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It's not often I recommend particular Good Friday services, but I have two this year. Good Friday observances reflect upon the darkest side of Christ's life, his trial, death, and burial.
This is not a time for magnificant outpourings of spectacular music and stagey performances such as I witnessed at last year's Citywide Good Friday service at West High Auditorium. No, for true Christians, it can only be a time of quiet and serious reflection of the nature of the price the Son of Man paid for man's redemption. Scripture records only pain, suffering, and fearsome displays as the life of Christ slowly came to an end.
In keeping with this theme, I recommend two local church presentations for the public in keeping with this solemn time.
Rutter Requiem at St. John UMC
St. John United Methodist Church is presenting John Rutter's Requiem with choir and instrumental ensemble. St. John's choir is an excellent choir superbly led by Karen Horton, the choirmaster and organist. This fine unpaid choir has been practicing for months to present this musical offering at the conclusion of Holy Week. I guarantee this beautiful and lyrical piece, adapted from the Roman Catholic requiem form, will bring tears to the eyes of many listeners. Ms. Horton, a longtime music teacher at ASD, will be retiring at the end of the year. This will be the local public's few remaining opportunities to observe her fine directing. The performance commences at 7 p.m.
Seven Last Words at All Saints Episcopal
All Saints Episcopal Church will present the "Seven Words From the Cross" from 12 - 3 p.m. on Good Friday. Based on the seven last words of Christ, it will present talks by various local community, scripture, hymns, and musical keyboard offerings by Maestro Robert Ashens of the Anchorage Opera. A perennial favorite, this program will offer a midday worship and reflection opportunity at this fine downtown church.
I'm so pleased that many Anchorage churches honor Good Friday and infuse it with traditional meaning, while adding new emphasis of its relevance for today's Christian. There are many meaningful offerings at local churches. I selected these two as they offer unusual opportunities for this most solemn of days for Christians. Actually, the significance of Good Friday and Easter are the only reason we call ourselves Christians.