Good Friday Service

The season of Lent is a time to consider Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice for our sakes.  Good Friday is a day during Lent in which we reflect together on the ultimate sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and to prepare our hearts for Easter, when we celebrate that He has risen to save us all.

Message Transcript:

Good Friday Service – 4/3/15

THE SEVEN LAST WORDS

 

MUSICAL PRELUDE – “Once and for All”- Whiteheart

 

INSTRUCTION AND PRAYER

  • The last words of Christ as he was on the cross
  • Scripture reading, a meditation
  • responsive reading, (Leader / People)
  • a candle is extinguished and a song (may or may not want to sing)
  • Exit in silence
  • pray

READING

53 Who has believed our message

and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by men,

a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.

Like one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities

and carried our sorrows,

yet we considered him stricken by God,

smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppressiona and judgment he was taken away.

And who can speak of his descendants?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people he was stricken.b

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth.

 THE FIRST WORD

“When they came to the place called “The Skull”, they nailed

Jesus to the cross there, and the two criminals, one on his

right and one on his left. Jesus said “Forgive them, Father!

They do not know what they are doing.”

“They do not know what they are doing”

They do not know? They …who killed Jesus?

Who is “they”?

It is so easy to name others

to blame others

the Romans

the crowd

Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas

they all played their part

and conspired against Jesus

or simply followed orders to maintain the peace

to keep Jesus’ kingdom from infringing on theirs.

And yet where are we when Jesus’ kingdom infringes on ours?

on our peace and our order?

on our prosperity and our security?

Where are we when the victims of our peace cry for justice?

when those disenfranchised by our order call for compassion?

when the hungry and the lonely beg us to share our prosperity

our security

our power?

Where are we when Christ is crucified among us?

Surely he should have raged

at the sinners who nailed him to the tree.

Surely he should have raged at us for the evil we do,

the evil we do both knowing and unknowing,

Yet compassion is there in the first words that he utters

He intercedes for us before the Father.

Compassion that called him into being in his mother’s womb

Compassion that compelled him to the cross

Compassion that brings incredible, unbelievable grace

Compassion that echoes through the centuries

to all who participate in the killing of Christ:

Compassion that cries out from the cross:

“Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing”                                                                                                                         

Leader: Lord Jesus – you gave your life for us.

People: You suffered and died that we might be made whole.

 SONG – Jesus Messiah

THE SECOND WORD                               

One of the criminals hanging there threw insults at him:

“Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” The other

one, however, rebuked him, saying: “Don’t you fear God? Here

we are all under the same sentence. Ours, however, is only

right, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did;

but he has done no wrong.” And he said to Jesus, “Remember

me, Jesus, when you come as King!” Jesus said to him, “I

tell you this: Today you will be in Paradise with me.”

How much are we like the first thief?

Full of anger – because we are not rescued from our sin?

Full of hate – because we suffer because of the sins of others?

 

How much do we want God to snap his fingers

And make right what we have made wrong?

What we have allowed others to make wrong?

 

How easy it is to cry “save us”

and to rail against God

when there is no magic cure

no miraculous recovery

no legions of angels

to take away pain and bring wholeness.

 

How easy it is to scorn the Messiah,

to mock the goodness of the world

and condemn the light of the world

because we are unwilling to face what we . . . we have done?

 

Yet there is goodness

There is a cure for sin

a cure that does not promise magical solutions

but promises that the pain of sin is not the end,

that when all this is over

when the suffering is finished

that the final word is not torture and defeat

but life — life springing out of the ashes

life transformed and fulfilled in Paradise.

 

To the compassionate thief

To the one who could still recognize the good in the world

To the one who tried to comfort and protect that good

To the one who sought good — Comfort was given

 

“Today, you will be in paradise with me.”

Leader: Lord Jesus – you gave your life for us.

People: You suffered and died that we might be made whole.

SONG – Humble Thyself/Awesome God

THE THIRD WORD

Standing close to Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s

sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Jesus

saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so

he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he

said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that

time the disciple took her to live in his home.

Who can grasp the grief?

the grief of Mary watching her son suffer?

the grief of Mary watching him die?

 

And who can grasp the grief of the son?

The son who must see his mother mourn?

 

What gift can a man give his mother?

What can he offer when he is gone?

How can he help her?

Hold her?

Comfort her?

Honor her?

 

“Woman, here is your son”

 

Here is one I love, to love you, and for you to love.

One who knows me

One who is my brother and who can speak of me.

One Who can hold you,

comfort you,

and honor you;

One who shares your grief

 

Blessed Savior,

who in your hour of greatest suffering

expressed compassion for your mother

and made arrangements for her care,

grant that we who seek to follow your example

may show our concern for the needs of others,

reaching out to provide for those

who suffer in our human family

Leader:   Lord Jesus – you gave your life for us.

People: You suffered and died that we might be made whole.

 SONG – Great Redeemer

THE FOURTH WORD

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over

the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour

Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Elo-i, elo-i, lama

sabach-thani?” which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou

forsaken me?”

 

Of all the agony of that tortuous day

the lacerations of the scourging

the chafing of the thorns around his head

the convulsions of his tormented, dehydrated body

as it hung in the heat all the day

Nothing reaches the depth of this anguished cry of desolation

“My God, my god, why hast thou forsaken me?”

 

Jesus, who found his purpose and strength in the presence of God

who was sustained by the immediacy of his relationship with God

and who endured all by the tangible power of God always at work

within him ,

always a center of vitality and peace,

found himself totally alone on the cross.

 

Jesus, whose very being was God,

found himself utterly,

absolutely,

despairingly,

cut off from all that gives life and breath

cut off from all that gives purpose and hope

cut off from the source of his being

cut off, even from himself

plumbing the depths of the human condition

to walk in the place of the utter absence of God,

in the place of sinners

in the place of those who reject God.

 

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

 

In these words is the central mystery of the crucifixion

which cannot be fully comprehended,

that there is no despair so deep

or evil so overwhelming

or place so far removed from joy, light, and love

from the very heart of God

that God has not been before us,

and where God cannot meet us

and bring us home.

Leader:   Lord Jesus – you gave your life for us.

People:  You suffered and died that we might be made whole.

SONG – To Know Your Name

THE FIFTH WORD

After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said

(to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.”

 

There is a kind of timelessness about hanging on a cross.

It is not a quiet death,

over in an instant in one glorious moment of martyrdom

like being torn apart by lions.

A cross is as much an instrument of torture

as it is a gallows from which to hang,

 

And as the day wears on

seconds stretch into minutes which stretch into hours

until there comes a point when time can no longer be measured

except in the gradual weakening of the body

and its ever more insistent demands

for that substance which is so vital to life

so foundational to all living things

so basic to existence as we know it: — water.

 

Water to moisten a parched mouth

Water to free a swollen tongue

Water to open a rasping throat that cannot gasp enough air.

Water to keep hope alive

to keep life alive just a few moments longer.

 

Water, to a crucified man, is life.

 

“O God, thou art my God, I seek thee,

my soul thirsts for thee;

my flesh faints for thee

as in a dry and weary land where no water is.”

 

Who can tell if these words from Psalm 63 went through Jesus mind

but a thirst for water is a thirst for life

and a thirst for life is a thirst for God

who promises streams in the desert

mighty rivers in the dry land

and living water to wash away every tear.

 

Here, at the end of it all those promises seem far away, –

distant.

And yet Jesus – forsaken by God

still clings to the memory and the hope of life.

 

“I thirst.”

Leader: Lord Jesus – you gave your life for us.

People:   You suffered and died that we might be made whole.

SONG – Wondrous Cross- Carolyn and Group

THE SIXTH WORD

A bowl was there, full of cheap wine mixed with vinegar, so

a sponge was soaked in it, put on a stick of hyssop and lifted

up to his lips. When Jesus had received the wine, he said,

“It is finished”;

What a sigh of relief!

What a cry of deliverance,

that finally,

after seemingly endless pain

and gasping torment,

it is over at last.

The suffering is ended.

The ordeal is finished

and nothing remains

but the blessed peace of the absence of all sensation.

 

When all there is, is pain

its ceasing is the greatest blessing of all

even when its ceasing comes only with death.

 

But Jesus’ cry is more than just welcoming the ending of pain

it is more than joy at the deliverance death brings.

 

He does not merely say, “it is over”

he says, “it is accomplished,

fulfilled,

achieved”

 

Jesus’ cry isn’t a cry of defeat and despair

 

It is a cry of success and triumph

– even at the moment of death –

that the race has been run

that he has endured to the end

that the strife is over

and the battle is won.

 

Jesus’ cry is a cry of relief to be sure

but it is also a cry of victory:

 

“The work I came to do is complete”

there is nothing more to add

“it is finished”

 

Leader:   Lord Jesus – you gave your life for us.

People:  You suffered and died that we might be made whole.

SONG – Lead Me To the Cross

THE SEVENTH WORD

Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into

thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he

breathed his last.

It is the end, the very end

the end of the ordeal

the end of the suffering

and Jesus

alone on the cross

tortured

exhausted

abandoned by his friends

forsaken by God

gasps for a last breath

and gathers the strength for one final cry.

 

Why would he choose to speak

so close to the end?

Why would he muster the last energy he had

to cry out with a loud voice?

Couldn’t God have heard his thoughts?

 

Unless God wasn’t the only one intended to hear.

Unless his voice was pitched loud

so that we too might hear this final dedication of his soul.

 

A dedication made despite the pain,

despite the mocking,

despite the agony,

despite the sense of horrible aloneness he felt.

 

A dedication made to God

before the resurrection,

before the victory of the kingdom,

before any assurance other than that

which faith could bring.

 

Jesus entrusts his spirit — his life —

and all that has given it meaning —

to God in faith,

even at the point of his own abandonment

when the good seems so very far away

he proclaims his faith in God,

the darkness cannot overcome it.

 

“Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit”

Leader:    Lord Jesus – you gave your life for us.

People:   You suffered and died that we might be made whole.

Song – Medley- Parts of – In Christ Alone/Here I Am To Worship/Amazing Love

CONCLUSION AND PRAYER

 Isaiah 53: 10 -12

10 Yet it was the Lord ‘s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

and though the Lord makesc his life a guilt offering,

he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11 After the suffering of his soul,

he will see the light [of life]d and be satisfied;e

by his knowledgef my righteous servant will justify many,

and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,g

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,h

because he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

BENEDICTION

Depart now in peace – and may the Spirit of Christ, go with you,

may his faith and trust abide within you, and may the knowledge

of his love support you both now and forevermore, Amen.