COCU29C.Good Friday C

On the Cross by David and Dale MacGregor (scroll down for lyrics)

See also Good Friday B
Isaiah 52:13-53:12: A song of the suffering servant, who is persecuted and dies for the sake of others (“us”).
Psalm 22: A Psalm of lament, grieving the suffering and abandonment of the writer, but celebrating the inevitable rescue that will come, and praising the God who brings this salvation.
Hebrews 10:16-25: We have confidence to approach God, because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, and can now live in hope, in intimacy with God, and in love-in-action.
John 18:1 – 19:42: Jesus is arrested, tried, crucified and buried – and through it all, reveals the brokenness and lack of integrity of those who face him, while revealing his own truth, integrity and divine character.
(Bible readings summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Resources here on the Ruach website – liturgy and Tenebrae service

Good Friday Tenebrae service

New in 2019: Why we need Good Friday as much as Easter Sunday (Clare Boyd-Macrae, Sydney Morning Herald)

Music: On the Cross
On the cross, On the cross
as Jesus died
God’s great love
God’s great love
was realised
To forgive
To forgive
our brokenness
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul
My life my all

Gift of love, Gift of love
There in my place
As “I forgive”
“I forgive”
tears down your face
you take it all
You take it all
in wondrous grace
Love so amazing
On the cross, On the cross
Restored with you
Your faithfulness exemplified:
what Love can do! and
I but give
I but give
my thanks and praise
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul
My life my all
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul
My life my all

(Source: David MacGregor © 2019 Willow Publishing)
Score and background to the song here.

Lord Jesus Christ,
you spent your life creating community,
on the road, around meal tables,
making strangers into friends.
Now, as you are dying,
you call into being the most intimate community of all.
You create a new family,
not by birth, not by law,
but by your word of love.
You give your dear friend to your mother;
you give your mother to your friend.
Look kindly, we pray,
upon every household where your love dwells.
Give tenderness and loyalty
to all whom you call to live together,
both within and beyond the patterns of family
that we have seen before.
In every home, in all our loving,
may we give ourselves to each other
with the generosity and faithfulness
that we have learnt from you,
now and for ever. Amen.
(Source: Elizabeth Smith 2019, #GoldfieldsLentenGodtalk)

Today is a day of contradictions. We are always dying and rising to new life, but especially on this day.
We are all the actors in this story: the people shouting “Crucify him!”
and the women who stand vigil at the foot of the cross,
the soldiers who cast lots for his tunic
and Joseph of Arimathea who gave his own tomb for Jesus’ burial.
Today we lament the pain of this world and we face our complicity in that pain and seek to be witnesses to, and participants in, God’s power over the evil of this world.

God, on this dark day, when even Jesus felt abandoned, we hesitate.
We want to ask you to be present with us but we hesitate.
We have no right to ask. We have no certainty.
We have only hope, the hope that regardless of how we feel
and despite what we do, you have never abandoned your world.
Open our hearts and minds this day to the goodness of Good Friday, and fill us with your love that makes all things new. Amen.

How have we forsaken you, O God?
Where there is suffering – and we turn our eyes.
Where there is exclusion – and we turn our backs.
Where there is need – and we turn our hearts.
And yet, we know that you are among the injured,
and the lonely, and the hungry, and the poor.
How have we forsaken you, O God? Silence
For those whose lives are torn apart by war, the civilians and the soldiers and the families who are waiting for loved ones to come home, Holy One, we pray:
(we bring to mind people, places and situations)
How have we forsaken you, O God? Silence
For those whose stomachs ache with hunger, Holy One, we pray:
refugee communities without food, those whose lands no longer provide food for their community.
How have we forsaken you, O God? Silence
For those whose bodies have no shelter from the elements, Holy One, we pray: rough sleepers on our city streets, those escaping violence and making do as best they can.
How have we forsaken you, O God? Silence
For those who are imprisoned, justly or unjustly, Holy One, we pray: prisoners of war, those detained on Manus and Nauru and in immigration detention, inmates in prisons, people awaiting sentencing,
How have we forsaken you, O God? Silence
For those whose minds or spirits seek comfort and cannot find it, Holy One, we pray: those who are grieving, in transition, mentally ill, those who cannot find employment.
How have we forsaken you, O God? Silence

It is in the darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away from our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure. (Thomas Merton)

To each one of us Christ is saying: If you want your life and mission to be fruitful, like mine, do as I do. Be converted into a seed that lets itself be buried. Let yourself be killed. Do not be afraid. Those who shun suffering will remain alone. No one is more alone than the selfish. But if you give your life out of love for others, as I give mine for all, you will reap a great harvest. (Oscar Romero)

Now is the acceptable time! (2 Cor 6.2)
Help us to be your hands, Holy One:
reaching out to heal the hurting of this world.
Help us to be your ears, Holy One,
hearing and understanding to the cries for justice and mercy.
Help us to be your arms, Holy One,
embracing the sorrow and offering comfort.
Help us to be your feet, Holy One,
walking with those who suffer and guiding the journey toward peace.
Let us not forsake you any longer, O God.
Now is the acceptable time!
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.

#metoo and Good Friday?
(excerpt) On Good Friday, before Jesus Christ was crucified, the Romans stripped him naked (or at least nearly naked) in order to disgrace him. Two scholars claim that this act constitutes sexual violence, and fits under the purview of the #MeToo movement. Katie Edwards, director at the University of Sheffield’s Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies in Britain, and David Tombs, Howard Paterson chair of theology and public issues at the University of Otago in New Zealand, argued that modern gender conventions make it hard to understand the stripping of Jesus in its historic humiliating nature. “Crucifixion was a ‘supreme punishment’ and the stripping and exposure of victims was not an accidental or incidental element,” the scholars argue. “It was a deliberate action that the Romans used to humiliate and degrade those they wished to punish. It meant that the crucifixion was more than just physical, it was also a devastating emotional and psychological punishment.”
(Source: Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media)

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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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