Walk in His Steps

A Good Friday Liturgy

Approximately 2,016 years ago, God couldn’t walk.  He had to be carried everywhere, like most babies.

2,015 years ago, God took some staggering first steps, fell, and scraped his knee. He cried, and his mother wiped away his tears and told him to try again. Or maybe he still crawled everywhere. Some toddlers are late bloomers.

2,010 years ago, God ran across the street in a small town with the other kids, perhaps playing a version of soccer. He might not have been very good at it.

2,000 years ago, God walked across the dirt floor of a carpenter’s shop and probably got a splinter stuck in his big toe. 

1,986 years ago, God hoofed it all over the countryside, talking to people and healing them of diseases. He more than likely stepped in sheep dung at least once and had to wipe his sandals on the grass.

1,983 years ago, God walked the streets of Jerusalem, bloodied and beaten, carrying a rough-hewn beam of wood on his back. His feet failed him, and someone stronger had to carry the cross for him.

We easily forget that Jesus Christ was one with the Father, he was God. Through his life he showed us how to live here on earth, and through his death and resurrection he secured our salvation. Through an entire sinless life—even in the unwritten mundane ways—Jesus placed before us both a standard and a directive. We are to walk in his steps, through his strength, for God’s glory. We worship a God who has walked in our shoes, and our highest hope and assurance is that we may walk in his.

This liturgy includes elements of the traditional Stations of the Cross, presenting glimpses of the last moments God physically walked on this earth incognito. To help the worshiper enter this story consider projecting the artwork suggested in this article or invite members of your community to create pieces to go with each section.


“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” arr. Mark Hayes (piano; © 2006 Lorenz)

“Lamb of God,” arr. Lloyd Larson (piano; © 2006 Hope)

“In the Cross of Christ I Glory” arr. John Carter (organ, © 1996 Hope)



Opening Prayer

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,

because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

God of power and mercy, in love you sent your Son

that we might be cleansed of sin and live with you forever.

Bless us as we gather to reflect on your suffering and death

that we may learn from your example the way we should go.

We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.


—from traditional Stations of the Cross liturgy

The Garden of Gethsemane


“Prayer at Gethsemane” He Qi, 1999



Matthew 26:36-41


Lord of power and might,

in this moment, you submitted yourself to the Father.

We are weak and weary.

Our spirits are willing, sometimes.

May we keep watch on this dark night with you, for you, because of you.

We submit our wills and our prayers to you, knowing that you hear.

May we accept your plans as exceedingly greater than we can imagine.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps. Amen.


“Go to Dark Gethsemane” (st. 1&2) GtG 220, LUYH 161, PsH 381, WR 272

Alternate Suggestions

“Shadows Lengthen into Night” (st. 1-4) LUYH 158

“Stay with Me” (sing twice) GtG 204, LUYH 159, WR 286

“Deep Night Has Hushed Gethsemane” Singing the New Testament 100

Betrayed by Judas


“Betrayal of Christ” Michelangelo Caravaggio, 1603



Mark 14:43-46


O faithful Friend,

in this moment, you surrendered yourself into the hands of a faithless friend.

With the symbol of love and trust, you were betrayed;

that you would be a steadfast companion

to all who accept your offer of friendship.

May we turn to you now in loyalty and love,

and remember your faithfulness to all generations.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps. Amen.


“Ah, Holy Jesus, How Have You Offended” (st. 1 & 2) GtG 218, LUYH 172, PsH 386, TH 248, WR 262

Alternate Suggestions

“Jesus Set His Face” (st. 4 & 5) LUYH 135

“Behold the Lamb of God” (st. 10 & 11) LUYH 110

Denied by Peter


“The Denial of Saint Peter,” Michelangelo Caravaggio, 1610



Matthew 26:69-75


Resolute Savior,

in this moment, your strongest follower proved to be a coward.

So often we waver and whimper our way through life.

When we hang out with like-minded people, we are bold and brazen.

When we face hostile consequences,

we are ashamed of you and ashamed of the gospel, like Peter.

Give us the courage to claim your name with boldness.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps. Amen.


“O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” GtG 221, LUYH 168, PH 98, PsH 383, TH 247, WR 284

Alternate Suggestions

“Once Again” Singing the Faith #274

“Bitter Was the Night” Singing the New Testament #101

Judged by Pilate


“Christ Before Pilate,” Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-11



Mark 15:1-5, 11-15


O just Judge,

in this moment, you made yourself weak

and gave your enemies power over you.

Your trial was rigged, your jury blinded by jealousy, and your judges unjust.

As sinners, you judge us with honesty and equity –

based upon your holiness, we have been found guilty.

As our Savior, you took our punishment as your own;

Based upon your sacrifice, we have been made righteous.

In response, may our hearts be grateful,

our attitudes toward others gracious, and our lives holy.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps. Amen.


“Man of Sorrows, What a Name” (verses 1, 2, 3) LUYH 170, PsH 482, TH 246, WR 301

Alternate Suggestions

“What Grace Is This” LUYH 163

“Meekness and Majesty” LUYH 157, SNC 109, WR 97

Scourged and Crowned with Thorns


“The Mocking of Christ,” Peter Rogers, 1961



John 19:1-3


O suffering Servant,

in this moment, you endured scorn and ridicule from those you came to save.

You were crushed for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.

The punishment that brought us peace was placed upon you,

and with your stripes we are healed.

May we see your sacrifice clearly, feel your suffering deeply,

and hear your voice calling us to repentance and holiness.

Lord, we come.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps. Amen.


“Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed” GtG 212, LUYH 173, PH 78, PsH 385, TH 254, WR 258

Alternate Suggestions

“Blood Was on the Crown of Thorns” (st. 1-3) Singing the New Testament #102

“Calvary” LUYH 171, SNC 140



“Crucified tree form,” Theyre Lee-Elliott, 1959



John 19:15-17; Luke 23:33-34


Healer of the broken, we broke you.

Binder of the wounded, we wounded you.

Lamb of God, we slaughtered you.

Yet it was the Father’s will that you be crushed,

that your life be a bloody sacrifice for our sin.

You emptied out your life unto death, that we may have life overflowing.

May this be ever before us, never far from us, always within us:

while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Blessed are those whose sin the Lord will never count against them.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps. Amen.


“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” GtG 216, LUYH 167, PH 92, TH 251, WR 255

Alternate Suggestions

“Oh, to See the Dawn (The Power of the Cross)” LUYH 177

“Amazing Love” LUYH 360, WR 259

Promises His Kingdom to the Thief


“Christ and the Thief,” Nikolai Ge, 1893



Luke 23:39-43


O lover of the Unlovely,

in this moment, you made straight the path

for a crooked thief to enter your rest.

Our ways are bent, and our hearts are twisted,

but the kingdom of God is not populated by perfect spiritual specimens.

We are in a holy company of thieves, prostitutes, murderers, and liars

who have met God, in Christ.

Remind us of the grace that does not give us what we truly deserve.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps. Amen.


“Jesus, Remember Me” (sing twice) GtG 227, LUYH 169, PsH 217, SNC 143, WR 285

Alternate Suggestions

“Behold the Lamb” (Getty) LUYH 840

“Beneath the Cross” (Getty) LUYH 825

Dies on the Cross


“And the Curtain of the Temple Was Torn in Two” Kirsten Malcolm Berry



Luke 23:44-46


Oh Giver of life,

in this moment, you gave yours up for us.

Through the rending of your flesh,

a way was made for us to enter your presence.

Remind us of the depth of this death and the breadth of your love,

that we, ever thankful, may die to ourselves daily

and live a life worthy of your sacrifice.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps. Amen.


“Amazing Grace” GtG 649, LUYH 691, PH 280, PsH 462, SWM 186, TH 460, WR 422

Alternate Suggestions

“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” GtG 216, LUYH 167, PH 92, TH 251, WR 255

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” GtG 223, LUYH 175, PH 100, PsH 384, TH 252, WR 261

“When the Son of God Was Dying” Singing the New Testament #104

Placed in the Tomb


“The Entombment,” Rembrandt, 1639



Matthew 27:57-60


Oh Rock of our salvation,

in this moment, all hope was sealed away.

May we remember the silence of your grave, and keep silence.


“Were You There” (st. 3 & 4) GtG 228, LUYH 166, PH 102, PsH 377, TH 260, WR 283

Alternate Suggestions

“There Is a Redeemer” GtG 443, LUYH 833, SWM 128, SNC 145, WR 117

“What Wondrous Love Is This” GtG 215, LUYH 164, PH 85, PsH 379, SNC 142, TH 261, WR 257



“The Last Supper,” John August Swanson, 2014


Passing of the Bread

“Let Us Break Bread Together,” arr. John Carter (piano; © 1990 Hope)

“How Beautiful,” arr. Phillip Keveren (piano, © 2000 Hal Leonard)

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (piano, © 2013 Beckenhorst)

“Let Us Break Bread Together,” arr. Albert Zabel (organ; © 2008 Hope)

Passing of the Cup

“Nothing but the Blood,” arr. Brian Büda (piano; © 2015 SoundForth)

“There Is a Fountain,” arr. Mark Hayes (piano; © 2006 Lorenz)

“There Is a Fountain,” arr. Donald Hustad (organ; © 1996 Hope)

“As We Gather at Your Table,” arr. Joshua Evanovich (organ, © 2013 Hope)

Closing Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ,

your death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven;

through your blood you have reconciled us to you.

May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries

follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven

where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit

one God, for ever and ever.


—from traditional Stations of the Cross liturgy


“What Wondrous Love” GtG 215, LUYH 164, PH 85, PsH 379, SNC 142, TH 261, WR 257

Alternate Suggestions

“There Is a Redeemer” GtG 443, LUYH 833, SWM 128, SNC 145, WR 117

“In the Cross of Christ I Glory” GtG 213, PH 84, PsH 474, WR 264

Congregation departs in silence.

Since transplanting from rural Indiana to Chicago in 2007, Christopher Wheeler has been involved at the Christian Reformed Church in Western Springs, Illinois, collaborating musically and writing original dramas and liturgies for the worship ministry of the church. He writes weekly stories and prayers at christopherwheeler.org and blogs about art and faith at madenewblog.com.

Reformed Worship 122 © December 2016, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.