a good friday liturgy

made|newgoodfriday

2,016 years ago, God couldn’t walk.  He had to be carried everywhere, like most babies.

2,014 years ago, God took some staggering first steps, fell and scraped His knee.  He cried, and His mother wiped away His tears and told Him to try again.  Or maybe He still crawled everywhere at two years old.  Some toddlers are late bloomers.

2,010 years ago, God ran across the street in a small town with the other kids, perhaps playing a version of soccer.  He might not have been very good at it.

2,000 years ago, God walked across the dirt floor of a carpenter’s shop and got a splinter stuck in his big toe.  He possibly said “ouch!”

1,986 years ago, God hoofed it all over the countryside, talking to people and healing them of diseases.  He accidentally stepped in sheep dung, and had to wipe his sandals on the grass.

1,983 years ago, God walked the streets of Jerusalem, bloodied and beaten, carrying a rough-hewn beam of wood on His back.  His feet failed Him, and someone stronger had to carry the cross for Him.

The liturgy below presents glimpses of the last walking moments of God (incognito).

We easily forget that it wasn’t just our salvation that Jesus Christ bought for us, it was the opportunity to walk out our salvation.  Through an entire sinless life −even in the unwritten mundane ways − Jesus placed before us both a standard and a directive.  We are to walk in His steps, through His strength, for His glory. We worship a God who has walked in our shoes, and our highest hope and assurance is that we would walk in His.

Stay tuned for part two on Easter Sunday.  Let’s just say, leaping may be in order.

This liturgy was written for tonight’s Good Friday service at my church, and it borrows elements from the liturgy of the Stations of the Cross.

 

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We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

God of power and mercy, in love you sent your Son that we might be cleansed of sin and live with you forever.

Bless us as we gather to reflect on his suffering and death that we may follow his example and walk in his steps. We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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The Garden of Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36-41

Lord of Power and Might, in this moment, you submitted yourself to the Father. 

We are weak and weary. Our spirits are willing, sometimes. May we keep watch on this dark night with you, for you, because of you. We submit our wills and our prayers to you, knowing that you hear. May we accept your plans as exceedingly greater than we can imagine.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Hymn: Go to Dark Gethsemane

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Betrayed by Judas: Mark 14:43-46

Faithful Friend, in this moment, you surrendered yourself into the hands of a faithless friend.

With the symbol of love and trust, you were betrayed; that you would be a steadfast companion to all who accept your offer of friendship. May we turn to you now in loyalty and love, and remember your faithfulness to all generations. 

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Hymn: Ah, Holy Jesus, How Have You Offended

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Denied by Peter: Matthew 26:69-75

Resolute Father, in this moment, your strongest follower proved to be a coward. 

So often we waver and whimper our way through life. When we hang out with like-minded people, we are bold and brazen. When we face hostile consequences, we are ashamed of you and ashamed of the Gospel – like Peter. Give us the courage to claim your name with boldness.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Hymn: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

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Judged by Pilate: Mark 15:1-5, 11-15

Just Judge, in this moment, you made yourself weak and gave your enemies power over you. Your trial was rigged, your jury blinded by jealousy, and your judges unjust.

As sinners, you judge us with honesty and equity – based upon your holiness, we have been found guilty. As our Savior, you took our punishment as your own; based upon your sacrifice, we have been made righteous. In response, may our hearts be grateful, our attitudes toward other gracious, and our lives holy.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Hymn: Man of Sorrows, What a Name

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Scourged and Crowned with Thorns: John 19:1-3

Suffering Servant, in this moment, you endured scorn and ridicule from those you came to save. You were crushed for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.

The punishment that brought us peace was placed upon you, and with your stripes we are healed. May we see your sacrifice clearly, feel you suffering deeply, and hear your voice calling us to repentance and holiness.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Hymn: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed

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Crucified: John 19:15-17; Luke 23:33-34

Healer of the broken, we broke you.

Binder of the wounded, we wounded you.

Lamb of God, we slaughtered you.

Yet it was the Lord’s will that you be crushed, that your life be a bloody sacrifice for our sin. You emptied out your life unto death, that we may have life overflowing. May this be ever before us, never far from us, always within us: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Blessed are those whose sin the Lord will never count against them.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Hymn: Beneath the Cross of Jesus

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Promised His Kingdom to the Thief: Luke 23:39-43

Lover of the Unlovely, in this moment, you made straight the path for a crooked man to enter your rest.

Our ways are bent and our hearts are twisted, but the kingdom of God is not populated by perfect spiritual specimens. We are in a holy company of thieves, prostitutes, murderers, and liars – who have met God, in Christ. Remind us of the grace that does not give us what we truly deserve.

Lord, Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Hymn: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us 

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Died on the Cross: Luke 23:44-46

Giver of Life, in this moment, you gave yours up for us. Through the rending of your flesh, a way was made for us to enter your presence. 

Remind us of the depth of this death and the breadth of your love, that we, ever thankful, may die to ourselves daily and live a life worthy of your sacrifice.

Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Hymn: Amazing Grace

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Placed in the Tomb: Matthew 27:57-60

Rock of Our Salvation, in this moment, all hope was sealed away.

May we remember the silence of your grave, and keep silence.

(silence may be kept)

Lord Jesus Christ, your death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven; through your blood you have reconciled us to you. May we, who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries, follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven, where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

   Hymn: What Wondrous Love

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