Good Friday Worship 2015
This worship service will be used at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Bellingham, WA, April 3, 2015.
- seven candles lit on table, which is draped in black
- candle snuffer sitting on table or nearby
- metal bucket (old?), long stick, large sponge
- two worship leaders
- seven readers who snuff the candles after their readings
- table at entrance to sanctuary contains: bulletins & bowl of square nails
Leader One: Walk with us this evening to a place that is dark.
A place where hearts break; a place where tears are shed.
Leader Two: This journey is not one you might often choose.
But it is an important part of the journey, and you won’t walk alone.
Leader One: Walk with us as we journey to Golgotha.
Leader Two: Walk with us to the tomb.
Leader One: And as we lay the One who is most precious inside…
Leader Two: …as we prepare to close our hearts into that darkness with him…
Leader One: …as we wait…
Leader Two: …and wait…
Leaders One and Two: The darkness reigns.
Leader One: Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. (Luke 23:34)
Reader One (a soldier)
Who would want such things?
Wait? I need the other sandal to go with the one I’ve won.
Here. I’ll trade you this head cloth for it.
Surely the cloth, stained with the blood from his wounds is worth more than a worn out sandal.
Give me more. I want more of this man.
I want more of this tiny man who hangs before us.
I want to tell people I was here.
I want proof that I saw him.
That I stood close to his cross.
Not just any cross, but HIS cross.
Just in case.
Because there’s just a part of me that wonders.
I’d never admit it to my friends, but just a part.
So, I’ll cling to this sandal, even if you won’t give me the other.
I’ll take it home and place it on a shelf.
This sandal that he wore over hills and through valleys.
This sandal he wore as he sat and talked with people;
as he entered their homes and dined with them.
I’ll take this sandal and maybe, just maybe,
my life will be changed.
Just a bit.
And maybe, just maybe, his words of forgiveness
will mean something.
[snuff out first candle]
Leader Two He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Reader Two (the thief on the cross)
In the midst of his pain, he promises me redemption.
And the pain is agonizing.
I can barely breathe.
Arms and shoulders straining,
I pray for death.
Death, please come.
God, please take me now.
Why must it take so long?
But at least I know why I’m here.
I’ve committed crimes.
Oh, so many.
This was inevitable.
But the pain.
And I’m held here with ropes.
He’s been nailed to his cross.
Who would do such a thing?
Yet, in the midst of his agony, he promises redemption.
And more. He promises paradise.
God, I’m ready now.
[snuff out second candle]
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. (John 19:26-27)
Reader Three (Mary, the mother of Jesus)
My own child.
How could it come to this?
If I had only known, I would have done anything to protect you.
I would have hidden you away.
I would have insisted that you learn nothing.
I would have…
I would have done nothing. There was nothing I could do to keep you from being who you are.
You are the One. Your mission is true. Your voice is true.
You could not be silenced.
I could not have hidden you away.
I could not have protected you from yourself,
let alone from them.
Oh, my child.
My heart is splintering, shattering.
There are enough shards to fill the deepest valley.
My sobs soon will shake the foundations of earth.
My tears will wash away these Roman troops,
as surely as the waters of the Red Sea carried away the Pharaoh’s soldiers.
May it be soon enough that we might tear you down from that cross, my son.
My beautiful son.
[snuff out third candle]
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:33-34)
Reader Four (Jesus)
Where are you?
Dear God, my God, where are you?
Do you hear me? Do you see me?
I cannot sense your presence.
I’ve felt you near me.
You were there in the temple when I was a small child.
You were there when I played with my friends.
You were there when I learned at my father’s side.
You were there when I gathered my disciples,
and when we worked together, sharing messages of your love.
You have always been with me.
But now, when I need you most, you are absent.
Why do you leave me now?
Why do you leave me alone when I have done all that I can for you?
For your people?
Why do you leave me alone when I am afraid?
Why do you leave me alone when I know the truth of your love?
God, come to me now.
Now, when I need you most.
God, please come to this place of suffering and ease our pain.
God, do you hear us?
God, do you see us?
[snuff out fourth candle]
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)
Reader Three (Mary):
Can no one ease his suffering?
It is so great.
Can no one do this one small thing?
Is there no mercy?
Just one, small mercy?
For my son.
Reader One (soldier) – grabs a bucket, stick, sponge
places them on table behind the candles
[snuff out fifth candle]
When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
I stand at the foot of the cross, looking upward
my world is shaken.
They say, when terrible things take place,
that nothing will ever be the same.
Surely that has never been more true.
I gaze up at him,
this broken man who defies them still
with forgiveness and compassion.
His blood soaks the ground beneath him.
Pain is etched and stretched into his every muscle and tendon.
He has cried to his God, yet no rescue was given.
He has poured out his life, his love, his all.
This Jesus, who brought hope,
this Jesus who taught grace,
this Jesus who brought us directly to the throne of God,
[snuff out sixth candle, turn off all lights in room]
Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)
[moment of silence before hymn begins; turn on lights as accompaniment begins for singing of hymn]
Hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (vss. 1, 3, 4)
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
[snuff out seventh candle]
Leader Two It is hard to leave a graveside when a loved one has just been placed inside.
Leader One It is difficult to just walk away, knowing that life has ended. Knowing you will not see one another again.
Leader Two It is nearly impossible to just turn and take those first steps.
Leader One And yet, we must walk away. We must say good-bye when a loved one dies. Just as those who loved Jesus had to turn and walk away.
Leader Two And so, this night, we turn. We leave him closed up in that tomb, knowing that, at least for now…
Leaders One and Two …the darkness reigns.
©Tamalyn L. Kralman, 2015