Before we begin our Good Friday service, you will need: bread/crackers and juice/water for communion, and a candle to light (if you have one). Join us in singing or listening, take turns reading, and follow the *prompts* for a more interactive and multisensory experience. For best results, view on your computer.
This morning we will be working our way through final sayings of Jesus in scripture readings, multimedia reflections based on the book Death on a Friday Afternoon, a message from Winston, and communion. Let's begin.
* Light your candle *
Good Friday takes us back to Christ’s sacrifice for us. We begin with Jesus in the garden.
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Jesus there, along with criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” They divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:32-34)
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)
(Photo credit: Bing Wright 2012)
This, then, is our circumstance.
Something has gone dreadfully wrong with the world,
and with us in the world.
Things have fallen apart.
It isn’t all our fault, but it is our fault too.
We cannot blame our distant parents for that fateful afternoon in the garden, for we were there.
Father, forgive them... Whom is he praying for?
Perhaps the prayer is for us to become like the prodigal,
to come to our senses and know what we’ve done.
"How many of my father’s servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, 'Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’" (Luke 15:17-20 NIV/MSG)
* Let's sing together *
* Play this music quietly while you reflect on the words below *
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” This means: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:45-46)
Later, knowing everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. (Ps 22:2)
One who cries out My God, My God – though he may be crying to a God experienced as absent,
has not lost hope.
Jesus does not despair.
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. (Ps 22:11)
His hour has come.
He has drunk the dregs of the cup he was given
and the entirety of his mission reaches its crescendo in this cry.
Far from being in control, he has without remainder, surrendered control to the Father.
Everything in the Father’s hands God is present in his apparent absence.
God is present in the forsaken so that nobody is forsaken.
Jesus went to the cross for us.
There, he experienced our pain and our loss,
the heart-ache and soul-thirst of broken fellowship with God.
Thirst for the love of God to satisfy us,
for the life of God to sustain us,
for the presence of God to be with us,
and for the heart of God to show compassion, to forgive and restore us.
( * Turn off previous music * )
* Listen to this song as you reflect on its lyrics below *
* Let's sing together *
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
The time has come.
It is finished.
By any ordinary measure, this is not a competition, but a poignant failure.
It is death. It is the demolition of all those grand hopes He had aroused.
He started out announcing the coming of the kingdom of God, and He ends up here.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
What kingdom? What comfort? What inheritance? What love is this?
It could truly be said ‘God is dead’ and there is no catastrophe beyond the death of God.
But, the human project cannot fail because God has invested Himself in it;
Jesus, God’s Son, is truly one of us.
God has taken our part by taking our place.
So, it is finished.
It is settled, decided, certain, and complete. Nothing can happen now to undo it. It is finished.
But it is not over.
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:44-46)
* Blow out your candle *
In one exhale, He commends a mission into the Father’s hands.
A mission that seems to have ended in shambles of betrayal and death.
Those He had chosen forsook Him and fled.
His enemies surrounded Him, mocked Him in His defeat.
Yet He says, “Come with me, I am going to the Father, despite all, I believe am going to the father.”
To a prodigal child lost in a distant land,
To a thief who believed,
To those who did not know what they did to God,
To the whole bedraggled company of humankind – He says:
“Come. Everything is ready now. Come, we are going to the waiting Father.”
(Thank-you to Chris Buckley & staff team for your leadership.)