I am glad I wasn’t one of those first disciples. I can’t imagine journeying with Christ through what we call Holy Week without knowing the end of the story. Can you imagine thinking that the cross was the end?
What is the goal of the Christian life? For some, the goal is belief itself, followed by entering into the community of such belief: the church. Once they are “in” with God’s chosen people, they feel they have arrived.
This Good Friday service, which is based on the names of Jesus in Isaiah 9, combines teaching with Scripture and song. It’s a quiet, meditative service meant to provoke deep reflection, so consider lowering the lights in the sanctuary and asking congregants to enter and exit in silence.
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.
In this drama, loosely based on Matthew 27:55-61 and 28:1-10, Mary Magdalene (MM) and “the other Mary” reflect on their time with Jesus and the events of Easter morning.
While the details of these two women’s lives are unclear, what isn’t disputed is the fact that they traveled with Jesus and the disciples and played a significant role in the resurrection narrative and message.
Convicted by the rooster’s crow,
I was his friend, now was his foe.
Jesus, my master, stood so near,
yet I found no comfort, only fear.
Thrice they asked me if I knew,
“Weren’t you one of his followers few?”
Thrice I said, “I do not know!”
I denied him so they’d let it go.
Dan Damon is an author/composer who knows and understands the tradition of hymn-writing but is able to infuse it with creative post-modern thought—and vice versa. While his texts are to the point, they do not indulge in stark language merely for shock value or to prove their “relevance.” And Damon’s tunes, notable for their diversity, are singable and supportive of the text.
The term “praise team” seems so limiting.
Isn’t there a better alternative?
In 2009, Emily Brink and Paul Neeley participated in two worship conferences in Pakistan co-sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) and the Tehillim School of Church Music and Worship (TSCM). Rev. Eric Sarwar, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and founder of TSCM, arranged both conferences, one at the Presbyterian Seminary in Gujranwala, and the other hosted by Christ the King Roman Catholic Seminary in Karachi.
This litany encourages us to acknowledge the frantic pace of our lives, remember that God knows us inside and out, and take time to be still.
Leader: We sit here trying our best to steady ourselves for an hour or two, but you know us, Lord. You know the distractions that tug at our minds, the worries that vie for our attention, the burdens that betray our affections.