On Holy and Great Friday the Church commemorates the Passion of Christ, the day on which He was hung on the cross, died and was buried. It is a day filled with emotion, and rich in tradition. Churches are filled with men, women and children preparing themselves and the Church for the Feast of Pascha. Whether it be oversized bunches of flowers, overflowing baskets of colored eggs, or the humming sound of the vacuum, today the Church is like a busy bee hive of activity. But today has got to be more than just activity.
Part of Holy Friday is the tradition of Holy Friday Youth Retreats, a time for our youth to learn about the traditions and meaning of the Passion of Our Lord. We teach our youth what the Cross is in our lives. We teach them why we decorate the Church. We teach them about Holy Icons and maybe even why we each hold lit candles on Saturday night. But do we teach them to pray?
Holy Friday, despite all the commotion of preparations needed for the Feast, is a day of prayer at the foot of the Cross of Christ. If we sign our youth out of school and do not teach them how to pray, and that we should pray, then we have lost an important opportunity. We run the risk of forgetting why we are even decorating the Cross in the first place.
There is no Liturgy on Holy Friday following the Holy Tradition based on the Gospel story of the Mystical Supper. “I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom,” as Christ said to His disciples. The next time the Church will celebrate Holy Communion is tomorrow morning as the Church celebrates what is known as the “First Resurrection” or the Descent into Hades by Christ to raise Adam and Eve.
In the meantime, Christ is hanging on the Cross today. Go and pray with Him in His Church.