Today is normally a day for gathering together; for walking as a witness; for a public act of worship at the foot of the cross. This year, things will be very different. Perhaps we will be able to slip into the darkness of Good Friday easier than ever before. Perhaps, more than ever, we will allow our hearts to ache at the brokenness of our world and our own souls. Perhaps too, more than ever, we will need to look out for the crack in the darkness that lets in the light…
Below are some prayers and readings you might like to use at any time today. We will put up more resources as suggested by a variety of church members on the website. Some people are choosing to display a cross in their windows between 9am and 3pm (the hours, we think, Christ was on the cross). Some are choosing to light a candle at 7pm. Some will be spending the evening in stillness whilst others will journey to the cross by watching the free to view screening of the critically acclaimed (and highly recommended by me!) production of Jesus Christ Superstar on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/theshowsmustgoon
However you are spending the day, may God bless you as we journey to the cross, the tomb and beyond…
Follow Jesus’ journey to the cross, as told in all four gospel accounts…
- John 19:1, 6-16 – Jesus is sentenced to death
- Mark 15:16-24 – Jesus is taken to Golgotha
- Luke 23:32 – 43 – Jesus offers forgiveness
- Matthew 27:45 – 50 (GNT) – the death of Jesus
Reflect on ‘The Ballad of the Bread Man’ – Charles Caulsey
Prayer to use
God of love, the hosannas have died away, the palm branches have turned brittle, the bread is turning stale.
Now, today, there is only this – each of us, all of us, sitting silently, the mumblings of our own feeble confession, on this Friday which we tremble to call Good.
But what is good about Good Friday? What is good about the innocent one nailed to a cross?
What is good about the violence that persists today? …about our devastation of the planet?
… about people living in poverty? … about a pandemic of suffering of and fear, disease and despair?
No, there is nothing good and desirable in these things. Yet you, O God, are Good.
When suffering reigns, yours is the first heart to break. When despair grows, we remember that you were there first, peering into the abyss and crying out, “Father, forgive them.”
When we feel forsaken, we remember that in your last moments you cared for your mother and your beloved disciple, binding them to one another as a new family.
When we feel overcome by guilt, we remember that you spoke grace to a thief, saying – “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
Your love for us is just that boundless, and ever-present, and Good. So, even today, we offer up and thanks and praise.
This strange Good Friday, help us to seek understanding in the darkness; help us to hold mysteries and ask questions; help us to rediscover your grace. And as we wait for Easter’s dawn, comfort us with the promise that no power on Earth – not floods nor viruses, not even death itself – can separate us from your love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Reflection – Roddy Hamilton
When the alleluias fall silent
and the story comes to a stop
and the words fade out mid-sentence
and even the stones keep quiet
and those who still find there is something to say
shout for the wrong side
then you know the Lord of Life
has finished the parable
and the tragedy bows its final bow
in the world and is entombed
With one final sentence:
‘It is finished”
all that remains is the fear
that we may never find our voices again and we will forget
how to speak of love
now the word
has been silenced
and the story
run out of endings