Prayers, Readings and Reflection for Good Friday

10th April 2020

If you have a hymn book, you may like to read or sing the hymns which have been suggested.

Prayer for Good Friday

Eternal God, in the cross of Jesus we see the cost of our sin and the depth of your love: in humble hope and fear may we place at his feet all that we have and all that we are, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn
There is a green hill far away
Old Testament Reading:
Isaiah 53: 1-8, 11
New Testament Reading:
Hebrews 4: 14-16, 5: 7-9
Hymn:
My song is love unknown
The Passion Reading:
John 18: 28-40
Hymn:
From heaven you came
The Passion Reading:
John 19: 1-16a
Hymn
Rock of ages
The Passion Reading:
John 19: 16b-37

Good Friday Meditation – from the Northumbria Community

‘It is finished.’

Reviewing the scene on that Friday makes us realise that many others would have said similar words that day:

– the Soldiers, after their dreaded execution shift was over, it’s finished, thank Jupiter!

– the Crowd, now that the hideous entertainment was done, it’s finished.

– Judas, when he realised the enormity of what he had done in betrayal: it’s all over, finished.

– Peter and the disciples, after 3 wonderful years, then denial and desertion; it’s finished.

– the Priests, having seemingly come through a really tricky business: “we’ve managed it, it’s finished now.”

However, no one could say it the way Jesus said it or mean it the way Jesus meant it! The other gospel writers give us a clue. All of them say Jesus cried out with a loud voice, but only John records what He said. One word in the original language, a cry of triumph, satisfaction and victory = Finished! Accomplished! Done!

Jesus in complete control, despite the agonising pain that we must never minimise. It was real pain, real thirst, real death BUT this was no resigned victim, it was a Reigning Victor! Not, ‘I am finished’ but ‘it is finished’, for on the Cross God’s will was being done perfectly on earth as it is done in heaven! The Cross is no place of failure but of fulfilment.

If we look at John 19:28 we will see that exactly the same word is used. It reads: that Jesus “knowing that everything had now been finished (τετέλεσται)… said, ‘I am thirsty.’ The task the Father began in Eternity had now been accomplished in time!

The Cross was no surprise to Jesus – in John 17:4 we have the same root word used, where Jesus, anticipating the Cross, says to His Father “I have brought you glory on earth by completing (τελειώσας) the work you gave me to do.” All of His life was lived in the shadow of the Cross.

– His birth, the announcement that he was born to die i.e. Jesus = Saviour;

– His baptism, His introduction as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

– His Temptation was to avoid the Cross and throughout His Ministry he set His face toward Jerusalem.

So the Good Shepherd was knowingly laying down His life for the Sheep. Blood was shed, the Body broken, the Sacrifice made, as Jesus died “the righteous for the unrighteous to bring us back to God.”

Finished – when the last moment of the last hour of the last day of His life came, He had completed God’s mission and message to humankind. The greatest example of determination, perseverance and obedient love the world has ever seen.

For us, here and now, it means that we cannot add to something that is finished! We live in the grace, mercy, forgiveness and freedom given to us in Christ everyday of our lives. The death of Jesus was once-for-all, an historical event, but the love of God which expressed itself supremely in this event is the love in which we now live, move, give and forgive! The Cross is a sign, pointing away from itself to the reality of God becoming one with us in Jesus. To live Christianly is letting the Spirit of Christ be the Spirit of Christ in us and through us now, today and every day. Christianity is not a religion of DO but of Done! And because it is Done we can BE, be who we are, expressing the Spirit of Jesus through our humanity, our ordinariness, our vulnerability, our pain, brokenness and weakness.

We are called to be like Him and we too have a work to do for God, a task to accomplish, given us by the Father, that only we can finish.

Living in the DONE of the Cross, we seek to love God, love our neighbour, love one another, haltingly yet courageously, bringing our brokenness to His forgiveness, our sins to that finished work of the Cross, so that we can BE salt and light; BE broken bread and poured out wine to that part of the world, those relationships, those situations, we influence and impact; to make a difference, however small.

Trevor Miller, A Good Friday Communion Meditation, Northumbria Community

Used with permission.

Intercessions

God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Therefore we pray to our heavenly Father for people everywhere according to their needs. Let us pray for the Church of God throughout the world: for unity in faith, in witness and in service, for bishops and other ministers, and those whom they serve, for Stephen and Peter, our bishops, and the people of this diocese, for all Christians in this place; for those who are mocked and persecuted for their faith, that God will confirm his Church in faith, increase it in love, and preserve it in peace. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us. Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in holiness and truth to the glory of your name; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. Let us pray for the nations of the world and their leaders: for Elizabeth our Queen and the Parliaments of this land, for those who administer the law and all who serve in public office, for all who strive for justice and reconciliation, that by God’s help the world may live in peace and freedom. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us. Most gracious God and Father, in whose will is our peace, turn our hearts and the hearts of all to yourself, that by the power of your Spirit the peace which is founded on justice may be established throughout the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Let us pray for those who do not believe the gospel of Christ: for those who have not heard the message of salvation, for all who have lost faith, for the contemptuous and scornful, for those who are enemies of Christ and persecute those who follow him, for all who deny the faith of Christ crucified, that God will open their hearts to the truth and lead them to faith and obedience. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us. Merciful God, creator of all the people of the earth, have compassion on all who do not know you, and by the preaching of your gospel with grace and power, gather them into the one fold of the one Shepherd; Christ our Lord. Amen. Let us pray for all those who suffer: for those who are deprived and oppressed, for all who are sick, for those in darkness, in doubt and in despair, in loneliness and in fear, for prisoners, captives and refugees, for the victims of false accusations and violence, for all at the point of death and those who watch beside them, that God in his mercy will sustain them with the knowledge of his love. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us. Almighty and everlasting God, the comfort of the sad, the strength of those who suffer: hear the prayers of your children who cry out of any trouble, and to every distressed soul grant mercy, relief and refreshment, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Let us commend ourselves and all God’s children to his unfailing love, and pray for the grace of a holy life, that, with all who have died in the peace of Christ, we may come to the fullness of eternal life and the joy of the resurrection. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us. O God of unchangeable power and eternal light, look favourably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery, and by the tranquil operation of your perpetual providence carry out the work of our salvation: and let the whole world feel and see that things which were cast down are being raised up and things which had grown old are being made new and that all things are returning to perfection through him from whom they took their origin, even Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn
There is a redeemer

Prayer

Eternal God, in the cross of Jesus we see the cost of our sin and the depth of your love: in humble hope and fear we place at his feet all that we have and all that we are, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn
When I survey the wondrous cross

Closing Prayer

Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.