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Good Friday

Jesus' Journey to the Cross

A Good Friday Service with Handwashing and the Lord's Supper

At Bethel Christian Reformed Church, we planned a Good Friday service incorporating elements of handwashing, the Lord’s Supper, and the carrying of the cross. The handwashing ceremony, which occurred at the entrances of the sanctuary, recalled Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. The Lord’s Supper was celebrated early in the service, where it fit into the narrative of the Last Supper before the crucifixion of Christ. As Scripture passages were read throughout the service, a cross was carried slowly to the front of the sanctuary and placed there to symbolize Golgotha. Lights in the sanctuary were gradually dimmed as the songs were sung. At the end of the service, the congregation gathered at the front around the cross for a time of silent reflection in a dimmed environment.

The service engaged the congregation visually, through movement, with singing, and in silence.

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.

Matthew Walks Through the Shadows

A Service of Tenebrae

This service of shadows follows Matthew after he abandoned Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. We imagine that Matthew follows the path that Jesus took, speaking with 12 people who each tell him a part of the crucifixion story. As they talk about the events that have taken place, Matthew is reminded of prophecies from Isaiah, from the psalms, and from the words of Jesus himself as he foretold his death.

It Is Over. It Begins.

A Good Friday Service

This service, entitled “It is Over. It Begins,” was billed as an art-filled evening of remembrance and hope. It included music, poetry, dance, and visual art arranged around the traditional Tenebrae structure centered on the seven sayings of Christ on the cross.

Last Words

A Good Friday Service in Seven Movements

This service is comprised of seven movements, each of which focuses on one of Jesus’ seven last words and consists of a gospel reading, a meditation, and a congregational response. It combines elements traditional to the Stations of the Cross, Tre Ore, and Tenebrae services, as well as a few subtle dramatic devices of the Passion Play.

How Long, O Lord?

Honest faith requires expressions of lament. Most of us do not have to ponder too deeply to realize that something is wrong; the world’s not all as it should be. However, this feeling, this sense of discomfort and frustration, is not often expressed in our worship. Shouldn’t we be able to express ourselves honestly in worship, asking God the difficult questions—the ones that keep us up at night due to our lack of satisfying answers?

"You Have Heard It Said . . ."

A Good Friday Service

While reading Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods and contemplating a series of messages on idolatry during the Lent season, I realized that perhaps each violation after the first two of the ten commandments (you shall have no other gods; you shall not make idols) points to some expression of idolatry. And then I read Keller’s reference to what Martin Luther wrote in his Larger Catechism: “The fundamental motivation behind law breaking is idolatry.”

Good Friday News

A Litany Combining Psalm 22 with The New York Times

For this litany David Gambrell took Psalm 22, a traditional psalm for Good Friday, and interspersed it with quotes from The New York Times (Good Friday, March 21, 2008). Consider putting together a similar service using current news articles. You could use two readers—one for the psalm quotes (in italics) and one for the news quotes (roman)—or use many readers by having
different readers for each of the news quotes.

 

Psalm 22. For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

To the Cross

A Good Friday Service

This service of Scripture, song, and Supper is intended for use on Good Friday. It is designed to help people walk with Jesus to the cross during his Passion as they hear various passages of Scripture from Luke’s gospel, ideally read by people of various ages. Sections marked TWS are from The Worship Sourcebook, available at www.FaithAliveResources.org.

Call to Worship