Good Friday Worship
April 2, 2021
Joyce Rhodes, organ
“At the Cross” from “The Seven Last Words of Christ”
~ Theodore Dubois
“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”
~ arr. Diane Bish, Gordon Young
On this dark day, as the shadows deepen,
We come to be present with Jesus.
With the glory of Palm Sunday behind us and the victory of Easter not yet come, we gather together.
In this world that is at once beautiful and holy and tragic,
We seek to be present with all who suffer.
In the dark valleys of life, when sorrow threatens to overwhelm,
We long for a safe and sacred space to sit with our grief and our questions. Jesus Christ, holy friend, we know that you are here with us.
Let us be here with you. Amen.
Jesus spent his life teaching us the meaning of love. Through word and deed Jesus showed us how to love God and to love one another. He fed the hungry. He healed the sick. He invited the women and the children and the tax collectors and the sinners to come to his table. He broke bread with the least and the lost and shared the cup of redemption with them all. He crossed boundaries of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, and class. He challenged religious authority, and he scoffed at pomposity and self-absorbed grandeur. He called out the hypocrites. He admonished the scribes and the Pharisees for their hardened hearts. He brought a simple message: Love God, love yourself, and love one another.
We gather in the name of Jesus and remember the way that he showed us. We gather to remember not just his death, but his life.
Even as they were sharing this sacred meal together, the disciples were not of one heart. Jesus knew that he was asking much from these men, and he knew that they would fail him. Judas had already agreed to betray Jesus to the religious authorities. Was he angry at some slight? Was he disappointed that Jesus would not raise an army against the Romans? Was he upset with the value of the oil that the woman “wasted” when she anointed Jesus? We will never know Judas’ heart, but Jesus knew that he would be betrayed. And did Jesus do with the man that would betray him? He broke bread with him. All of the disciples were deeply saddened, and they asked:
I would never betray you, Lord. It’s not me, is it?
On the night in which Jesus was betrayed by his friend, he took the bread, gave thanks to God, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: “This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
When the supper was over he took the cup, gave thanks to God, gave it to his disciples and said, “Drink from this all of you, this is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink of it, in remembrance of me.”
And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and the cup. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ. By your Holy Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world.
Communion in silence
When the holy meal had been shared, the disciples began to argue over which one would be the greatest. Even here, at the end of their time together, they did not seem to understand what Jesus had been teaching them all along. He reminded them that to be great in the Kingdom of God meant to serve. After Jesus’ talk of betrayal, the disciples’ argument, and Jesus’ rebuke of them, the disciples seemed to be growing anxious. Peter proclaimed:
“Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
And Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day until you have denied three times that you know me.”
Anthem: Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley/Nobody Knows Riverside Church Choir (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jQJeu0N9XQ)
Afterwards, Jesus led his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked them to pray for him, for he wanted to be alone. There, Jesus prayed. He asked his friends to keep watch, but they kept falling asleep. He prayed for another way out. He prayed in anguish. He prayed as a man who could feel pain, who would be hurt by betrayal, who would be scarred by the scourge, and would bleed when nails were driven into his arms and legs. He prayed as a man who knew that if he followed God’s will, he would be charged, convicted, mocked, humiliated, abandoned, and nailed to a cross. Knowing all of this full well he prayed, “Not my will, but yours.” Then he stood up for all that he had lived for. When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come to into the time of trial”
Judas said to Jesus, “Rabbi” and kissed him. Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
“Go to Dark Gethsemane” ~ UMH #290 vs. 1
A reader extinguishes the first candle.
So the band of soldiers and their captain
and the officers of the Judean authorities seized Jesus and bound him.
First they led him to Annas;
for he was the father–in–law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had given counsel to the religious authorities
that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
The second candle is extinguished.
Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple.
As this disciple was known to the high priest,
he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus,
while Peter stood outside at the door.
So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest,
went out and spoke to the woman who guarded the gate,
and brought Peter in.
The woman who guarded the gate said to Peter,
“Are not you also one of this man’s disciples?”
He said, “I am not.”
Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire,
because it was cold,
and they were standing and warming themselves;
Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
The third candle is extinguished.
The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world;
I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple,
where all Jewish people come together;
I have said nothing secretly. Why do you ask me?
Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them;
they know what I said.”
When he had said this,
one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying,
“Is that how you answer the high priest?”
Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong;
but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”
Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
“What Wondrous Love Is This” ~ UMH #292 vs. 1
The fourth candle is extinguished.
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself.
They said to him, “Are not you also one of his disciples?”
He denied it and said, “I am not.”
One of the servants of the high priest,
a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked,
“Did I not see you in the garden with him?”
Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed.
The fifth candle is extinguished.
Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters.
It was early.
They themselves did not enter the headquarters,
so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.
So Pilate went out to them and said,
“What accusation do you bring against this man?”
They answered him,
“If this man were not an evildoer,
we would not have handed him over.”
Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
The religious authorities said to him,
“It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.”
This was to fulfill the word which Jesus had spoken
to show by what death he was to die.
The sixth candle is extinguished.
Pilate entered the headquarters again and called Jesus, and said to him,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord,
or did others say it to you about me?”
Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew?
Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me;
what have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world;
if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight,
that I might not be handed over to the religious authorities;
but my kingship is not from the world.”
Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.
For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world,
to bear witness to the truth.
Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
“What Wondrous Love Is This” ~ UMH #292 vs. 2
The seventh candle is extinguished.
After Pilate had said this,
he went to the religious authorities again, and told them,
“I find no crime in him.
But you have a custom
that I should release one man for you at the Passover;
will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a robber.
The eighth candle is extinguished.
Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.
And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head,
and arrayed him in a purple robe;
they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
and struck him with their hands.
Pilate went out again, and said to them,
“See, I am bringing him out to you,
that you may know that I find no crime in him.”
So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.
Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”
When the chief priests and the officers saw him,
they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.”
The religious authorities answered him,
“We have a law, and by that law he ought to die,
because he has made himself the Son of God.”
When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid;
he entered the headquarters again and said to Jesus,
“Where are you from?”
But Jesus gave no answer.
Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you,
and power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered him,
“You would have no power over me
unless it had been given you from above;
therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”
“Go to Dark Gethsemane” ~ UMH #290 vs. 2
The ninth candle is extinguished.
Upon this Pilate sought to release him,
but the religious authorities cried out,
“If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend;
everyone who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.”
When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out
and sat down on the judgment seat
at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gab’ · ba· tha .
Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover;
it was about the sixth hour.
He said to the religious authorities, “Behold your King!”
They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!”
Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
They handed him over to them to be crucified.
“Were You There” ~ UMH# 288 vs. 1
The tenth candle is extinguished.
So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross,
to the place called the place of a skull,
which is called in Hebrew, Gol’ ·go·tha .
There they crucified him,
and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross;
it read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
Many of the Judeans read this title,
for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city;
and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.
The Jewish chief priests then said to Pilate,
“Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’
but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'”
Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
“Were You There” ~ UMH #288 vs. 2
The eleventh candle is extinguished.
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus
they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier;
also his tunic.
But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom;
so they said to one another,
“Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.”
This was to fulfill the scripture,
“They parted my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
The twelfth candle is extinguished.
So the soldiers did this.
But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother,
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother,
and the disciple whom he loved standing near,
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”
And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
The thirteenth candle is extinguished.
After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished,
said (to fulfill the scripture), “I thirst.”
A bowl full of vinegar stood there;
so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop
and held it to his mouth.
When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”;
and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Joyce Rhodes, organ
“Beneath the Cross of Jesus”
~ arr. Frederick C. Maker
The fourteenth candle is extinguished.
Since it was the day of Preparation,
in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross
on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day),
the religious authorities asked Pilate that their legs might be broken,
and that they might be taken away.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first,
and of the other who had been crucified with him;
but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs.
But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear,
and at once there came out blood and water.
He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true,
and he knows that he tells the truth—that you also may believe.
For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled,
“Not a bone of him shall be broken.”
And again another scripture says,
“They shall look on him whom they have pierced.”
“Were You There” ~ UMH # 288 vs. 3
The Christ candle is taken away or extinguished. A loud noise is made by a cymbal or other means. The last section is read in darkness.
After this Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus,
but secretly, for fear of the religious authorities,
asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus,
and Pilate gave him leave.
So he came and took away his body.
Nicodemus also, who had at first come to him by night,
came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes,
about a hundred pounds’ weight.
They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices,
as is the burial custom of the Jews.
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden,
and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid.
So because of the Jewish day of Preparation,
as the tomb was close at hand,
they laid Jesus there.
“Were You There” ~ #UMH vs. 5
Go from this service not with grief and sorrow but with hope and even joy
It’s Friday but Sunday is coming
Go into the day not in defeat and loss but in awe at what God has done for us
It’s Friday but Sunday is coming
Go in peace, God has made a way for us. Go with the assurance of new life and light.
It’s Friday but Sunday is coming