By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Sadness surrounded the death of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago and that was the focus of the Good Friday service at First Presbyterian Church in Goshen.
The emphasis of Christ’s death adds to the significance of Easter for Georgia Webster.
“Easter has more meaning if I come to the Good Friday Service first when they talk about the sad happenings (of Christ),” Webster said. “And then on Easter morning, I am exuberant because things have worked out so well (the resurrection of Jesus.)”
Webster said she’s a member of the church and has attended the Good Friday service for years.
Helen Kornblum was enjoying a cup of coffee with some friends prior to the service in the church’s fellowship area. She’s attended services in the past at other churches, but this was her first time at First Presbyterian, she said.
Why does she attend Good Friday services?
“It helps to remember what Easter is about. It’s not about candy, rabbits and Easter eggs,” Kornblum said. “It strengthens your and faith and it just makes you feel good to go.”
Stephanie Green and Robert Rappatta were first-time attendees, as well.
“I’m new to Goshen and this is my first Good Friday service in Goshen,” Green said. “I came because it prepares me for Easter. It sets in mind the resurrection on Sunday.”
There were 50 or more worshippers in attendance at the 12:10 p.m. service. An organ prelude preceded readings, prayers and songs surrounding the meaning of Good Friday. The Rev. Anna Parkinson gave a message on the day hope died, referring to the death of Jesus.
“Holy week sure is a roller coaster, isn’t it?” Parkinson, associate pastor at First Presbyterian, asked the audience.
She described the Jews being in high spirits on Sunday during Holy Week with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and ending on a low note with his death on Friday.
“We hold services on Thursday and Friday so we can in some way participate and remember the journey Jesus took during that week,” Parkinson said. “You could feel the energy when Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem and you can imagine the Jewish leaders being on pins and needles when Jesus of Nazareth attracted huge gatherings. Even Pontius Pilate traveled to Jerusalem every year to squelch any notion of a rebellion by the Jews.”
She said the Jews were looking for a king to rescue them from the tyranny of the Romans at that time.
“The Romans knew Jesus would not stop what he was doing and the only way to stop him was to kill him,” Parkinson said. “By Friday morning, he was led out of town with two other thieves to be crucified. All the hope held by his disciples and others died on the cross that day. It was the hope that God had not forgotten them. It was hope that the God of the Universe had not abandoned them. We mark the day that hope died (Good Friday.)”
The Reverend told the audience that even though hope was crushed that day — we know how the story turns out.
“Back then, they did not. My hope today is that for just a short while, you will take a moment to pause and reflect,” she said. “God has not abandoned you.”