Newmaker Notes

Herman de Jong


A Good Friday

I was eighteen when, on Easter Day,
I confessed my faith in God the Father,
in Jesus, His only begotten Son, and
in the Holy Spirit, who proceeded
from the Father and the Son.

I wanted my 'yes' to be so distinct,
that my Dad and Mom could hear it too.
Instead I just nodded my head,
for I remembered...

Good Friday morning.
I climbed the spiralling stairs
to the organ loft above the pulpit.
Young and inexperienced,
I needed to practice
for the evening service.
I thought my prelude should be
"O Sacred Head Now Wounded",
but the possibilities
of that mournful melody eluded me.

A bleak morning sun
threw flecks of diffused colour
on the richly carved organ front.
A cross appeared above the keyboards,
the shadow of the crossed timbers
in the stained-glass windows.

My eyes fastened on that cross,
and suddenly I saw the body of Jesus
writhing in agonizing grief.
His pain-narrowed eyes looked down
on the black and white keys,
then centered on me.

Looking up to the cross,
My fingers began to wander
aimlessly over the keys, until
a shuddering wave of grief
signalled a single melody
from heart to hands.
When it returned from its journey
along the vaulted ceiling
I added a counter-tune
and suddenly, outside my own will,
the organ seemed to sing by itself,
only using my hands and feet
as necessary tools.

The sun hid behind dark clouds.
The cross disappeared...
But Jesus did not.
I sensed His Presence behind me,
but I did not dare to look.

Through my tears I scanned the stops,
pulled out the trumpet, Mixture I and II,
and the organ swelled with my longing:
"Oh, make me thine forever,
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never,
Outlive my love for Thee."

Herman de Jong

About: Newmaker Notes - writings, photos and collections - by Henry J. de Jong. Newmaker is the spirit that drives a lifetime of creativity, and is a reflection of the Creator who continues to make all things new.