Silence and Stillness
Give yourself a couple moments to still your body, your mind, and your heart. Sit comfortably and quietly, and take deep breaths.
Lord Jesus, on this day you carried our sins in your own body on the tree so that we might have life. May we and all who remember this day find new life in you, both now and in the world to come. Meet with us as we keep this vigil together, and speak to our hearts as our ears hear the record of your conquering love. Amen
Scripture Reading – Isaiah 53:4-6
If you are with another, have two people take turns reading this passage, alternating each line.
It was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
Hymn – “Old Rugged Cross”
Old Rugged Cross
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
But I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
‘Til my trophies at last I lay day
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown
Oh, that old rugged cross so despised by the world
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true
Its shame and reproach gladly bear
Then he’ll call me some day to my home far away
Where his glory forever I’ll share
Scripture Reading – Matthew 27:1-2 and 11-26
Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.
Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him.
Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.
Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)
Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”
Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”
The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”
Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
“Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”
But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”
Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”
And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!” So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
Prayer of Confession
Take some time to silently come to God in a spirit of confession, remembering how Jesus – who was completely innocent – was willing to suffer and bear death for the sake of our forgiveness and salvation. After you’ve given some time to quiet confession simply pray aloud:
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
A Letter to Jesus Based on Psalm 22
Make some time today to write a letter of your own to Jesus on this Good Friday. What do you want to say to him today?
Musical Interlude – “Orual”
Homily – Matthew 27:27-50
Scripture Reading – Matthew 27:51-61
At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.
As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.
Responding in Prayer
From the echoeing voices of old Hebrew promises speaking about a suffering servant, to shouting mobs and jeering officials, to the agonized cries of Jesus from the cross… From the tearing of the temple curtain, to the rumbling earth and cracking of rock, to the chaotic rabble of the dead coming to life…. From the mournful tears of the women who watched their friend die, to the grinding roll of the stone, to the deafening silence of a cold body laying in a borrowed tomb…. What sound most grabbed your attention this Good Friday? Take a couple moments to reflect on that sound and then respond to God in prayer.
Hymn – “Near the Cross”
Near the Cross
Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever
‘Til my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me
Near the cross, O Lamb of God
Bring its scenes before me
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadows o’er me
Near the cross! I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever
‘Til I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river
God of all the world, whose only Son was offered up for us all, have mercy on those who know you not, and upon us who know you but often deny the faith of Christ crucified. Fetch home to your fold all who have gone astray, so that we become one flock, under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.