Order Of Service For April 1, 2021

The Death of Our Lord – Good Friday

CENTERING PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you carried our sins in your own body on the tree so that we might have life.  May we and all who remember this day find new life in you now and in the world to come, where you live and reign with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

SCRIPTURE

First Reading:  Isaiah 52:13–53:12

The fourth servant poem promises ultimate vindication for the servant, who made his life an offering for sin. The servant pours himself out to death and is numbered with the transgressors, images that the early church saw as important keys for understanding the death of Jesus.

13See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.
14Just as there were many who were astonished at him—so marred was his appearance, beyond    human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals—
15so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.
53:1Who has believed what we have heard?  And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.
4Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.  6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8By a perversion of justice he was taken away.  Who could have imagined his future?  For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.
9They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.  When you make his life an offering for sin,   he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.
11Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.  The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
12Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;  because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Ps. 22:1)

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
  Why so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?
2My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I find no rest.
3Yet you are the Holy One, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4Our ancestors put their trust in you, they trusted, and you rescued them. R
5They cried out to you and were delivered; they trusted in you and were not put to shame.
6But as for me, I am a worm and not human, scorned by all and despised by the people.
7All who see me laugh me to scorn; they curl their lips; they | shake their heads.
8“Trust in the Lord; let the Lord deliver; let God rescue him if God so delights in him.” R
9Yet you are the one who drew me forth from the womb, and kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born;
  you were my God when I was still in my mother’s womb.
11Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.
12Many young bulls encircle me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me. R
13They open wide their jaws at me, like a slashing and roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water; all my bones are out of joint;
  my heart within my breast is melting wax.
15My strength is dried up like a potsherd; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
  and you have laid me in the dust of death.
16Packs of dogs close me in, a band of evildoers circles round me;
  they pierce my hands and my feet. R
17I can count | all my bones while they stare at me and gloat.
18They divide my garments among them; for my clothing, they cast lots.
19But you, O Lord, be not far away; O my help, hasten | to my aid.
20Deliver me from the sword, my life from the power of the dog.
21Save me from the lion’s mouth!  From the horns of wild bulls you have rescued me.
22I will declare your name to my people; in the midst of the assembly I will praise you. R
23You who fear the Lord, give praise! All you of Jacob’s line, give glory.
  Stand in awe of the Lord, all you offspring of Israel.
24For the Lord does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty; neither is the Lord‘s face

       hidden from them; but when they cry out, the Lord hears them.
25From you comes my praise in the great assembly;
  I will perform my vows in the sight of those who fear the Lord.
26The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
  Let those who seek the Lord give praise! May your hearts live forever!
27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord;
  all the families of nations shall bow before God.
28For dominion belongs to the Lord, who rules over the nations. R
29Indeed, all who sleep in the earth shall bow down in worship;
  all who go down to the dust, though they be dead, shall kneel before the Lord.
30Their descendants shall serve the Lord, whom they shall proclaim to generations to come.
31They shall proclaim God’s deliverance to a people yet unborn,
  saying to them, “The Lord has acted!” R

Second Reading: Hebrews 10:16-25

In the death of Jesus, forgiveness of sins is accomplished and access to God is established. Hence, when we gather together for worship and when we love others, we experience anew the benefits of Jesus’ death.

[After the Holy Spirit says,]  16“This is the covenant that I will make with them
  after those days, says the Lord:
 I will put my laws in their hearts,
  and I will write them on their minds,”
17he also adds,
 “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
  19Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Second Reading (alternate): Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

In his death Jesus functions as great high priest who experiences temptation and suffering in order that we would receive mercy and find grace, because he is the source of true salvation.

14Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

5:7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Gospel: John 18:1—19:42

On Good Friday, the story of Jesus’ passion—from his arrest to his burial—is read in its entirety from the Gospel of John.

     1[Jesus] went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” 5They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

  12So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.
  15Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

  19Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

  25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

  28Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” 31Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” 32(This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

  33Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

  After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. 39But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 40They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.
19:1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. 4Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” 5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” 7The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

  8Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. 9He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” 11Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

  13When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” 15They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” 16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
  So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’ ” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

 “They divided my clothes among themselves,

  and for my clothing they cast lots.”

25And that is what the soldiers did.

  Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
  28After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

  31Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. 32Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” 37And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

  38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

SONG:  VU 145  O Sacred Head

MEDITATION

     “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” asks the hymn. As we enter into John’s gospel for Good Friday, this is a good question. How are we “there”? How are we present to Jesus’ suffering and death—in our hearts and minds, our communities, and our world? What is the meaning of his suffering and death for us? Good Friday worship invites us into such questions and through them forms our faith and guides our lives toward compassion. Traditions such as the Way of the Cross enable people to imagine themselves present with Jesus in his last hours before death.

     In Good Friday worship, we accompany Jesus to the cross with other witnesses who show various ways of being present—or not. A fearful Peter denies Jesus. A group of women keep watch and weep for Jesus on the cross. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take care of his lifeless body. Watching, weeping, caring, and even denying are all common human responses to suffering. Becoming aware of our own witness and responses, we can be present more compassionately to Christ crucified, wherever and whenever we encounter him in suffering and injustice.

     Even as we consider how to “be there” in the face of suffering, we know that, as always, Jesus has gone first. The reading from Isaiah reminds us how Jesus, through his death, is present with us in our suffering. We can trust that wherever we go and whatever we go through, Jesus is “there”; he can “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15). We know that we are not alone in our own suffering and death, and we consider what to do now with that knowledge. Good Friday draws us into a community that wonders together: how can we be “there” with Christ crucified in our world and share the hope of resurrection in such places?

What if you don’t know you are suffering until you are made aware that you are suffering?  How does one minister to another in that situation?

     Our oldest daughter, Dara, is an outgoing, intelligent, confident, compassionate young woman.  In her teens she started to show signs of the materialistic desire of her generation.  Normal behaviour, right?  But then we began to notice a subtle shift.  Slowly, the mentality set in that “stuff” was the source of joy.  This did not sit well with her parents, especially her pastor mother. 

     Enter in the Me To We organization.  Dara attended the rally in Winnipeg and from the masses in attendance, her name was chosen for a spot on the next team to go Masai Mara, Kenya.  The team would be constructing a brick building to be used as a kitchen for the local one-room school.  After much preparation, and a near miss of connecting flights, she was off to Kenya.

     When she returned, we heard all about her experience.  At one point she said to me, “Mom!  These people had nothing, NOTHING, and yet they were so happy!”  I wish you could have seen her face when she said those words.  Thank you, God.  She got it.  She saw first hand that “stuff” is not the source of joy.  Family, friends, community—that is what creates joy on the inside and love is the result.  Her attitude and perspective changed after that trip. 

     Was my daughter suffering?  I believe so.  I have seen a lot in 29 years of ministry.  I have seen, first-hand, the mistaken belief lived out that having and acquiring more stuff meant one was happy.  I have been there when reality finally hit, when sadness and loneliness became overwhelming as a result.  I have had to proclaim the Good News over and over that God loves us for no other reason than God loves us.  I have seen people freed from the “stuff” mentality and true joy emerge.

     Whether they knew it or not, those wonderful people of Masai Mara were Christ to our daughter.  They taught her the true meaning of joy, and for that I will be eternally grateful.  Suffering isn’t always obvious, to ourselves, let alone to others.  Sometimes, all it takes is just being ourselves in everyday life to be the presence of Christ to another. 

     Me To We fees:  $5000

     Airfare:  $800

     Digital Camera:  $300

     Learning the meaning of true joy:  Priceless

SONG:  VU 144  Were You There

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

Let us pray, brothers and sisters, for the holy church throughout the world.

Almighty and eternal God, you have shown your glory to all nations in Jesus Christ.  By your Holy Spirit guide the church and gather it throughout the world.  Help it to persevere in faith, proclaim your name, and bring the good news of salvation in Christ to all people.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let us pray for Richard Bott, United Church of Canada Moderator; Susan Johnson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Bishop;  Jason Zinko, MNO Synod Bishop, for all pastors, for all servants of the church, and for all the people of God.

Almighty and eternal God, your Spirit guides the church and makes it holy.  Strengthen and uphold our moderator, bishops, pastors, other ministers, and lay leaders.  Keep them in health and safety for the good of the church, and help each of us in our various vocations to do faithfully the work to which you have called us. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let us pray for those preparing for baptism.

Almighty and eternal God, you continue to bless the church.  Increase the faith and understanding of those preparing for baptism.  Give them new birth as your children, and keep them in the faith and communion of your holy church.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

 

 

Let us pray for our sisters and brothers who share our faith in Jesus Christ.

Almighty and eternal God, you give your church unity.  Look with favor on all who follow Jesus your Son.  Make all the baptized one in the fullness of faith, and keep us united in the fellowship of love.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God.

Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and your teaching to Moses.  Hear our prayers that the people you called and elected as your own may receive the fulfillment of the covenant’s promises.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let us pray for those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ.

Almighty and eternal God, gather into your embrace all those who call out to you under different names.  Bring an end to inter-religious strife, and make us more faithful witnesses of the love made known to us in your Son. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let us pray for those who do not believe in God.

Almighty and eternal God, you created humanity so that all may long to know you and find peace in you.  Grant that all may recognize the signs of your love and grace in the world and in the lives of Christians, and gladly acknowledge you as the one true God.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let us pray for God’s creation.

Almighty and eternal God, you are the creator of a magnificent universe.  Hold all the worlds in the arms of your care and bring all things to fulfillment in you.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let us pray for those who serve in public office.

Almighty and eternal God, you are the champion of the poor and oppressed.  In your goodness, give wisdom to those in authority, so that all people may enjoy justice, peace, freedom, and a share in the goodness of your creation.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let us pray for those in need.

Almighty and eternal God, you give strength to the weary and new courage to those who have lost heart.  Heal the sick, comfort the dying, give safety to travelers, free those unjustly deprived of liberty, and deliver your world from falsehood, hunger, and disease.  Hear the prayers of all who call on you in any trouble, that they may have the joy of receiving your help in their need.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Finally, let us pray for all those things for which our Lord would have us ask.

OUR FATHER…

Veneration of the cross:

Behold, the life-giving cross on which was hung the salvation of the whole world.

OH, COME, LET US WORSHIP CHRIST.

Behold, the life-giving cross on which was hung the salvation of the whole world.

OH, COME, LET US WORSHIP CHRIST.

Behold, the life-giving cross on which was hung the salvation of the whole world.

OH, COME, LET US WORSHIP CHRIST.

SONG:  I Saw One Hanging On A Tree

 

I invite you to spend some time in silent reflection after this video.  Our worship service does not conclude until Easter Sunday.  Take a few moments to center yourself in the love of God.