COCU29B.Good Friday


Year A readings
Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
Psalm 22
Hebrews 10:16-25   Bill Loader commentary
John 18:1 – 19:42 Bill Loader commentary on the Gospel

Year B readings
Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
Psalm 22
Hebrews 10:16-25
John 18:1 – 19:42

Bill Loader, An order of service for Good Friday
Reflections: God of the mountainTwo words from the Cross, Caiaphas – did you know?
A reflection by Rev Matt Stuart on Good Friday

Psalm 22
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why so far from my delivery, so empty in the anguish of my words? I call to you in the daytime, but you don’t answer. Then all night long I plead restlessly, uselessly. I know your holiness, find it in the memorized praises uttered by those who’ve struggled with you through all the generations. These, my forbearers, trusted you. And through their trusting, you touched them, held and delivered them. They cried out to you, and you met them face to face. Their confidence was strong, and they were not confounded.
But I am not as they. Utterly alone, I am cast out of the circle, a worm, a living reproach, scorned and despised. Even less than despised. Unheard, unseen, unacknowledged, denied. And all who encounter me revile me with cynic laughter, shaking their heads, parting their nattering lips, mocking: “Let him throw himself at God for his deliverance,” they say. “Since that is who he trusts, let the Lord save him.”
And they are right. How not trust you, and what else to trust? You I entered on leaving the womb. You I drank at my mother’s breast. I was cast upon you at birth. And even before birth I swam in you, my heart’s darkness. Be not far from me now when suffering is very near, and there is no help, and I am beset all round by threatening powers, the bulls of Bashan, gaping their dismal braying mouths, their ravenous, roaring, lion mouths.
I am poured out like water. My bones, joints are snapped like twigs. My heart melts like wax, flooding my bowels with searing, viscid emotion. My strength is dried up like a potsherd. My tongue cleaves woolly to the roof of my mouth, and I feel my body dissolving into death’s dust, for I am hounded by my isolation. I’m cast off and encircled by the assembly of the violent, who like vicious dogs snap at my hands and feet. I count the bones of my naked body as the mongrels shift and stare and circle. They divide my clothes among themselves, casting lots for them.
So, now, in this very place, I call on you. There is no one left. Do not be far from me. Be the center of the center of the circle. Be the strength of that center, the power of the absence that is the center. Deliver my life from the killing sharpnesses. Deliver my soul from the feverish dogs. Save me from the lion mouths. Answer me with the voice of the ram’s horn, and I will seek and form and repeat your name among my kinsmen. In the midst of everyone, I will compose praises with my lips. And those who enter your awesomeness through my words will also praise. All the seed of Jacob will glorify you and live in awe of you.
All those who question and struggle will dawn with your light, for they will know you have not scorned the poor and despised nor recoiled, disgusted from their faces. From them your spark has never been hidden. And when they cried out in their misery, you heard and answered and ennobled them. And it is the astonishment of this that I will praise in the great assembly, making deep vows in the presence of those who know your heart, know that in you, the meek eat and are satisfied, and all who seek and struggle find the tongue to praise, saying to you, “May your heart live forever.”
May all the ends of the earth remember and return to you, and all the families of all the nations bow before you, for all that is, is your domain. Your flame kindles all that lives and breathes, and you are the motive force of all activity. And they that rise up, live, and eat the fat of the earth will bow before you. Before you will bow all those who lie down, find peace, and enter the dust, for none can keep alive by his own power. You alone light the soul. Distant ages to come shall serve you, shall be related to you in future times. Those people not yet born will sing of your uprightness, your evenness, your brightness to a people not yet born; that is still yet to come. That this is how you are.
(Source: Norman Fischer, Opening to You)

Good Friday – shifting blame
It was the Romans who killed you,
who nailed you to a cross
to punish you for thinking differently.
Murdered for daring to challenge the might of Imperial Rome.
Murdered for daring to suggest that the world should be different, that it could be rearranged for once,
not to make the powerful comfortable,
but deeply uncomfortable.
maybe it was the religious leaders who wanted you dead?
For challenging their deeply and sincerely held religious truths, for shaking things up and rocking the boat,
for daring to suggest that just because
we have always done it like this,
we always must?
We cannot challenge the guardians of tradition,
where would we be without it?
Better surely to let one man die….
It was the crowd!
It was their fault
It must have the been the crowd who gathered
and cried “Crucify!” who are the ones who killed you.
What they need, you see, is a scapegoat,
someone for the Romans to blame,
so that they won’t come looking for anyone else.
maybe it was me?
Maybe you should pity me – me,
for on this Good Friday,
I will stand with the Romans,
because I, who have everything,
don’t really want anything to change.
I will stand with the religious leaders,
and make sure that my traditions are honoured,
no matter who they exclude.
I will stand with the crowd,
who already know who is to blame for all that goes wrong.
And I will cry “Crucify”
A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, is it possible that I, who call you friend
– Master, Saviour, King –
Still stand with the crowd, the betraying disciples,
the violent soldiers, and the religious leaders?
I confess it is possible. I confess it is true.
Because I say I have taken up my cross
But I put it down when it’s not convenient.
And I claim I stand up for the least
But I sit down when it’s uncomfortable.
Precious Lord, how did you bear it?
The pain of the nails.
The tearing separation of One-in-Three – even for a moment.
And the betrayal of friends
Who would rather stand with the crowd
Than with you.
So you hung there with arms outstretched to all the world
Even as each of us turned away from perfect love.
And how do you bear it now?
When I make your kingdom into one of comfort
And shift the blame for today’s darkness
To anywhere – anyone – but me.
Lord Jesus, is it possible that I, who have betrayed you,
Served myself and pursued my own agendas
Am still welcomed by those arms stretched out wide?
Treasured by the one who says “Come weak and heavy laden – come to me”?
Only here will I find the way to carry your easy burden
That costs the world for the sake of love.
Help me Lord Jesus to come – to leave the crowd
And replace our deafening chant with a silent prayer of surrender:
That speaks “Anything for you – my Master and my friend.”
(Source: © 2011 Nigel Varndell Meditations)

Brad Chilcott and Anthony Castle, Who will we crucify this Easter?
Australia may not be a very religious nation, but we know one truth for sure; if we hear a voice challenging the powerful, we will also hear the cries of “crucify them” soon after. The spectacle of retribution that follows is not mere tabloid entertainment. It has political purpose – distraction and deterrence – and is as old as the Easter story itself. As Christ faced trial, so the scriptures say, his disciple Peter infamously denied knowing him in order to avoid sharing the same torturous end (Mark 14:66-72). The threat of political execution works, silencing dissent and leaving the truth unspoken. If we hear voices challenging the powerful, we’re likely to hear the cries for punishment soon after. On which side will we stand? (click on link for full article)

Our Jesus,
Holy One among us,
we honour you today,
the day we tell of your dying.
You came with good news
of Holy kinship to reconcile,
to heal, and make whole,
all life, for full life, for all,
and we,
we are afraid.

And fear – power, greed,
the legalistic need to be correct –
fear put you on a cross.

Today we tell of your dying,
and let us not forget
the ways we put you on that cross
day after day after day:
state-sanctioned assaults
on human being, dignity, freedom;
small acts of violent inaction when
Earth, women, children,
marginalised minorities,
First Nations peoples,
are being harmed.

May we not turn away
from the cross today,
nor from its echoes every day.

Our Jesus,
give us courage to mourn;
give us strength to grieve;
give us the wisdom to die with you,
dying to death, so that on
a new day
in good time
we may rise again into new life
with you.

For today, our Jesus,
Holy One among us,
we pause,
we see,
we honour you,
as we tell, as we enter,
your death.
(Source: Rev Dr Sarah Agnew, storyteller and minister at Christ Church, Wayville)

Introduction to the Good Friday Service
After the last supper, Jesus went out to Gethsemane. It tells us this in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. Gethsemane means “the place of the oil press.” The Gospel of Luke says they went out to the Mount of Olives… which is where you might expect to find an oil press.
The Mount of Olives is significant because people believed the Messiah would come from the Mount of Olives when he rescued Jerusalem. That idea came from a prophecy in Zecariah Chapter 14, and the story of Jesus uses the Mount of Olives as a literary symbol to tell us Jesus is the Messiah.
But John’s Gospel, which we read today, does not give us a name for the place where Jesus went to be handed over. There is no name. John simply calls it a garden, or in Greek, a κῆπος.
There is another word Greek can use for a garden and it’s one we still use in English, although we have forgotten its root-meaning; that is, we have forgotten where the word came from. That word is … paradise…. in Greek, παράδεισος. We sometimes remember one garden in particular when we talk about paradise, and that garden is the Garden of Eden.
And that’s John’s point. His Gospel begins with a retelling of the story of creation
In the beginning was the word… and the word was with God 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life…
So, at the end of his life, John tells us, Jesus was in the garden, in a paradise, with his disciples. In Jesus, John hints, life has begun. And that’s what makes Good Friday terrifying. Because Jesus and his disciples, John is telling us, were already living the life of the Kingdom of God. He had already enabled them to begin living as a Community of Divine Love.
And yet he was still killed. In John Chapters 18 and 19, we will listen to a story, now, of a Show Trial, of a Kangaroo Court, of a brutal scapegoating. It does not matter that he is innocent, that he has done nothing wrong, that he is against violence. The powers that be have decided someone has to die, and Jesus is the one they choose. The old violence of the world kills even Jesus.
It’s tempting to look away. It’s tempting to remember Easter Day, and to comfort ourselves with stories of resurrection. But there is only one way to resurrection, only one way for Jesus, and only one way for us. And that way is by dying.
So let us listen to the story in all its horror and injustice.
To listen to this story and be shaken by it, to feel the horror, is the beginning of holiness. It is the beginning of trust, the beginning of a faith, that by following Jesus we enter a life uncowed by death. A life which can face death and say, “Anyway… do your worst, I will not let you turn me aside.”
To listen to this story and be shaken by it, to feel the horror, protects us from a cheap faith that uses the story of Jesus as a magic trick and a psychological prop to avoid the reality of death— a shallow faith which may not serve us well when life goes wrong.
Listen to this story, because Good Friday is our story, both as people who sometimes join the mob and condemn others, and as people who are finding that death is an empty threat which does not destroy us.
(Source: Rev Andrew Prior, Hare St Uniting Church, Adelaide)

Good Friday service – wrapping the cross by Mardi Glass at Glass Overflowing blog.

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
(My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?)
Mark 15.34, Psalm 22.1

In the beginning you created pain.
You split yourself. Light from darkness.
This from not this. Separation.
But you are the light and the darkness.

You made space in yourself for another,
and you are the other, and the space.
You are the unity and you are the abyss,
width and depth, post and arms of the cross.

Yours is belonging, and being alien is yours,
loneliness and its aching distances,
a world of gap and absence.
In our pain you cry out to yourself,

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
When we can’t imagine closeness
it is you who cry in us for that return,
even as we push you away into yourself.

My God, my God, that you know my pain,
that you live in terror of losing God,
is my salvation. There is no exile
in which I am not in you.

When I am derelict, abandoned, deserted,
you cry out to me, in me, for me.
Your agony is mine.
I am in your arms.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes,

‘Christianity is the only world religion that confesses a God who suffers. It is not that popular an idea, even among Christians. We prefer a God who prevents suffering, only that is not the God we have got. What the cross teaches us is that God’s power is not the power to force human choices and end human pain. It is, instead, the power to pick up the shattered pieces and make something holy out of them – not from a distance, but right close up’.
(Source: Barbara Brown Taylor, God in Pain)

Good Friday prayer: the hosannas have died away
O Holy God,
the hosannas have died away,
the palm branches have turned brittle.
Now, today, there is only this –
each of us,
all of us,
sitting in the darkness,
the hymns of lament in the air,
the mumblings of our own feeble confession,
on this Friday
which we tremble to call Good.

What is good about Good Friday?

What is good about the innocent one nailed to a cross?
What is good about the darkness of war that persists today?
What is good about our devastation of the planet?
… about people living in poverty?
… about the fog of addiction, depression, disease and despair?
What is good about the crushing weight of hunger, racism, scapegoating, apathy?

No, there is nothing good and desirable in these things.

Yet you, O God, are Good.

When suffering reigns, yours is the first heart to break.

When despair lurks about, we remember that you were there first,
peering into the abyss and crying out, incredibly:
“Father, forgive them.”

When we feel forsaken, we remember that in your last moments,
you cared for your mother and your beloved disciple,
binding them to one another as a new family.

When we feel overcome by guilt, we remember that you spoke grace to a thief:
“Today you will be with me in paradise.”

Your love for us is just that boundless,
and ever-present,
and Good.

Thank you.
What else can we say here, in the dimness,
in the darkness,
but thank you. Amen.
(Source: MaryAnn McKibben Dana, LiturgyLinks)

What Abides For Good Friday
You will know
this blessing
by how it
does not stay still,
by the way it
refuses to rest
in one place.

You will recognize it
by how it takes
first one form,
then another:

now running down
the face of the mother
who watches the breaking
of the child
she had borne,

now in the stance
of the woman
who followed him here
and will not leave him

Now it twists in anguish
on the mouth of the friend
whom he loved;

now it bares itself
in the wound,
the cry,
the finishing and
final breath.

This blessing
is not in any one
of these alone.

It is what
binds them

It is what dwells
in the space
between them,
though it be torn
and gaping.

It is what abides
in the tear
the rending makes.
(Source: Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace)

“So gather up the brokenness
and bring it to me now;
the fragrance of the promises
they never dared to vow;
the splinters that you carried,
the cross you left behind;
come healing of the body,
come healing of the mind.”
(Source: Leonard Cohen)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, 
from the words of my groaning? Psalm 22.1
Jesus, fully human,
feels the anguish of God’s distance,
the bare landscape of abandonment.
Jesus, fully divine, feels that anguish, too,
the ripping ache of aloneness.
This is not the cry of someone deserted by God
but of one who knows God listens
when we feel that way.
This is the cry of God, brokenhearted for us.
God does not peer into our loneliness from above,
but lives there, suffers there.
The void is the silence of the soul of God,
the desert of our exile,
whose sandstone canyons echo with God’s own sobs.
This is the prayer of a lifeguard whose lungs cry for air
who has dived deep to rescue us from drowning.
This is the cry of a mother running into the flames
for her children.
This is the sigh of the Beloved
whose ear is pressed to the door of our hearts
from the inside.
This is the only voice of hope.
My God, my God,
you have descended so deep into my suffering
that even I no longer see you.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

This morning in church as I listened to the story of Good Friday something strange struck me. The servant of the high priest who Peter attacked with a sword in the Garden of Gethsemene is named. His name was Malchus. Later in the story we are also told that he had a family. I reflected on why this person, who plays an insignificant part in the whole story, was named. It struck me that this victim of violence had a name, had a face, had a family.
This is still true today. The children gasping for breath after a sarin attack in Syria have a name, have a face, have a family. The people killed when the Americans drop the “mother of all bombs” on them, have a name, have a face, have a family. The people of North Korea, threatened with violence both internally and externally, have a name, have a face, have a family. the men, women and children held in Manus and on Nauru, have a name, have a face, have a family.
When I visited the battlefields of WW1 in France I noticed that the many gravestones of unidentified soldiers were engraved with the words “known unto God”. The victims of violence are always known unto God- God knows their name, their face, their family.
Those who perpetuate violence often try to keep their victims anonymous. The challenge of Good Friday is for us to see them as fellow human beings, to discover their names, to look into their faces, to weep with their families, to enter into their suffering just as Jesus did on the cross so that through this we may find healing for our world. (Rev Bev Fabb, 2017)

Readings for 2016 Good Friday service at Pilgrim UC: COCU29C.GoodFriday readings

Order of Service at Pilgrim UC: COCU29C.Good Friday2016

On the nature of the cosmos – a contemplation by Duane Clinker

Reflecting on the final words of Jesus – Hope Filled Words on a Hopeless Good Friday.

A wonderful resource of art, music and readings for Good Friday at ‘Gospel Feelings‘ website, by Lyn Seils Robertson. (Additions are made following the lectionary, so a website worth checking out each week).

Listening to words from the cross (Wellsprings liturgy for Good Friday)

Good Friday reflection
We come here today to remember a man.  A man…
who had dreams,
who had those dreams shattered,
who needed time to think and pray,
who knew he was likely to die for what he believed…
A man of extraordinary religious insight.
A man who did die – a cruel death.
On this day we look at the cross, and we remember…
the betrayal of friendship and its consequences,
the casual cruelty of Roman authority and execution,
and how unreliable others proved to be in a crisis.
On this day may we also remember
that religious bigotry, cruelty and unreliability
are still a part of our everyday lives.
On this day, then, may we learn some new precepts for living…
do not avoid contact with suffering, or close your eyes before suffering;
do not maintain anger or hatred;
do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest, or to impress people;
do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature…
On this day we remember.
(Source: Rex Hunt, edited from M. Dobson, M. Morwood, Thich Nhat Hanh)

I wove a wreath of thorns one day
for some poor, ruined prisoner
whose name I don’t recall and cannot say.
We got a laugh at him, all right,
who claimed, I guess, to be a king,
though he had never uttered such a thing,
but only spoke of love through bleeding lips.
He was a tramp, and not of royal birth,
so we would see just what his realm was worth.
I made a crown with kingly flowers entwined,
and thorns so sharp they lanced my hands,
and as I did I greeted all that pain,
for it contained the wounds and years of wounds
I’d borne and now could shove away,
and make another bear instead of me.
Oh, it was worth the pain to jeer
and jam it on his sorrowing head.
And as I crowned him with contempt,
my bleeding hands about his face,
thorns piercing me and him as one,
though mine sweet pain of causing pain,
and his the pain of suffering,
he looked me in the eye,
though trembling, tenderly,
as if I were the one now dying, or had died,
and reached with something, though his hands were tied,
and touched a place beyond that place,
and then it seemed that something drained away,
though what it was I could not say.

After we crowned that pitiful king,
and beat him some, to clarify some things,
we killed him, as we always do.
I took a rest and caught my breath,
and went home from that little hell
and met a different kind of death
that it would take me longer to endure,
the strangest thing: my hands were healed,
and something else as well.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

The Cross
Inflicted by a humanity
Who was shamed by your living
And affronted by your divinity
Lord, you were crossed.
Bled as an homage to arrogance.
Mocked to fuel self-righteous indignation.
Bruised to inflate an illusion of power.
Crushed to feed a love of violence.
Killed in an attempt to enshrine injustice
Disempowered to preserve the power of the powerful.
Lord, you were crossed.
May we not cross you in our failure to live in your way
May we not cross you in our falling short of your calling
May we not cross you in our lacking of love and loving
May we not cross you in our disservice of the poor and oppressed
May we not cross you in witnessing to your presence and introducing you to all we meet.
May we not cross you this day or any.
This we seek to pray.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Prayers that Unite)

A song by Kathy Douglass: Shadow of your love
(Kathy’s prayer set to music for the 2016 Good Friday Tenebrae Service of Shadows at St. Luke the Physician)

On this night of dark betrayal
Jesus Christ, reveal that I am standing in the shadow of your love
I am standing in the shadow of your love

On this night of agony
Jesus Christ, reveal that I am standing in the shadow of your love
I am standing in the shadow of your love

On this night of deep denial
Jesus Christ, reveal that I am standing in the in shadow of your love
I am standing in the shadow of your love

On this night of accusation
Jesus Christ, reveal that I am standing in the in shadow of your love
I am standing in the shadow of your love

On this night of mockery
Jesus Christ, reveal that I am standing in the in shadow of your love
I am standing in the shadow of your love

On this night of crucifixion
Jesus Christ, reveal that I am standing in the in shadow of your love
I am standing in the shadow of your love

On this night of death and dying
Jesus Christ, reveal that I am standing in the in shadow of your love
I am standing in the shadow of your love

On this night of burial
Jesus Christ, reveal that I am standing in the in shadow of your love
I am standing in the shadow of your love
(Source: Music and words, Kathy Douglass)

Lord, you are punctured
no longer divided
between inside and out,
knowing in your flesh
the sharp violence that kills what it fears:
take us through the narrow door
from which an endless river flows
into a new body – wounded but unafraid;
through Jesus Christ, passion of God. Amen.
(Source: Lyn Siels Robertson, Gospel Feelings – the link has other Good Friday resources)

Holy Week in an unholy world by Shane Claiborne

13 Resources – Good Friday 25 March 2016

Classic Tony Campolo sermon – It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming

Prayer: This is Love
This is love.
Not that you spoke words of comfort,
walked with the unclean and unloved,
shared wisdom, bread and wine,
brought healing into lives
and challenged the status quo.

This is love.
That you spoke the word of God,
walked a painful road to the Cross,
shared living water, bread of life,
brought Salvation to the world
and died for the sake of all.

This is love.
It is a seed
sown in the ground,
which germinates,
and spreads its sweet perfume.
(Source: John Birch, posted on Faith and Worship).

I stretch out
my arms
and bear
your cross
Your fear
that wells up and overflows
Your sorrow
that haunts
the most awful pain
You endure

I gather into myself
with open arms
to swallow it
in love
I drown your No in my Yes
to a deeper Yes
The grave itself I smother
in love
until there is
nothing left
but Yes
and still
even later and always
my open arms                                (c) Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light


What if Psalm 22 and Psalm 23 are the beginning and the ending of one single song instead of the spot where some monk arbitrarily put a second chapter head? If so, was Jesus working his way, praying his way or maybe even possibly singing his way through Psalm 22 AND Psalm 23 on the cross?
From “My God, My God…” to the company of evil doers mocking him, to the dividing of his raiment and casting of lots for his cloak, to the dust of death, to the “And I shall live for him” to the end of Psalm 22 and the shockingly similar “He Has Done It” (close to the Aramaic equivalent of the pluperfect tetelesthai, “It Has Been Finished/Accomplished”) and continuing on thru the 23rd Psalm. Since there were no chapter marks in the scrolls, what does it do to change your perception of the crucifixion if Jesus is continuing on through the Psalm – which of course WAS a song – to the Lord as Shepherd, through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, to the table in the presence of his enemies to the cup – not taken away from him but literally running over?
Maybe the “It is finished” was one of his last words… or maybe as he ebbed in and out of consciousness and his lifeblood was dripping away he was singing to the end of the full Psalm’s thought… to the to dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.
When I (Rich Melheim) had my heart incident, I found myself quietly singing hymns in my head, in and out of sleep and consciousness. Hymns of hope and comfort. Hymns of peace and “It is well, oh my soul.” And guess what? The music helped me believe it was.
Maybe Jesus was singing, too. After all, the Psalms were songs.
In the film, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, the men in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, sing Psalm 23 to their friend Celliers (David Bowie), who has been buried in the ground up to his neck as a means of punishment and then left to die. This is an example of the way the Psalm is a comfort in times of deep distress and in the time of death. Might Jesus have been singing his way through the psalms in his time of distress?

And if we continue through Psalm 22 and Psalm 23, all the way to Psalm 31, we find these words –
1. In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. 2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. 3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. 4 Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.
Through the long journey of Psalm 22 to Psalm 31, might these words represent the final words Jesus says on the cross?

Jesus you took bread and broke it,
You shared it with your friends.
As you were broken to feed us with the bread of life.
Jesus you took wine and poured it out,
Grapes crushed and drained of life.
As you were crushed and drained of your life blood.
Jesus you prayed fervently in agony of spirit,
That God’s cup of suffering might pass away.
Your sweat fell like drops of blood yet you endured the pain.
You hung upon a tree and were crucified for us,
But looked in compassion on your murderers.
Look too in compassion on we who caused your suffering and your death.
Jesus you died for us and fell as a seed into the ground,
Knowing that your death would produce a plentiful harvest of new life.
May we too be willing to die to ourselves that others may find true and eternal life.
(c) Christine Sine, Godspace

aboriginal crucifixion

Christine Sine reflects: As I sat contemplating the events of the last day of Jesus life, I was struck as never before by the confusion, disillusionment and betrayal that Jesus followers must have felt as they watched him walk through his final hours. The powerful Messiah they had hoped for became instead a humble servant. The one they thought would be crowned as king was crowned instead with thorns. Crucified not worshipped.
Today many of us suffer the same disillusionment. Every time we turn around there is another report of chaos, death and suffering. We live in a broken world that desperately needs a saviour, but can a dead messiah who washed feet and welcomed lepers possibly be the Way, the Truth and the Life? This prayer comes out of these reflections.

Walk today into the wisdom of God.
Jesus does not mislead us.
He who is the Way,
will not guide us into blind alleys and desert wastes.
He who is the truth
does not mock us with deceit and lies.
He who is the life
will not betray us with delusions that bring death.
Let his wisdom sustain not just us
but all who are weary.
Let his strength give courage to all who endure,
So that none will falter or lose heart.
Let his faith bring light to all who believe,
So that together we will cry out for justice,
And live with grace and mercy.
Beyond brokenness is love inexhaustible,
Beyond death is love incomparable.
Breathe your spirit over the whole earth, O God,
Show us the hope of your resurrection world.
Make us your new creation. (Christine Sine, Godspace).

Christ Jesus you hung upon a cross and died for us,
So that we might live for you.
Your body was broken and your blood shed,
So that we might be healed and made whole.
You were faithful unto death ,
So that we might be faithful unto life.
Your last command was that we might love one another,
One family together from every tribe and nation,
A new creation united through your sacrifice.
Redeemed by your blood,
Healed by your love,
United by your covenant of peace.
In your death may we find life. (c) Christine Sine, Godspace

More from Christine Sine here.

Celebrating Good Friday (a progressive viewpoint)
Easter week can elicit many questions. Did Jesus physically rise in a miraculous resuscitation on the third day after his death? Was the holy temple curtain torn in two from top to bottom at the moment of his death? (Mt 27:51) After his death, did the bodies of many dead saints rise up from their tombs and flood Jerusalem appearing to many? (Mt 27:52) Let’s face it, progressives often come to very different conclusions on these topics than most conservative evangelical pastors do. But one thing that most tend to agree on is that Jesus was executed on a day that we recognize today as Good Friday.
Jesus (then known as Yeshua of Nazareth) seems to have been a man of great compassion and conscience. He hated to see the religious institution hijacked by legalistic Pharisees, and he loathed the idea that the poor and sick went untended by both the state and church. He thought of himself as one with God, and he believed that he / we could harness eternal Spirit for the transformation of ourselves and the world.
Because he was so bold to believe in his prophetic vision, and even more courageous to profess it publicly, he was put to a gruesome and unfathomable death by the state. The religious institutions saw him as a threat to their power for daring to think for himself, and the government viewed him as a threat for giving the people something bigger to hope for.
As his followers ascribed increasing importance to his ministry, his opponents realized that he had the influence to start a grass roots movement of the people. As it turned out, that heartful free thinker we call Jesus became a serious threat to the order of things for daring to share a greater vision.
But then again, is it much different today? Sure, most countries don’t practice barbaric executions these days for the exercising of free thought. But certainly social executions still happen every day. Daring to suggest that the physical resurrection was not a literal event is even a shunable offense from most churches and good Christian social circles. It is my guess that if you are reading this you know exactly what I’m talking about.
That is why I reach out to you today in solidarity. On this day, Good Friday, we can remember a resolute teacher called Jesus, whose life was squashed for daring to express a bigger vision. His bravery, inspiration, and conviction during his life is worthy of exaltation.
Today is a day we can very intentionally remember what Jesus was truly about. No matter how we choose to interpret the meaning of Sunday, we still have the unity of Friday. A day when Jesus willingly paid the ultimate price for daring to transcend the principalities of his day for the greater good. Risking his comfort and security to speak progress in a society that was gripping for its life to the sinking sands of creedal security, tribal allegiance, and veneered sanctity.
Therefore, I bid you a sacred Friday today. A day where we can be encouraged to stand up for what’s right, come what may. And on Sunday perhaps we can reflect on that moment when a person dares to elevate their mind, heart, and spirit beyond the tribe and become the change they want to see in the world. That is what rising can mean. Rising above the confederation who seek to squelch an awakening for their own comfort or gain. That is what Jesus did. And that is what we all can do. Peace.
(Source: Eric Alexander,

An intercessory prayer for Good Friday by Rev Bosco Peters
Let us pray for the one holy catholic and apostolic Church of Christ throughout the world:
for its unity in witness and service,
for all bishops and other ministers
and the people whom they serve,
for N our bishop, and all the people of this diocese,
for all Christians in this community,
for those about to be baptised (particularly…),
that God will confirm the Church in faith, increase it in love, and preserve it in peace.


Faithful and compassionate God,
your Spirit guides the Church and makes it holy;
hear the prayers we offer,
that in the particular ministry
to which you have called us,
we may serve you faithfully,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Let us pray for all nations and peoples of the earth,
and for those in authority among them:
for N the Prime Minister
and for the government of this country,
for N our mayor
and those who serve with him/her on the council,
for all who serve the common good,
that by God’s help they may seek justice and truth,
that all might live in peace and harmony.


Faithful and compassionate God,
kindle, we pray, in every heart
the true love of peace,
and guide with your wisdom those in authority,
that justice, peace, and freedom may increase,
until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Let us pray for all who suffer:
for the hungry and the homeless,
the deprived and the oppressed,
for the sick, the wounded, and the handicapped,
for those in loneliness and in fear,
for those in confusion, doubt, and despair,
for the sorrowful and bereaved,
for prisoners,
and all at the point of death,
that God’s love will comfort and sustain them, and that we may be stirred up to minister to them.


Faithful and compassionate God,
the comfort of all who sorrow,
the strength of all who suffer,
hear the cry of all who call on you in any trouble,
grant them the joy
of receiving your help in their need,
and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Let us pray for all who do not believe the gospel of Christ:
for those who have never heard the message of
for those who have lost their faith,
for those who are indifferent to Christ,
for those who actively oppose Christ by word or deed,
and persecute Christ’s disciples,
for those who in the name of Christ have persecuted others,
that God will open their hearts to the truth, and lead them to faith and obedience.


Faithful and compassionate God,
you create and love all the peoples of the earth;
may your good news be so lived and proclaimed,
that all are brought home to your presence,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Let us commit ourselves to God,
and pray for the grace of a holy life,
that with all who have died in the peace of Christ,
and with those whose faith is known to God alone,
we may enter the fullness of life
in the joy of Christ’s resurrection.


God, our refuge and strength,
accept the fervent prayers of your people,
and bring to fulfilment your plan for all creation,
through Jesus Christ your First?]born,
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.


We walk the way that has no end (Tune: Winchester, Ride on Ride on in majesty)
We walk in silence while the earth
Quivers and cracks beneath our feet
Swallows our dreams and shatters worth
Solemn, we trudge to hearts’ dull beat.

We walk while singing, motley choir
of traitors, lovers, meek and proud
Small sparks of apostolic fire
light up the path, lighten the shroud.

We walk in solidarity
and sing of hope that never dies
We march to end disparity
graves open as our spirits rise.

We walk the way that has no end
Free to evolve, transform our creed
Hearts, torn like curtains, start to mend
Love rising now in word, in deed.

(optional verse)
There are no strangers on the way
Just travellers who will soon be friends
And destination —there is none:
A spiral path that never ends.
(Source: Bronwyn Angela White (2012)—Wellington, New Zealand)

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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