Good Friday 2020
We now enter a time of Scripture reading, prayer, and reflection on the story of Jesus' crucifixion. Please appoint someone to read the Scripture and someone to lead the prayers.
PRAYER: O Lord, we approach this time and space as your people, as those who have been called out of darkness into your marvelous light. We are here only because you have loved us and been faithful across the generations that we might be your people. And yet we quickly confess that we are not worthy of that love.
As we contemplate the Cross and what it means, we are filled with joy and wonder at the sacrifice that Jesus has made to show us light in the darkness and offer us life in the midst of death. We confess that we have nothing to offer in return for that sacrifice, nothing that will match such love. We know that only love can respond to such a gift. Yet we know that we are not always loving or lovable. But you remain steadfastly faithful to us. You love us even when we are not lovable, and remain steadfast in your grace that calls us to follow the example of Jesus who is the Christ.
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:39-46)
PRAYER: Jesus, I see in your silence the quiet strength that reveals a peace and a resolve. O Lord, help me deal with the unfairness of life without becoming critical of others. Help me to be sensitive to the pain and feelings of others. Give me the courage to do what is right without being swayed by the demands of others.
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” (Matthew 26:45-46)
PRAYER: O Lord, forgive my unwillingness to repent, to confess all that I am before you. To often I betray you in my words and actions. Help me go beyond the repentance mouthed in words of false piety, to sweep away all the facades of who I try so hard to be before others, and recall who I really am inside. Help me once again stand before God with a bare and open heart. Help me not just to repent in words, but to put that repentance into action in everything I am and do. O Lord, give me the gift of tears to weep for my own failures, for my sins, for the pain I bring to others, and to live the fruits of repentance.
Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end. Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him (Matthew 26:57-67)
PRAYER: O Lord, the Jewish officials didn’t understand what it meant for you to be Messiah, and they condemned you as a criminal worthy of death. Your own followers didn’t understand what it meant for you to be Messiah, so they scattered and hid in your hour of crisis. Help me not to be like these! Help me to understand what it means when I confess you to be the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed of God. And may this confession lead me to a life of true discipleship. Let your kingdom come, Lord, and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. And let this happen in my life, even today! Amen.
And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands (John 19:2-3)
PRAYER: It was for us that you suffered Jesus. It was for our sins that You were condemned to die. We prayer that we may detest our sins from the bottom of our hearts, and obtain your mercy and pardon by repentance.
So they took Jesus and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. (John 19:17)
PRAYER: O Lord, forgive me for forgetting that in my weakness I am driven to trust on you, and that in such trust my weakness becomes your strength. Forgive my attitudes of self-pity that make me more repulsive than loving. I do not ask for crosses to bear. But when they come, give me the strength to bear them as one who follows your example.
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus (Luke 23:26).
PRAYER: O Lord, forgive me for becoming so preoccupied with myself that I have become deaf and blind to the grief and suffering of those around me. Forgive me for my indifference. Constantly remind me that I cannot love you without loving others as well. Help me always remember that to be a follower of yours means that I share in the burdens of others. Lord, show me someone whose cross I may help carry.
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it." This was to fulfill what the scripture says, "They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots." (John 19:23-24)
PRAYER: O Lord, forgive me for wanting to take the path of glory and reward. Forgive me for my selfishness that wants to serve you in easy ways and seeks the reward of others' praise. Lord, teach me the humility of spirit that replaces self-centeredness with a sacrificial spirit. Make me vulnerable so that I may follow your example. Help me see those around me who are in need. Give me the courage to lay aside the things that I use to hide from their need, and find ways to minister to others as you have shown us.
It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews." And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!" In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, "He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe." Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. (Mark 15:23-32)
PRAYER: O Lord, remind me of the deathly cost of sin. Forgive me for those things I have done that are displeasing to you. Forgive me for not allowing you to deal with the darkness that I harbor in the hidden recesses of my heart. Forgive me for fooling myself into believing that I am more righteous than I am, that I am better than others, and that I have no need to repent. Forgive me for those things I should have done, but found excuses not to do. O Lord, make me better than I am, transform me into what I can be by your grace.
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?" When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, "Listen, he is calling for Elijah." And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was God's Son!" (Mark 15:33-39)