nothing of the sacrifice was allowed to remain until morning. Philo states that the banquet included hymns and prayers.

The Biblical commandments concerning the Passover (and the Feast of Unleavened Bread) stress the importance of remembering:

And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt; and thou shalt observe and do these statutes." (Deuteronomy 16:12)

Exodus 12:14 commands, in reference to God’s sparing of the firstborn from the Tenth Plague:

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

Exodus 13:3 repeats the command to remember:

Remember this day, in which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, for by strength the hand of the LORD brought you out from this place.

Origin of the Name

The verb "pasàch" is first mentioned in the Torah account of the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:23), and there is some debate about its exact meaning: the commonly held assumption that it means "He passed over", in reference to God "passing over" the houses of the Hebrews during the final of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, stems from the translation provided in the Septuagint (παρελευσεται in Exodus 12:23, and εσκεπασεν in Exodus 12:27). Judging from other instances of the verb, and instances of parallelism, a more faithful translation may be "he hovered over, guarding." Indeed, this is the image used by Isaiah by his use of this verb in Isaiah. 31:5: "As birds hovering, so will the Lord of hosts protect Jerusalem; He will deliver it as He protecteth it, He will rescue it as He passeth over" (Isaiah 31:5) Targum Onkelos translates pesach as "he had pity", The English term "Passover" came into the English language through William Tyndale’s translation of the Bible, and later appeared in the King James Version as well.

The term Pesach may also refer to the lamb or kid which was designated as the Passover sacrifice (called the Korban Pesach in Hebrew). Four days before the Exodus, the Hebrews were commanded to set aside a lamb.(Exodus 12:3) and inspect it daily for blemishes. During the day on the 14th of Nisan, they were to slaughter the animal and use its blood to mark their lintels and door posts. Up until midnight on the 15th of Nisan, they were to consume the lamb. Each family (or group of families) gathered together to eat a meal that included the meat of the Korban Pesach while the Tenth Plague ravaged Egypt.

In subsequent years, during the existence of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem, the Korban Pesach was eaten during the Passover Seder on the 15th of Nisan. However, following the destruction of the Temple, no sacrifices may be offered or eaten. The Seder Korban Pesach, a set of scriptural and Rabbinic passages dealing with the Passover sacrifice, is customarily recited during or after the Mincha (afternoon prayer) service on the 14th on Nisan. The story of the Korban Pesach is also retold at the Passover Seder,meaning order, and the symbolic food which represents it on the Seder Plate is usually a roasted lamb shankbone, chicken wing, or chicken neck.

Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread

Historically, these terms have been used interchangeably: "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching." (Luke 22:1)

However, at least from the first century, it was commonly held among Pharisees, that the Feast of Unleavened Bread started the day following the Passover feast, and lasted seven days:

"The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of the passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread; But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first "partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them, (Antiquities of the Jews Book 3, Chapter 10, Section 5)."

Historic Offering, "Korban Pesach"

When the Temple in Jerusalem was standing, the focus of the Passover festival was the Korban Pesach (lit. "Pesach sacrifice," also known as the "Paschal Lamb"). Every family large enough to completely consume a young lamb or wild goat was required to offer one for sacrifice at the Jewish Temple on the afternoon of the 14th day of Nisan, and eat it that night, which was the 15th of Nisan. If the family was too small to finish eating the entire offering in one sitting, an offering was made for a group of families. The sacrifice could not be offered with anything leavened, and had to be roasted, without its head, feet, or inner organs being removed and eaten together with matzo (unleavened bread) and maror (bitter herbs). One had to be careful not to break any bones from the offering, and none of the meat could be left over by morning.

Because of the Korban Pesach’s status as a sacred offering, the only people allowed to eat it were those who have the obligation to bring the offering. Among those who can not offer or eat the Korban Pesach are: An apostate (Exodus 12:43), a servant (Exodus 12:45), an uncircumcised man (Exodus 12:48), a person in a state of ritual impurity, except when a majority of Jews are in such a state (Pesahim 66b), and a non-Jew. The offering must be made before a quorum of 30 (Pesahim 64b). In the Temple, the Levites sing Hallel while the Kohanim perform the sacrificial service. Men and women are equally obligated regarding the Korban Pesach (Pesahim 91b).

Women were obligated, as men, to perform the Korban Pesach and to participate in a Seder.

Today, in the absence of the Temple, the mitzvah of the Korban Pesach is memorialized in the Seder Korban Pesach, recited in the afternoon of Nisan 14, and in the form of symbolic food placed on the Passover Seder Plate, which is usually a roasted shankbone. The eating of the afikoman substitutes for the eating of the Korban Pesach at the end of the Seder meal. Many Sephardi Jews have the custom of eating lamb or goat meat during the Seder in memory of the Korban Pesach.

The Passover Seder

Seder table Table set for the Passover Seder

It is traditional for Jewish families to gather on the first night of Passover (first two nights in communities outside the land of Israel) for a special dinner called a seder (סדר—derived from the Hebrew word for "order", referring to the very specific order of the ritual). The table is set with the finest china and silverware to reflect the importance of the meal. During this meal, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold using a special text called the Haggadah. Four cups of wine are consumed at various stages in the narrative.

The Haggadah divides the night’s procedure into 15 parts:

  1. Kadeish קדש —
    recital of Kiddush blessing and drinking of the first cup of wine
  2. Urchatz ורחץ —
    the washing of the hands – without blessing
  3. Karpas כרפס —
    dipping of the karpas in salt water
  4. Yachatz יחץ —
    breaking the middle matzo; the larger piece becomes the afikoman which is eaten later during the ritual of Tzafun
  5. Maggid מגיד —
    retelling the Passover story, including the recital of "the four questions" and drinking of the second cup of wine
  6. Rachtzah רחצה —
    second washing of the hands – with blessing
  7. Motzi מוציא —
    traditional blessing before eating bread products
  8. Matzo מצה —
    blessing before eating matzo
  9. Maror מרור —
    eating of the maror
  10. Koreich כורך —
    eating of a sandwich made of matzo and maror
  11. Shulchan oreich שולחן עורך —
    lit. "set table"—the serving of the holiday meal
  12. Tzafun צפון —
    eating of the afikoman
  13. Bareich ברך —
    blessing after the meal and drinking of the third cup of wine
  14. Hallel הלל —
    recital of the Hallel, traditionally recited on festivals; drinking of the fourth cup of wine
  15. Nirtzah נירצה —
    conclusion

These 15 parts parallel the 15 steps in the Temple in Jerusalem on which the Levites stood during Temple services, and which were memorialized in the 15 Psalms (#120-134) known as Shir HaMa’alot (Hebrew: שיר המעלות‎, "Songs of Ascent").

The seder is replete with questions, answers, and unusual practices (e.g. the recital of Kiddush which is not immediately followed by the blessing over bread, which is the traditional procedure for all other holiday meals) to arouse the interest and curiosity of the children at the table. The children are also rewarded with nuts and candies when they ask questions and participate in the discussion of the Exodus and its aftermath. Likewise, they are encouraged to search for the afikoman, the piece of matzo which is the last thing eaten at the seder. Audience participation and interaction is the rule, and many families’ seders last long into the night with animated discussions and much singing. The seder concludes with additional songs of praise and faith printed in the Haggadah, including Chad Gadya ("One Little Kid" or "One Little Goat").

Passover in Sermons, Liturgy, and Song

The story of Passover, with its message that slaves can go free, and that the future can be better than the present, has inspired a number of religious sermons, prayers, and songs — including spirituals (what used to be called "Negro Spirituals"), within the American African-American community.

Rabbi Philip R. Alstat, an early leader of Conservative Judaism, known for his fiery rhetoric and powerful oratory skills, wrote and spoke in 1939 about the power of the Passover story during the rise of Nazi persecution and terror:

Perhaps in our generation the counsel of our Talmudic sages may seem superfluous, for today the story of our enslavement in Egypt is kept alive not only by ritualistic symbolism, but even more so by tragic realism. We are the contemporaries and witnesses of its daily re-enactment. Are not our hapless brethren in the German Reich eating "the bread of affliction"? Are not their lives embittered by complete disenfranchisement and forced labor? Are they not lashed mercilessly by brutal taskmasters behind the walls of concentration camps? Are not many of their men-folk being murdered in cold blood? Is not the ruthlessness of the Egyptian Pharaoh surpassed by the sadism of the Nazi dictators?

And yet, even in this hour of disaster and degradation, it is still helpful to "visualize oneself among those who had gone forth out of Egypt." It gives stability and equilibrium to the spirit. Only our estranged kinsmen, the assimilated, and the de-Judaized, go to pieces under the impact of the blow….But those who visualize themselves among the groups who have gone forth from the successive Egypts in our history never lose their sense of perspective, nor are they overwhelmed by confusion and despair…. It is this faith, born of racial experience and wisdom, which gives the oppressed the strength to outlive the oppressors and to endure until the day of ultimate triumph when we shall "be brought forth from bondage unto freedom, from sorrow unto joy, from mourning unto festivity, from darkness unto great light, and from servitude unto redemption.

    

References

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Passover… 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover

Think Exist: Passover Quotes…
http://thinkexist.com/quotes/with/keyword/passover/

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Good Friday represents the “anti-climax” of Holy Week, the day on which Jesus was betrayed by Judus, tried, and crucified on the Cross. To some this represents the low point of the week, but to others it represents the hope of the future in that the resurrection of Christ from the dead gives hope to the believer of his/her own resurrection at the second-coming of Christ. Let us take time to worship and thank the Lord for his gift of the Lamb of God that took away our sins, as death could not keep him down, but he overcame it on Easter morning.  GLB

    

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
— Bible, I Peter 2:24

“The cross was two pieces of dead wood; and a helpless, unresisting Man was nailed to it; yet it was mightier than the world, and triumphed, and will ever triumph over it.”
— Augustus William Hare

“All His life long Christ was the light of the world, but the very noontide hour of His glory was that hour when the shadow of eclipse lay over all the land, and He hung on the Cross dying in the dark.”
— Author Unknown

“At His eventide "it was light," and, "He Endured the Cross, despising the shame" and, lo! the shame flashed up into the very brightness of glory, and the very ignominy and the suffering were "the jewels of His crown.”
— Author Unknown

“Exalt the Cross! God has hung the destiny of the race upon it. Other things we may do in the realm of ethics, and on the lines of philanthropic reforms; but our main duty converges into setting that one glorious beacon of salvation, Calvary’s Cross, before the gaze of every immortal soul.”
— Theodore Ledyard Cuyler

“So shall we join the disciples of our Lord, keeping faith in Him in spite of the crucifixion, and making ready, by our loyalty to Him in the days of His darkness, for the time when we shall enter into His triumph in the days of His light. And the beauty of it is that the same method runs throughout the disciples’ work which ran through His work.”
— Phillips Brooks

“When God’s children pass under the shadow of the cross of Calvary, they know that through that shadow lies their passage to the great white throne. For them Gethsemane is as paradise. God fills it with sacred presences; its solemn silence is broken by the music of tender promises, its awful darkness softened and brightened by the sunlight of Heavenly faces and the music of angel wings.”
— Frederic William Farrar

“Yet once more that cross moves closer, and yet more intensely and eagerly He who hangs upon it seems to speak to us, and the burden of His words is: ‘I bring to you that which is highest and best for time and eternity; I bring to you the assurance that there is no grief and no sorrow that is not always in the Father’s sight and may not be turned into blessing. I bring to you a power by which evil thoughts and tendencies may be destroyed. I bring to you whose memories are full of sad and bad recollections the assurance that no life can have been so wicked, no past so foul, no strength so far gone as to cut off from the love of God and His willingness to save.’ ”
— Amory Howe Bradford

  

Holy Week: Good Friday & the Crucifixion

Christ_Carrying_the_Cross_1580Good Friday, also called Holy Friday, Black Friday, Great Friday, is a holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, his death at Calvary, and his Resurrection from the grave [he is risen]. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and often coincides with the Jewish observance of Passover.

Based on the scriptural details of the Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus, the Crucifixion of Jesus was most probably on a Friday. The estimated year of Good Friday is AD 33, by two different groups, and originally as AD 34 by Isaac Newton via the differences between the Biblical and Julian calendars and the crescent of the moon. A third method, using a completely different astronomical approach based on a lunar Crucifixion darkness and eclipse model (consistent with Apostle Peter’s reference to a "moon of blood" in Acts 2:20) arrives at the same date, namely Friday April 3, AD 33.

Biblical accounts

Gustave_Doré_-_The_Holy_Bible_-_Plate_CXLI,_The_Judas_Kiss "The Judas Kiss" by
Gustave Doré, 1866.

According to the accounts in the Gospels, Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane by the Temple Guards through the guidance of his disciple, Judas Iscariot. Judas received money (30 pieces of silver) (Matthew 26:14-16) for betraying Jesus and told the guards that whomever he kisses is the one they are to arrest. Jesus is brought to the house of Annas, who is the father-in-law of the current high priest, Caiaphas. There he is interrogated with little result, and sent bound to Caiaphas the high priest, where the Sanhedrin had assembled (John 18:1-24).

Conflicting testimony against Jesus is brought forth by many witnesses, to which Jesus answers nothing. Finally the high priest adjures Jesus to respond under solemn oath, saying "I adjure you, by the Living God, to tell us, are you the Anointed One, the Son of God?" Jesus testifies in the affirmative, "You have said it, and in time you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty, coming on the clouds of Heaven." The high priest condemns Jesus for blasphemy, and the Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus concurs with a sentence of death (Matthew 26:57-66). Peter, waiting in the courtyard, also denies Jesus three times to bystanders while the interrogations were proceeding. Jesus already knew that Peter would deny him three times. See the article Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus regarding the two trials, one at night, the other in the morning and how their timing may affect the day of Good Friday.

Romans A Good Friday procession in Bombay by Indian Roman Catholics,
depicting the Way of the Cross

In the morning, the whole assembly brings Jesus to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, under charges of subverting the nation, opposing taxes to Caesar, and making himself a king (Luke 23:1-2). Pilate authorizes the Jewish leaders to judge Jesus according to their own Law and execute sentencing; however, the Jewish leaders reply that they are not allowed by the Romans to carry out a sentence of death (John 18:31).

Pilate questions Jesus, and tells the assembly that there is no basis for sentencing. Upon learning that Jesus is from Galilee, Pilate refers the case to the ruler of Galilee, King Herod, who was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. Herod questions Jesus but receives no answer; Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate. Pilate tells the assembly that neither he nor Herod have found guilt in Jesus; Pilate resolves to have Jesus whipped and released (Luke 23:3-16).

It was a custom during the feast of Passover for the Romans to release one prisoner as requested by the Jews. Pilate asks the crowd whom they would like to be released. Under the guidance of the chief priests, the crowd asks for Barabbas, who had been imprisoned for committing murder during an insurrection. Pilate asks what they would have him do with Jesus, and they demand, "Crucify him" (Mark 15:6-14). Pilate’s wife had seen Jesus in a dream earlier that day; she forewarns Pilate to "have nothing to do with this righteous man" (Matthew 27:19).

Pilate has Jesus flogged, then brings him out to the crowd to release him. The chief priests inform Pilate of a new charge, demanding Jesus be sentenced to death "because he claimed to be God’s son." This possibility filled Pilate with fear, and he brought Jesus back inside the palace and demanded to know from where he came (John 19:1-9).

Eccehomo1 Antonio Ciseri’s depiction of
Ecce Homo with Jesus and
Pontius Pilate,
19th century.

Coming before the crowd one last time, Pilate declares Jesus innocent, washing his own hands in water to show he has no part in this condemnation. Nevertheless, Pilate hands Jesus over to be crucified in order to forestall a riot (Matthew 27:24-26) and ultimately to keep his job. The sentence written is "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Jesus carries his cross to the site of execution (assisted by Simon of Cyrene), called the place of the Skull, or "Golgotha" in Hebrew and in Latin "Calvary". There he is crucified along with two criminals (John 19:17-22).

Jesus agonizes on the cross for six hours. During his last 3 hours on the cross, from noon to 3pm, there is darkness over the whole land.[9] With a loud cry, Jesus gives up his spirit. There is an earthquake, tombs break open, and the curtain in the Temple is torn from top to bottom. The centurion on guard at the site of crucifixion declares, "Truly this was God’s Son!" (Matthew 27:45-54)

Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin and secret follower of Jesus, who had not consented to his condemnation, goes to Pilate to request the body of Jesus (Luke 23:50-52). Another secret follower of Jesus and member of the Sanhedrin named Nicodemus brought about a hundred pound weight mixture of spices and helped wrap the body of Christ (John 19:39-40). Pilate asks confirmation from the centurion whether Jesus is dead (Mark 15:44). A soldier pierced the side of Jesus with a lance causing blood and water to flow out (John 19:34), and the centurion informs Pilate that Jesus is dead (Mark 15:45).

Joseph of Arimathea takes the body of Jesus, wraps it in a clean linen shroud, and places it in his own new tomb that had been carved in the rock (Matthew 27:59-60) in a garden near the site of crucifixion. Nicodemus (John 3:1) also came bringing 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes, and places them in the linen with the body of Jesus, according to Jewish burial customs (John 19:39-40). They rolled a large rock over the entrance of the tomb (Matthew 27:60). Then they returned home and rested, because at sunset began Shabbat (Luke 23:54-56). On the third day, Sunday, which is now known as Easter Sunday (or Pascha), Jesus rose from the dead.

In the Roman Catholic Church

The Catholic Church treats Good Friday as a fast day, which in the Latin Rite of the Church is understood as having only one full meal (but smaller than a regular meal – often substituting meat with fish) and two collations (a smaller repast, two of which together do not equal one full meal). In countries where Good Friday is not a day of rest from work, the afternoon liturgical service is usually put off until a few hours after the recommended time of 3 p.m.

St.Martin-Karfreitag36 Crucifix prepared for veneration
on Good Friday.

The Roman Rite ordinarily has no celebration of Mass after that of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening until that of the Easter Vigil unless a special exemption is granted for rare solemn or grave occasions by the Vatican or the local bishop, and the only sacraments celebrated are Baptism (for those in danger of death), Penance and Anointing of the Sick. While there is no celebration of the Eucharist, Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful only in the Service of the Passion of the Lord, but can be taken at any hour to the sick who are unable to attend this service.

The altar remains completely bare, without cross, candlesticks or altar cloths. It is customary to empty the holy water fonts in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil. Traditionally, no bells are rung on Good Friday or Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil.

The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord takes place in the afternoon, ideally at three o’clock, but for pastoral reasons a later hour may be chosen. The vestments used are red (more commonly) or black (more traditionally). Before 1970, they were black except for the Communion part of the rite, for which violet was used, and before 1955 black was used throughout. If a bishop celebrates, he wears a plain mitre.

The liturgy consists of three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion.

The first part, the Liturgy of the Word, consists of the reading or chanting of Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, and the Passion account from the Gospel of John, which is often divided between more than one singer or reader. This part concludes with a series of prayers: for the Church, the Pope, the clergy and laity of the Church, those preparing for baptism, the unity of Christians, the Jewish people, those who do not believe in Christ, those who do not believe in God, those in public office, those in special need.

The second part of the Good Friday liturgy is the Veneration of the Cross: a crucifix, not necessarily the one that is normally on or near the altar at other times, is solemnly displayed to the congregation and then venerated by them, individually if possible, while special chants are sung.

Ecce_Mass,_Good_Friday,_Our_Lady_of_Lourdes,_Philadelphia Communion from the Blessed
Sacrament on Good Friday
(Our Lady of Lourdes,
Philadelphia).

The third and last part is Holy Communion according to a rite based on that of the final part of Mass, beginning with the Our Father, but omitting the ceremony of "Breaking of the Bread" and its related chant, the "Agnus Dei." The Eucharist, consecrated at the Mass of Holy Thursday is distributed at this service. Before the reform of Pope Pius XII, only the priest received Communion in the framework of what was called the "Mass of the Presanctified", which included the usual Offertory prayers, with the placing of wine in the chalice, but which omitted the Canon of the Mass.

Priest and people then depart in silence, and the altar cloth is removed, leaving the altar bare except for the cross and two or four candlesticks.

GoodFr_CroosWay_Colloseo The Way of the Cross,
celebrated at the Colosseum
in Rome on Good Friday.

In addition to the prescribed liturgical service, the Stations of the Cross are often prayed either in the church or outside, and a prayer service may be held from midday to 3.00 p.m., known as the Three Hours’ Agony. In countries such as Malta, Italy, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Spain, processions with statues representing the Passion of Christ are held.

In Polish churches, a tableau of Christ’s Tomb is unveiled in the sanctuary. Many of the faithful spend long hours into the night grieving at the Tomb, where it is customary to kiss the wounds on the Lord’s body. A life-size figure of Christ lying in his tomb is widely visited by the faithful, especially on Holy Saturday. The tableaux may include flowers, candles, figures of angels standing watch, and the three crosses atop Mt Calvary, and much more. Each parish strives to come up with the most artistically and religiously evocative arrangement in which the Blessed Sacrament, draped in a filmy veil, is prominently displayed.

Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ

The Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation for the sufferings and insults that Jesus suffered during his Passion on Good Friday. These Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ do not involve a petition for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair the sins against Jesus. Some such prayers are provided in the Raccolta Catholic prayer book (approved by a Decree of 1854, and published by the Holy See in 1898) which also includes prayers as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary.

In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor on reparations, Pope Pius XI called Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ a duty for Catholics and referred to them as "some sort of compensation to be rendered for the injury" with respect to the sufferings of Jesus.

Pope John Paul II referred to Acts of Reparation as the "unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified".

Anglican Communion

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer did not specify a particular rite to be observed on Good Friday but local custom came to mandate an assortment of services, including the Seven Last Words from the Cross and a three-hour service consisting of Matins, Ante-communion (using the Reserved Sacrament in high church parishes) and Evensong. In recent times revised editions of the Prayer Book and Common Worship have re-introduced pre-Reformation forms of observance of Good Friday corresponding to those in today’s Roman Catholic Church, with special nods to the rites that had been observed in the Church of England prior to the Henrican, Edwardian and Elizabethan reforms, including Creeping to the Cross.

Other Protestant Traditions

Many Protestant communities hold special services on this day as well. In the German Lutheran tradition from the 16th to the 20th century, this was the most important holiday, and abstention from all worldly works was expected. Lutheranism had no restrictions on the celebration of Holy Communion on Good Friday; on the contrary, it was a prime day on which to receive Holy Communion, and services were often accentuated by special music such as the St Matthew Passion by Lutheran Johann Sebastian Bach. Mid-20th century Lutheran liturgical practice moved away from Holy Communion celebrated on Good Friday, and among the major North American Lutheran bodies today, Holy Communion may not be celebrated on Good Friday, but rather on Maundy Thursday. However, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod in its official service book, Lutheran Service Book, does permit the offering of the Eucharist also on Good Friday. Moravians hold a Lovefeast on Good Friday as they receive Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday. The Methodist Church also commemorates Good Friday with a service of worship, often based on the Seven Last Words from the Cross.

Some Baptist, Pentecostal, many Sabbatarian and non-denominational churches oppose the observance of Good Friday, instead observing the Crucifixion on Wednesday to coincide with the Jewish sacrifice of the Passover Lamb (which Christians believe is an Old Testament pointer to Jesus Christ). A Wednesday Crucifixion of Jesus Christ allows for Christ to be in the tomb ("heart of the earth") for three days and three nights as he told the Pharisees he would be (Matthew 12:40), rather than two nights and a day if he had died on a Friday.

Scriptural Reading

Our deliverance is at hand. In this reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, St. Paul explains that the New Covenant, like the Old, had to be sealed in blood. This time, however, the blood is not the blood of calves and goats that Moses offered at the foot of Mount Sinai, but the Blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Christ is both the Sacrifice and the High Priest; by His death, He has entered Heaven, where He "may appear now in the presence of God for us."

Hebrews 9:11-28

But Christ, being come an high priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hand, that is, not of this creation: Neither by the blood of goats, or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption.

For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?

And therefore he is the mediator of the new testament: that by means of his death, for the redemption of those trangressions, which were under the former testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, the death of the testator must of necessity come in. For a testament is of force, after men are dead: otherwise it is as yet of no strength, whilst the testator liveth. Whereupon neither was the first indeed dedicated without blood.

For when every commandment of the law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying: This is the blood of the testament, which God hath enjoined unto you. The tabernacle also and all the vessels of the ministry, in like manner, he sprinkled with blood. And almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood: and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

It is necessary therefore that the patterns of heavenly things should be cleansed with these: but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Jesus is not entered into the holies made with hands, the patterns of the true: but into heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God for us. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holies, every year with the blood of others: For then he ought to have suffered often from the beginning of the world: but now once at the end of ages, he hath appeared for the destruction of sin, by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment: So also Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; the second time he shall appear without sin to them that expect him unto salvation.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

      

References

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Holy Week… 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Week

Wikipedia: Good Friday… 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday

About.com: Scriptural Reading for the Thursday of Holy Week…
http://catholicism.about.com/od/lentenreadings/qt/Reading_FrHW.htm

GIGA Quote: Good Friday…
http://www.giga-usa.com/quotes/topics/good_friday_t001.htm