This is the text of the family service for Good Friday usually used at St George’s, as well as this year’s Good Friday reflection by our Reader, Christine.
Welcome and Greeting
President: Christ the Lord became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
The Lord be with you.
All: and also with you.
Hymn: There is a green hill
During the hymn a cross is placed at the front
President: Saviour of the world, you have redeemed us by your Passion and Cross,
All: save us and help us, we humbly pray.
Prayers of Penitence
President: Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have failed you as did your first disciples. We ask for your mercy and your help. Our selfishness betrays you. Lord, forgive us.
All: Christ, have mercy!
We fail to share the pain of your suffering:
Lord, forgive us.
All: Christ, have mercy!
We run away from those who abuse you:
Lord, forgive us.
All: Christ, have mercy!
We are afraid of being known to belong you:
Lord, forgive us.
All: Christ, have mercy!
President: May the Father forgive us by the death of his Son and strengthen us to live in the power of the Spirit
all our days. Amen.
Two candles are brought to the cross
President We adore you, Christ, and we bless you
All because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
President: Almighty Father, look with mercy on this your family for which our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked men and to suffer death upon the Cross
who is alive and glorified with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
The Drama of Salvation
President: When the world could wait no longer
Women: The carpenters took up their tools
Men: They made a cross for God’s own Son
Women: Fashioned from wood and skill of human hands
Men: Fashioned from hate and will of human minds
President: He was a man of sorrows & acquainted with grief
All: For us he grieved
President: He was summoned to the judgement hall,
An enemy of the state, a danger to religion
All: By us he was judged
President: He was lashed with tongues and scourged with thongs
All: By his stripes we are healed
President: He was nailed to the cross by human hands
All: Bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh
President: He died, declaring God’s forgiveness. He rose on the third day, transforming death. He ascended into heaven, that he might be everywhere on earth. He sent the Holy Spirit as the seal of his intention. He reminds us of his life in bread and wine. Here we are made well again.
All: And all will be made well
President: For God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world
All: But that the world through him might be saved
Hymn: From heaven You came, helpless Babe
During this hymn, a purple robe, crown of thorns, hammer, nails and dice are carried to the cross at the front
Reader: Hear the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint John.
(A part of John 18 and 19)
All: Glory to you, O Lord.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), ‘I thirst.’ A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished’; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness – his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth – that you also may believe. For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘Not a bone of him shall be broken.’ And again another scripture says, ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced.’
This is the passion of the Lord.
No response is made
Relection – Christine
This Good Friday everything is different: no gathering together as a Church Family; no Walk of Witness; no sharing of Hot Cross buns! Only isolation and anxiety, but wherever we are, we are all united with each other in the love of God and in trying to stop the spread of a virus. No matter how far away we are from each other we can still contact each other by phone, email, dare I say even Face book and all the while praying to God through Jesus Christ to deliver us from all that may harm us. We have confidence that through all the difficult days ahead of us Jesus is with us, just as we have tried to walk with him through this difficult Lent and especially today, Good Friday.
I don’t think it’s particularly hard now to imagine the loneliness and isolation Jesus felt when he was taken away from his disciples in the garden. When they all fled and left him, while he was dragged off to the High Priest and then to Pilate and although surrounded by people, he was very much alone, except of course with God.
To Mary, his family, the disciples and his followers this was a dark day, they could do nothing except watch and wait. They must have been in despair, like so many people today. Scared about what was to happen to Jesus and themselves. Would the Roman’s hunt them out and imprison them, would they be tortured and killed? so many thoughts must have passed between them and all the while Jesus was in the hands of people who hated him.
Jesus was questioned, beaten and humiliated and there was nothing any of his followers could do to prevent the events that were about to unfold. Jesus had known it would come to this; he was prepared for the suffering, even death on the cross, but possibly not the outpouring of love and grief from those he knew best. Remember how he wept with Mary and Martha when Lazarus died, before he brought him out of his tomb, was he weeping with them or for them knowing he would be leaving them all soon?
Today there have been many deaths caused by the virus and people are weeping throughout the world, just as I’m sure the people watching Jesus die on the cross were also weeping, but as we and they weep for the world around us, we pray for Jesus’ light to shine brightly in our world then and today.
The following is an extract taken from Nick Fawcett’s “No Ordinary Man – book 2” through the eyes of Simon of Cyrene, which I feel is appropriate for us today:
“He was tired, just about dead on his feet, and it wasn’t just due to that cross he was carrying. No, that was the easy bit – it was the other burdens he’d been bearing for so long, and the load he still had to endure that was getting to him. Oh, the cross was heavy, don’t get me wrong – if anyone knows that, it’s me – and the beating he’d taken was enough to break any man, even the strongest of us.
Yet I still say there was more to it than that, far more. You only had to look into his eyes, as I did, and see the agony there – an agony not of body but soul, not of flesh but spirit. He was used to physical pain by then – ready for anything else they might throw at him – so when they hammered the nails into his hands and feet, when they hauled the cross into position, despite turning down the wine and myrrh they offered him, he scarcely flinched, barely giving them the satisfaction of a groan. But he was suffering, no question, suffering more deeply, more hellishly, than I’d imagined possible before. It was as though a light went out within, as though he were being crushed by some extraordinary weight, as though he were enduring such torment that physical pain seemed trivial by comparison. I was mystified at first, unable to imagine what could be more terrible than crucifixion. But then suddenly, just before he died, he looked up and the eyes were bright, the face radiant, all signs of pain vanished.
‘It is finished!’ he shouted and I understood then that he’d carried a burden beyond all imagining, almost, you might say, the weight of the whole world on his shoulders; and at last now, having been faithful to the end he could put it down, knowing the struggle was over, the job was done, mission completed!”
A feeling when this virus is stilled that many health worker, carer and officials will be able to say, “the job is done, mission completed” and one we will all join in when normality begins to return to our world.
Jesus’ mission was different, although it was still one of healing; his was to bring the sheep back into the fold, back into the arms of a loving, forgiving and merciful God. Jesus was and is the light of the world, a light that has been passed on to us to take out to those we can when normality returns. So as we remember this day the suffering, pain, torment and death of Jesus on a cross, let us not forget what all that was for, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17 Amen.
Let us pray.
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hymn: ‘Take up thy cross,’ the Saviour said,
Affirmation of Faith
President: Let us affirm our faith in Jesus Christ
the Son of God.
All: Though he was divine, he did not cling to equality with God,
but made himself nothing.
Taking the form of a slave, he was born in human likeness.
He humbled himself and was obedient to death, even the death
of the cross.
Therefore God has raised him on high,
and given him the name above every name:
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
and every voice proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Amen. cf Philippians 2. 6-11
President: In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father. Intercessions follow.
Take a few moments to prayer for the world, our church, community, loved ones and all who are suffering in mind, body or soul, especially those affected by Covid -19, finally praying for those who have died and are in our thoughts.
All: Hear our prayer.
After the intercessions, we would light a candle at the front of church. Music would be played during this time.
Music: Thy Kingdom Come – Pete James.
Intercessor Let us pray for the coming of God’s kingdom
in the words our Saviour taught us.
All: Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Intercessor: Merciful Father,
All: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Blessing and dismissal
We move out of our seats to form a giant human cross
President: The cross
ALL: WE SHALL TAKE IT
President: The bread
ALL: WE SHALL BREAK IT
President: The pain
ALL: WE SHALL BEAR IT
President: The joy
ALL: WE SHALL SHARE IT
President: The gospel
ALL: WE SHALL LIVE IT
President: The love
ALL: WE SHALL GIVE IT
President: The light
ALL: WE SHALL CHERISH IT
President: The darkness
ALL: GOD SHALL PERISH IT
President: ….. and may the blessing of God almighty …
President: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
All: In the Name of Christ. Amen
Music: In Christ Alone – Stuart Townsend
|Wishing you joy this Easter from St. George’s Church|