Friday, April 6, 2012
Father Bob left his office to prepare for the evening Good Friday mass. It had been a long week, with normal interruption of day to day life. After 20 years as a priest, he felt like he was going through the motions, but the service couldn’t be avoided. He ran into his assistant talking to the choir director, discussing the illness of a choir member. He spoke to both of them and then stepped into the Sacristy to prepare.
As Bob gathered the other clergy and choir for the pre service prayer, a strange feeling came over him. He looked out the window and saw the dark clouds. This service was going to be unlike any other. He took a deep breath, said the prayer and entered the sanctuary. The congregation inside was small and silent. It didn’t matter . They were here. The procession went up the aisle and took their places at the altar.
The service began with the Stations of the Cross liturgy. There were nine plaques lining the walls in a counter clockwise direction, each depicting a portion of the road to The Mount. Father Bob said the opening collect and invited the crowd to follow him along the path.
At each station, a Cantor chanted an opening verse and Father Bob and the assistant took turns reciting scripture. As the service progressed, the weather outside became worse and worse. The rain pounded on the windows and roof. The wind could be heard whipping around the point of the steeple. And a feeling of trepidation could be visibly felt in the crowd.
The Seventh Station was at the corner of the sanctuary next to the emergency exit. As the assistant said the words “’It is done.’ And he gave up his spirit.”, there was a loud thunderclap. A burst of wind came up strong enough to open the fire door that was next to Father Bob, and a collective gasp came out of the crowd. A child yelled out “Don’t go Father Bob!” Then the power went off.
Everyone stood in silence for a couple of minutes. Father Bob then reached over and closed the open door. Candles were found and lit and the service was finished. The congregation left the sanctuary in silence, knowing they had been witness to something that could not be explained.