Good Friday Service 2020

Our Good Friday service was to be performed in church, but sadly, because of current circumstances, this cannot take place.

A very large, extremely heavy cross was to be carried through the church, followed by Jesus, Roman soldiers and a group of people including the women. 

Allow your imagination to take you back to that darkest Friday afternoon as you read the Good Friday service below. Listen to the opening music and reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus. Click on the links to hear and join in the hymns. The words will be on the screen. 

GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE - 2.00 pm  (A service of quiet reflection)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

(click on link below) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLyB8nxvOeY&list=RD5mYlm8b3eUI&index=11

(As this is playing may we suggest you use the time to reflect on the crucifixion and pray)

First Reading from Luke 22 : 54-62 

Peter Denies Jesus

54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

First Narrative. (Imagine: Peter stands in the pulpit of St Botolph’s church. He speaks with great remorse,  regret and shame. “How could I possibly have denied Jesus in this way. I am distraught.”)

“My name is Simon Peter, but they call me Peter. I was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and  I was with him the night when he was arrested. I feel so bad.  I want to tell you about that night.

The mob led Jesus away. I followed them from a safe distance because I wanted to see what was going to happen to Jesus. They led him into the city where the guards began to mock him. They made fun of him and his teachings. They blindfolded him and then began punching him. They would laugh and say, “If you’re the Son of God, then tell us which one of us is hitting you!”

Jesus didn't fight back. He had to be hurting, but he never even whimpered. The beatings went on through the night. I continued to watch from a distance, but the crowd of people was growing. There were three people that tried to say I was one of Jesus’ followers. The first was a servant girl, but I told her that I didn’t know Jesus. Later, another man accused me of following Jesus, but I said, “I am not one of His followers!” About an hour later, another man said, “This man was with Jesus — because he is also a Galilean. “Of course I was with Jesus, but I saw what they were doing to him and I didn’t want it to happen to me. So, all three times I said that I didn't know Jesus.

When the cock crowed at dawn, realisation set in and I knew what I had done. I had denied knowing Jesus, just like he said I would. I was so ashamed at what I had done, but I had been just so scared. The guards continued to watch Jesus. I wasn’t sure what they were going to do with him. I was fearful that more people might recognise me as one of His followers, so I went to find the other disciples. I knew they were probably hiding. I had no idea what was happening.  I felt such a failure and very alone. I wept bitterly. I was so ashamed. I just wanted to hide.“

Hymn/Song - Dear Lord and Father of Mankind (click on link below) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqOnjmr9Ah0

Second reading from Luke 23 : 1-25

Jesus Before Pilate

23 Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” 3 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.”4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” 5 But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

Jesus Before Herod

6 When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.7 And when he learned that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time.8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. 9 So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore punish and release him.”

Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified

18 But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”— 19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. 20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, 21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” 23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.

Second Narrative. (Imagine: John comes to the pulpit. He speaks with disbelief at what has happened. “I witnessed an innocent man being sent to the cross. How could this happen?”) 

“I’m John. I was one of Jesus’ closest followers and he was my dearest friend.  I cannot describe the love I felt for him. He was like a brother. We were so close and I knew He felt the same for me. 

I was there when they arrested Jesus and I stayed close to him right up until his death.  His trial was all so unbelievably unfair, cruel and incredibly unjust. I simply cannot come to terms with how I am feeling. 

After Jesus was betrayed in the Garden, he was mocked and cruelly beaten by those who arrested him. He was taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest. There was already a mob of people waiting there to see Jesus.

These men wanted to know what Jesus had been teaching, but Jesus told them to go ask the thousands of people that had listened and learned from Him! Jesus stood before the council. He was so bold and so brave  They asked him, “If you are the Christ, then tell us.” But Jesus replied, “If I tell you, you still will not believe. From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of God.”

Some of the men on the council were so angry. They shouted at Jesus and questioned again, “So, are you the Son of God then?” Jesus simply said, “You say that I am.” At this the the men grabbed Jesus and led him to the house of Pilate, the Roman Governor.

They told Pilate that Jesus had misled the Jews and refused to pay tribute to Caesar, the Roman Emperor. Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus’ only reply was: “You have said so.”

At this, Pilate had Jesus flogged. I watched and witnessed. It was the worst beating you can ever imagine. The Pharisees wanted Jesus to be executed—killed—for the things he had said, but Pilate didn’t think Jesus had done wrong, so he sent Jesus to Herod, another Roman official. I felt a glimmer of hope!

Herod questioned Jesus for a very long time, but eventually he just sent him back to Pilate. Neither Pilate nor Herod wanted anything to do with Jesus, but the Chief Priests didn’t agree and they struck a deal with Pilate to let the crowd choose who would be crucified—Jesus or Barabbas.

I stood in disbelief at what I was hearing. This man Barabbas was a notorious thief and a MURDERER.  He was nothing but EVIL.

How could this happen?  Only a few days ago, these people were shouting “Hosanna” as Jesus came into Jerusalem so I thought for sure that they would ask Pilate to free Jesus. But instead, the crowds now shouted, “Crucify, Crucify him!” Pilate asked the crowd three times, and each time the people shouted louder, “Crucify Him!”

My heart sank deep. All hope gone. I know that Jesus spoke to us about his death, but I still couldn’t believe what was happening. I wanted to stop it, but  there was nothing I could do. I watched, helpless, as Jesus struggled to breathe. Jesus was going to be sent to his death.” 

Hymn/Song - My Song is Love Unknown (click on link below) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNN9DBobCdw

Third Reading from Matthew 27 : 26-55

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.

38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Third Narrative

(As Mary’s friend recalls what she witnessed, picture in your mind, Simon of Cyrene carrying the large, very heavy cross down the aisle of our church.  Jesus follows with Roman soldiers either side of him, mocking and beating him. A group follow Jesus, including Mary and her friends) 

(Imagine:  A friend of Mary,  mother of Jesus,  speaks from the pulpit. She is totally grief stricken.  She speaks with a tremor in her voice)

I’ll never forget what happened. If only I could banish the image of it all from my mind. 

He said he was a king, so they crowned him but the crown was of thorns.  The thorns tore through his flesh and blood trickled down his face. They whipped him, over and over and over. They beat him and kicked him. They spat at him. There was a huge crowd following Jesus. Some were still shouting crucify, and others were crying because they didn't want to see him die. I felt desolate; bereft. 

They led Jesus and two other men to the place called Golgotha. A small hill, strewn with rubbish. It was nothing more than a tip. Romans executed the worst kinds of criminals here. 

I watched as they nailed Mary’s Jesus to a cross. I don’t know how, but  I made myself watch the nails being driven through his flesh.  Huge nails are hammered through his hands and his feet. The pain, the agony.  He is bleeding more seriously now. As the cross is lifted up, the weight of his life hangs on those nails. Every time he struggles to pull himself up to breathe, his ability to cling to life slips away.  They raised him up between the other two men. I remember watching, with tears streaming down my face, as Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

I continued to watch as Jesus struggled to breathe. Mary was distraught as she witnessed her Son suffer. What mother could bear such pain as this.  I knew that Jesus couldn't live much longer. I began to wonder about what would happen next. It was about midday and everywhere went dark. There was no light, not even in the sun. We watched Him. We waited. Agonising hours went by.  Then at three in the afternoon  Jesus cried out in a loud voice asking “my God Why have you forsaken me.” Someone ran to him and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar and gave it to him to drink. Jesus cried out once more: “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” and he surrendered his last breath. 

I saw his mother, Mary, as she cried for her son. She was sobbing.  I saw John holding her, trying to comfort her. There isn’t much comfort when you’re beloved son has died such a painful death. The look of deep, deep  sadness on her face made me imagine the face of God as He watched His only Son give up his life.

I stood there, at the foot of that cross with John, trying to help console my dear friend Mary, as they consoled me. I too was crying for Jesus; for Mary. She was desolate. 

My mind was in turmoil, totally overwhelmed by what had happened. Deep in my heart and silently, I questioned - how could THIS be the end? 

Solo : Were You There When They Crucified My Lord  (click on link below)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpSScICWJ9M


PRAYERS

Dear Lord and Father

We remember today the great pain and suffering you endured as you stretched out your arms on that wooden cross. You sacrificed yourself that we might be set free. You forgave us and offered us eternal life in heaven with you. 

As we dwell on the pain of your suffering, help us to be truly thankful for this gift of great love. Help us not to take for granted the hope you have given us. Remind us to continually place our trust in you in all circumstances.  Help us to give and receive forgiveness knowing that you have forgiven us.

We praise and glorify your almighty, wonderful name. 

Amen

A Prayer for Coronavirus 

Father God,

We know our sufferings bear no comparison to yours on that cross, but loving Father we come to you in prayer, asking you to save us from this virus. 

You tended the sick, healed the lame and raised the dead. Lord, we ask your help to overcome this threat to our world. Please take away our fears and our worries and replace them with your love and peace. Give us all a sense of purpose. Comfort the lonely and those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Protect our families and friends and we ask your healing of those who have the virus. 

Father we thank you for all those who are on the front line. Be with and protect the many doctors and nurses who are tending the sick and all the key workers in every area of our lives. Father we pray for both physical and mental healing for all. 

Guide our Government and world leaders and we pray they would seek to do your will. Grant them wisdom and foresight to make good and just decisions. We pray for healing of those in Government who are suffering the virus. 

We pray you would inspire researchers to develop testing and to create a vaccine to protect us. 

Father please rid us, at speed, of this deadly virus and we pray that through all that is happening, people will recognise a need for you and draw close to you. We pray for a revival of faith and new beginnings. 

We thank you for hearing our prayers in this desperate time of need. 

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Amen

We say together the prayer that Jesus taught us:-

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.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
For ever and ever.
Amen

Reflection
“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
(Psalm 33: 20-22)