I didn’t have much of a chance to post this weekend, but this has been brewing in my head since Thursday. We sang the hymn “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.”

O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown.
O sacred Head, what glory,
What bliss, till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call Thee mine. (emphasis mine)

After all this time of writing this blog, I’ve always assumed the word “joy” to be a noun. But in this hymn, it’s a VERB! So over to the dictionary I go (thank you dictionary.com!).

joy

noun

1.the emotion of great delight or happiness causedby something exceptionally good or satisfying;keen pleasure; elation: She felt the joy of seeingher son’s success.
2.a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight;something or someone greatly valued orappreciated: Her prose style is a pure joy.
3.the expression or display of glad feeling; festivegaiety.
4.a state of happiness or felicity.
verb (used without object)
5.to feel joy; be glad; rejoice.
verb (used with object)
6.Obsolete . to gladden.
Two of the definitions are for joy as a verb. Granted, one is obsolete. I can’t imagine saying that I “joyed” someone else. But to feel joy, to be glad, to rejoice, I can say that I joy. And I do. This Holy Week walk has been one of pure joy. I joyed in taking communion on Thursday, in the walk to the cross on Friday, in the celebration of the resurrection on Sunday.
I did spend some time crying on Friday. The service was quite powerful. We had a Tenebrae service where the darkness increased through reading the seven last words of Christ. Each reading was accompanied by a congregational hymn and a choral piece. Finally, the last Word was read: “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” The Bible was slammed shut to represent the closing of the tomb. The lights were all but out. The choir sang a beautiful rendition of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (full disclosure: I am in the choir). Immediately after, I stepped forward and sang the first three verses of “Were You There?”
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
O-o-o-oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
O-o-o-oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
O-o-o-oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
During the first two verses, I stayed calm, but in the middle of the third I pictured my children’s graves, and nearly lost it. At the end of the service I went downstairs and cried in the back of the sanctuary until almost everyone had left. That’s the advantage of getting emotional on Good Friday in a Lutheran church – we traditionally leave in silence, so I didn’t have to try to talk to anyone. I had time to regain my composure before helping set up for Sunday.
For you Lutherans out there who have only attended Holy Week services before and never helped, I’m sorry to say that those of us who are in church work or married to them don’t leave in silence. We wait for you to leave and then we start the work of setting up for the next service. It’s hard to do that without talking to the folks helping out. Especially when you have two guys maneuvering long poles with hooks to remove the black and purple draped fabric from the cross in the front and replace it with a white cloth.
One of the other things I appreciated about the silence is that my solo didn’t get a ton of compliments that night. I sing for the pure joy of it – I joy in singing! Compliments make me uncomfortable.
Thank you for “joying” me here. Having all of you to write to brings me such joy.
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