11 August, 2017

Looking at Lent through the Passion readings – 3hr – Service

The outline in ODT Lent series – 3 hour – A5 Booklet and PDF Lent series – 3 hour – A5 Booklet format.

During Lent, Revd Louise Anderson devised a Lenten series, that followed the colours of the rainbow. Each colour had a theme associated with it, and bible readings were chosen from Luke’s Gospel to match the colour. Each theme and colour was painted onto a large canvas and these were hung in the sanctuary to remind us of of our Lenten Journey. To draw a continuation between Lent and the Passion, these boards were strung together into a cross and hung up for the Good Friday backdrop for our three hour devotional service. Passion readings were matched to the themes. This framed the basis of our 3 Hour Service. The character reflections were written by Angela Blundell

[12:00] Passion


Were You There is a great hymn to start with because it asks the question, were we there? And the answer of course is no. But in our minds, using our imagination, we can enter into the story, and relive something of what the disciples went through on the Thursday and Friday when Jesus was betrayed and brutally killed..

Over Lent we have looked at 6 themes. Passion, Devotion, Loyalty, Gratitude, Grace, Love. Today we use these themes to explore the Passion story.

I would invite you to take the booklet away with you at the end and make use of it in a devotional way.

As a way of introducing Good Friday to us, some thoughts.

We remember today as a black day, a dark day in history.

We re-live it, we remember it, not to glory in the darkness,
but to remember.

We remember that humanity can live in the darkness of evil.

And we remember that God loves us unconditionally,
and that God can free us from this
if we will hold Jesus’ hand and journey towards the light with him.

So we don’t enter into hope-less despair,
but rather we faithfully take a journey,
to remind us that when we get it wrong God will be there with us,
not encouraging us to stay in the dark,
but rather drawing us out, into the light and constant love of God.

Scripture Luke 22:1-2, 7-27 [NRSV]

Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.’ They asked him, ‘Where do you want us to make preparations for it?’ ‘Listen,’ he said to them, ‘when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, “The teacher asks you, ‘Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ ” He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.’ So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!’ Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

HYMN Were you there

We now light 8 candles, during the first hymn

Reflection Mary Magdalene

The atmosphere was electric. Every year is the same, always excitement and celebrations, families drawn together to remember how the Lord spared us from death and delivered us from the oppression of Egyptian rule, but this time there was something else. It wasn’t so much excitement, but hysteria, there was an undertone to the urgency in the market, in the square, the temple, the streets, everywhere there was something different. It had been building all week we realised, something was going to happen.

By the time we got back we realised that everyone had gone and only the 12 would be left. We breathed a sigh of relief as we finished our preparations, and readied the room for the meal. The men would eat together and we would join them for part of it but with serving and cleaning up we rarely got a chance to properly sit although our Teacher always encouraged it. We would stay for the food, everyone eating together, then we would leave our brothers to talk.

It started differently. As the men arrived we sent our servant with water and towels but our Teacher gently removed them from his hands and knelt down to wash their feet himself. Tears pricked the back of my eyes. We were always being surprised by Him. There was always something unexpected, and now, here he was, our Teacher, our Lord and he was washing the feet of others. They protested of course, embarrassed maybe? Certainly not happy with him doing it, but he insisted. And then we sat.

We shared the meal. We finished eating and got up, serving more food, pouring more wine, removing finished platters. The disciples barely noticed us, men didn’t really notice, but our Teacher met each of our eyes and nodded in thanks. Even though we knew our place as women, it always seemed that in his eyes we were in fact, just as important. I don’t even know how he did it, but somehow we knew that he noticed our contribution and valued it as much as the men who gathered around him. He encouraged our questions and our comments in spite of some of the surprised looks from other people.

Then it happened… he stood and raised some bread and broke it “eat this in remembrance of me”. The words echoed in my head as the loaf was passed around and each took a piece. Then he raised a carafe of wine and poured some into his cup… this was passed too and they all poured some into their own cups and took a sip. “Do this to remember me.” I shuddered. The warmth had gone from the room even though the fire burned and the extra candles and lamps we had put in lit it well. I missed what he said after that but the men were looking at each other uneasily around the table…

SONG Be Still For the Presence of the Lord

MUSIC: Voluntary

Remembering the last meal

At the front there is some bread and wine. These are not consecrated, it is not communion. But you may wish to come and take some bread back to your seat as a reminder of the basic meal that Jesus shared with his disciples. We eat the bread to draw us and our senses into the story.

In silence we imagine what that last meal must have been like

Silence until 12:25. At the ‘gong’, extinguish a tea-light

[12:25] Devotion

Scripture Mark 14:32-42 [NRSV]

They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’

CHANT Stay with me

Stay with me, remain here with me;
watch and pray, watch and pray.

Reflection Beloved Disciple

It was time to leave for prayer.  Every night, after sundown, our Teacher and Lord would go out to pray.  We would go to the garden at the base of the mountain, filled with olive and fig trees, and plants whose flowers scented the air.  We walked, just some of us tonight, and for some reason Judas decided to come tonight and puffed along behind us. We were quiet.  Normally we’d walk to the garden and talk, questioning, listening to explanations but tonight He was quiet.  I couldn’t think of anything to say.  So much was going on in  my head I could hardly work things out.  There was a sadness about our Lord tonight, the way he looked at us, the way he walked. Everything about him radiated sorrow.  He moved slowly, heavily, as if the weight of the world were on his shoulders.

I thought of the argument we had had at the table about who would be at his right hand.  Our discussions over the last few days had been laden with suggestion and meaning.  He had said that he would be leaving us, that he would even die.  That one of us would betray him.  That one of us would deny him.  How could he think those things of us?  His friends, his followers, his disciples.  I had asked him privately what was going on and he shook his head and patted my shoulder, turning away and doing something else.  He couldn’t even confide in me now.

We arrived, the perfumed garden was quiet and peaceful.  There was no one about, most would have been indoors with their families remembering the passover.  Our Teacher walked ahead and motioned for us to stay, “to pray that we would not fall into temptation”.  Temptation for what?  We sat on the ground, still warm from the days sun, I fitted myself against the trunk of an olive tree, and rested for a bit, trying to find words to describe my feelings so I could pray.  I was so tired…

Can you not stay awake for a moment!  My Lord’s voice broke through my tiredness and I sat up to see his face looking at me, grieved and sad.  We all looked at each other ashamed and then he went off, we settled back into our positions, telling each other we would stay awake now but soon I could feel myself drifting again… then I heard a noise.  Someone was crying, sobbing, pleading. I glanced at the others but they were fully asleep so I crept closer towards the sound, hoping that my Lord was okay, maybe someone was hurting him.  Peering through the trees I saw him, he was kneeling on the ground, his face almost in the dirt, “let this cup pass from me” he said, and raised his face. There were tears rolling down his face. The sweat was beaded on his forehead. I had never seen a man so urgent and desperate in his prayer. “yet not my will but yours” he said.

I felt a chill run through me.  Whose will?  What was so hard?  What did it mean?  My teacher’s face was more peaceful now so I crawled back to my friends and waited, drifting off again “not my will but yours…”

HYMN There is a green hill

During this section of music, there is an invitation to come and eat an olive.
Olives are bitter.
There was the bitterness of tears and blood flowing down Jesus’ face as he prayed.
Taste and be reminded of the cost.

MUSIC: Voluntary

Eat an olive. And in silence we wait with Jesus, and we bring before God the strong petition of our heart.

Silence until 12:50. At the ‘gong’ extinguish a tea light.

Thought on Devotion and Loyalty

Devotion and Loyalty go together.

For me Jesus showed this clearly in Gethsemane.

Devotion to pray, even when he knew what was going to happen.
And Loyalty to God, to pray to God with the words:
“Not my will, but your will be done.”

[12:50] Loyalty – Judas

Scripture Mark 14:35-36 [NRSV]

And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’

Introduction Loyalty

LOYALTY, has all to do with doing God’s will and not ours…
To be loyal we must have DEVOTION.

Often we are quick to praise God.
But our praise, isn’t always met with loyalty,
our loyalty can wane.


Lift up the Palm Branch of praise
Lift up the Palm Cross
The one symbol,
of our praise
and of our sin
redeemed through the blessing
of the palm
to remind us to be faithful.

Distribute palm crosses

Scripture Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16, 20-25, 36, 46-56, 27:3-10 [NRSV]

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.’

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, ‘Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.’

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I betray him to you?’ They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, ‘Surely not I, Lord?’ He answered, ‘The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’ Judas, who betrayed him, said, ‘Surely not I, Rabbi?’ He replied, ‘You have said so.’

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.’ At once he came up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you are here to do.’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?’ At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.’ After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.’

Thought Betrayal – Barabas vs Jesus

The sad reality is we all betray our faith at times, none of us are immune.

Our praise, “Hosanna in the highest” can turn to betrayal.

As we think of the ways we praise God,
we think of the moments when our faith has slipped,
maybe we haven’t joined a mob shouting crucify him,
but there are moments when we have shouted at someone we love,
there are moments when we haven’t followed through on the Spirit’s prompting,
there are moments when we haven’t rested in the presence of Jesus,
there are moments when we have sided with someone powerful over someone less powerful,
there are moments when, simply put,
we have not been true to God’s call to be faithful disciples.

We recall these moments now,
not to glorify them,
and not to feel guilty,
but rather to realise true release from this only comes
as we are willing to confess to God those moments,

and to put them at the foot of the cross,
and say: “Father please forgive me.”

Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.

HYMN My song is love unknown

Reflection Judas

It would be so easy they said. You don’t need to worry about anything, just get him to the garden and once he is there let us know and we will do the rest. Something sat heavy in my stomach. I could hardly eat the meal, although there was a lot of food and everyone seemed to be looking around at each other and at me. I reached for my cup and drank deeply, hoping the wine would quell this uneasiness but all that happened was that Teacher singled me out. I pretended I knew nothing. I knew he wouldn’t know what I’d done, how could he? I would go and get our supplies and no one would question that I had some extra money. That money we could give to the poor or needy or keep it for something we needed.

We left the house after a while. Teacher was in a strange mood, quiet, thoughtful, almost sad. The women saw us out, it made me uneasy as they watched us. He laid his hand briefly on their heads as we went out the door. That was strange, he rarely touched the women, of course those following us would, in the hope of healing or forgiveness or whatever. Sometimes we had to hold them back but he never refused their attention, but he never gave it either. I shook myself. I was becoming just as strange as Peter and James and John, having arguments about who sat where at the table and being told one was going to deny him. How could you deny Him? Everyone knew we were his followers, it was no secret, we wouldn’t have a hope of pretending otherwise.

We went to Gethsemane. I was glad of the lamp and torches we had thought to bring as the sun had set. Teacher set himself aside from us and asked the others to keep watch. Knowing that they wouldn’t notice, I slipped away.

“How will we know it’s him?” The leader of the guards demanded. I rolled my eyes, like he wouldn’t recognise him? “He’s the one I’ll greet with a kiss,” I said, and they nodded, checking their swords and adjusting their armour as they walked along. We got to the garden and I saw them looking sleepy and Jesus chastising them. I almost snorted as I saw the men. They thought themselves so clever and close to him, yet they now looked sheepish and chastened. I walked up and kissed him as a brother and he looked at me. There was something in his face… disappointment? resignation? and deep down something else… it wasn’t quite anger, it could have been pity. I stepped back quickly and the soldiers moved to take him. Peter, the moron, sliced one of their ears off, but even though he was being arrested, like always Jesus did not know when enough was enough and he stuck that ear back on and he healed it. It was like it had never happened, and he did it in front of the soldiers who were going to arrest and him and probably get him killed. I mean, who would do that? who would do something so blatant and obvious that he was different? I felt almost justified for a second, he was asking for it, performing miracles, treating women and sinners like they were special and important… the leader of the soldiers thrust a small bag in my hand as they turned to go. It felt heavy. I tied it to my belt, feeling it’s weight at my side. Combined with the weight in my stomach, and something rising up in my chest I started to feel uneasy. As they took him away, the others running away like fools I stood there in the dark, the heaviness rising in me…

MUSIC: Voluntary

Bring your Palm Cross forward and place it in the basket/bowl at the foot of the Cross/Christ Candle.

Silence until 13:15. At the ‘gong’ extinguish a tea light.

[13:15] Loyalty – Roman Soldier

Scripture Matthew 27:27-31 [NRSV]

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Luke 23:35-38 [NRSV]

And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

HYMN O Sacred Head

Reflection Roman Soldier

Growing up I was the strongest boy my age. Tall and broad. Once I was a man and muscular I had a good wife and we had three fine sons and two daughters who would make good wives. I’d just been promoted when this Jesus man came into Jerusalem, on a donkey of all things, and the people went balmy shouting Hosanna or some suchlike. We had heard of this man, but who hadn’t? But when I was summoned to the temple and told what we had to do, I was surprised. Usually the Rabbis left us alone but now they seemed to think that they were in danger from this guy. Yeah, the one who rode the donkey… and it wasn’t even a big donkey either, it was barely big enough for him to sit on. Anyway, it was easy enough to set up. One of my men had met with one of his followers, a weak man who was easily bought with 30 pieces of silver. I’d been given instruction to pay as much as necessary, the Rabbis and Chief priests had fired up the powerful leaders and everyone was scared of this man. A donkey riding oddball, who spoke at the temple and healed people with some sort of magical power.

I had my sword and a group of men, all armed with strong clubs or swords when the follower, Judas came. He looked small and insignificant but he told us what to do and we went to some garden. The man Jesus looked up. He wasn’t surprised at all, you get to know peoples responses in my kind of work and this man knew we were coming. We grabbed him and one of his people cut off the ear of one of mine… it could have turned nasty then! But then that man picked the ear off the ground and put it back on, and I am not kidding, it stayed there. There was no blood, it was like it’d never happened… and then he told off his man… those who live by the sword would die by the sword or something. Part of me wondered if he was quite, you know, with it.. but another part of me thought WOW, that was something else. I mean I’d heard about the miracles and things but I figured it was just a set up or a bit of fake, but it wasn’t fake, my guy had his ear cut off right in front of me and you couldn’t even tell. Then I came to grips with myself, I had a job to do. I tied him up and led him away, thrusting the bag of money into Judas’ hand as we went.

As we walked along, there was no struggle. He didn’t say anything either. Usually you do jobs like this, criminals, escaped servants or wives, and they will yell or shout or weep or protest, but he just walked. I bet he would have come even if I hadn’t tied him up good and tight.

There was no doubt about it. There was something about that man.

MUSIC: Voluntary

Reflect on violence in our lives, and society

Silence until 13:35. At the ‘gong’ extinguish a tea light.

[13:35] – Loyalty – Peter

Scripture Mark 14:26-31, 53-54, 66-72 [NRSV]

When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, ‘You will all become deserters; for it is written,

“I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.”

But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even though all become deserters, I will not.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ But he said vehemently, ‘Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And all of them said the same.

They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire.

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘I do not know or understand what you are talking about.’ And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, ‘This man is one of them.’ But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.’ But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, ‘I do not know this man you are talking about.’ At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.

HYMN Praise to the Holiest in the height

Reflection Peter

I’ve spent my whole life being just a bit clumsy and stupid. I’m not the best with words, or ideas. I could catch fish and sail a boat and that was about it. But somehow Jesus made me feel like I was going to be something bigger and better than just a fisherman, struggling to make a living. He would trust me with things. He’d talk about the future, about trusting him, about getting to God. Some of it I couldn’t get but other things I understood. He called me his Rock. He gave me a new name. I knew that I was going to be destined for something great. Finally.

Then my world turned upside down. My Teacher, taken away by thugs with large clubs and swords. I tried to defend him, to stop them and I even managed to take an ear off. But then teacher pulled me back, stopping me. Then he did it again. Somehow he always managed to surprise me. He put the ear back onto the man and looked at me, almost reproving… then they took him and then I saw it, a bag of something thrust into Judas’ hands… I followed at a distance, hoping to find out what was happening.

My legs were trembling when I made it to the High Priest’s house. I snuck into the courtyard and slipped as quietly as I could to a fire. It was warm and I held my hands out, to try and stop them shaking and look as casual as possible. A girl stopped and looked, a servant girl carrying a water jug. She asked me if I knew my Master and before I knew it, I was denying him. I shook myself and tried to listen to the voices inside the house but it was impossible amid the noise outside. The girl passed back with a full water jug and stopped again and asked the same question. I tried to deny it quietly, to not draw attention to myself but this time someone else noticed and looked even closer, exclaiming that I was with him. I denied it again, my heart thumping, my words stumbling over themselves to make me heard… then I heard a rooster crowing…

MUSIC: Voluntary

Service leader shifts the Christ candle down to the flat,
so all may come to it regardless of mobility.

Reflect on the change of God’s call on your life. Please come forward and cup the candle, feel the warmth and Presence of God that Peter was trying to feel, but that he denied, take that experience back to your seat and sit with it.

Silence until 13:50. At the ‘gong’ read this

Closing Scripture FOCUS Scripture for Loyalty – Mark 14:35-36 [NRSV]

And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’


LOYALTY, has all to do with doing God’s will and not ours…
To be loyal we must have DEVOTION.

Extinguish a tea-light candle.

Service leader places the Christ candle back up on the elevated sanctuary step.

[13:50] Gratitude

Scripture Luke 23:24-32 [NRSV]

So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.

As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”; and to the hills, “Cover us.” For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’

Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.

SONG How Deep the Father’s Love

Reflection Simon of Cyrene

I didn’t mean to be there. I had come with my family to the city for the Passover and they had heard about the Jew who had been arrested. I admit I was curious, even I’d heard of the teacher who claimed to be the Messiah and now they were parading him out for all to see. When the crowd began chanting I tried to leave, but there were too many people , crowding together demanding the annual pardoning of a criminal.

He stood there, thorns around his head causing beads of blood to drip down his face. He had bruises too, on his arms and stomach, lashings from a whip, the blood dark and dried. He looked into the distance, I doubt he even heard the crowd, he didn’t even seem to realise where he was… but he wasn’t out to it, he was just not responding. In the end they tired of the heckling and made him pick up the wood they would use to hang him up. I was a little away by then, and I saw him come up the street. He was stumbling, almost blinded by blood, sweat, tears. The soldiers and the people were screaming, cursing the ugliest things I’d ever heard. It made me shudder, a chill running down my back. Surely this couldn’t be real.

Then he fell again and couldn’t get up. The solider screamed at him, kicking him, but there was no response. I hoped he’d maybe died, it would stop if he died but even I could see that he was alive, breathing hard, unable to move. Then someone grabbed me, the solider who had been screaming moments earlier was in front of me… “You!” he rasped, like someone who had been shouting for a long time “take up his cross”. I looked at him, he was a big man. but so was I and I looked him in the eye. For a moment we stood there and I almost walked away when I caught sight of the teacher. I shook the soldier’s arm off and strode over, lifting the wood off the man’s bloodied back and helping him up. We gazed at each other and I saw strength and love and pain all mingled together in his face. He stumbled a bit and I held him tighter, he looked at me in exhaustion and gratitude.

“NO”, I was pushed away from the man “Pick up the cross”. I managed to lift it up with the soldiers help and settled it on my shoulder, my knees sagged and it took all my strength not to let them bend. How the Messiah had carried that cross all that way all beaten and bruised is beyond me. I walked, tripping over small stones and holes in the ground, hearing the yells and jeers of the crowd, hearing the whip occasionally on the man who followed. It felt like I carried that cross for years, one step after another, heavy, plodding but I held the look of Jesus in my vision, the dark eyes showing more depth than I’d ever seen in any man.

MUSIC: Voluntary

Come forward and write on the note paper something you can do to help another person, float that in the bowl of refreshment as your prayer

Silence until 14:15. At the ‘gong’ extinguish a tea-light.

[14:15] Grace

Scripture Luke 23:32-43 [NRSV]

Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [[ Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’]] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’

CHANT Jesus Remember Me

Jesus remember me, when you come into your Kingdom
Jesus remember me, when you come into your Kingdom

Reflection Grace

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.

It’s easy to leave Good Friday to history, to 2000 years ago,
to a moment, in a series of moments that had huge historical and spiritual significance but is still far enough away to be safe.

But what it shows is a world, a people capable of injustice, bigotry, hatred, abuse, torture, denial, mockery.
A world much like today.
A world that has the mass extermination of millions of Jews, the Killing Fields, Execution, terrorism, dictatorship, racism, sexism,
two world wars, hundreds of other wars, the Cold War, 9/11,
the annihilation of a number of indigenous cultures,
the ongoing destruction of acres of wilderness,
a world divided by religion, by economics, by ethnicity, by history, by hatred.

Friday is a stark realisation that this is who we are.

We are the mocking voice, we are the haters.
We cause injustice. We tolerate abuse.
We condone torture.

It is an incredibly ugly world.
It is a world that desperately, desperately needs God.
It is a world that needs grace.

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things (U2)

There is beauty hidden amongst the horror of Friday.

Tiny particles of grace shining through the shadows. Willing sacrifice. Forgiveness.

Jesus spent his last moments not thinking about himself, the pain he must have been suffering but thinking of others
– his mother, another dying man, forgiving everyone present at his execution.

In amongst the hatred and brutality there is still the recognition of who he was, the Son of God.

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.
It is grace that makes Friday “Good.”
Good Friday is about the transformative nature of grace.

We need to be at the foot of the cross and acknowledge who we really are without God.
Then we need to receive the grace offered to us so we can journey through to Sunday.
This is what Good Friday is.
This is where we are now and now grace will take us on.

It is grace that holds us in the waiting.

In the hours after Jesus died when all hope is lost.

In the waiting of Saturday, sitting in fear and deep grief.

Sunday will come.
We will be restored to God, to creation and to ourselves.
We will stand transformed from mocking haters into the people God wants us to be.

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.

HYMN When I survey



We were reminded on Palm Sunday that Jesus consciously took the journey to Jerusalem,
knowing that this would mean certain death for himself on the cross.

We are thankful to God for the lengths that God goes to, to rescue us.

We are also reminded of the peril of leadership, and how quickly the story moves from:
“all spoke well of him” and “Hosanna to the King” through to “crucify him.”

In the space of 7 days, those that supported Jesus were calling for his death. As we remember this, may we faithfully re-tell the story and the extent to which God goes to save us.


May we find ways of supporting our leadership.


As we hold silence together,
we remember the word’s.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you today and always. Amen.

We reflect on God’s Grace at work, in our life, in the Church, in the wider world.

MUSIC: Voluntary

Who are you remembering before God today?
Come and write it on the 3 crosses.

Silence until 14:35. At the ‘gong’ extinguish a tea-light.

[14:35] Love

Scripture John 19:18-42 [NRSV]

There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many 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. Then 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.” ’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ When 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. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfil what the scripture says,

‘They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.’

And 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. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A 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. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since 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. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’ And again another passage of scripture says, ‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’

After 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. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now 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. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

HYMN Glory be to Jesus

Reflection Mary Mother ofJesus

At last I understood. All the comments, all the prophecies, all the hints from the learned and wise, and now it was time. I didn’t want to be there. But I knew I needed to be. I’d spent most of his life feeling frustrated, unable to really understand this child I was to raise, yet loving him so much. And then when he’d started his ministry, refusing to continue to work and provide for his family, leaving his brothers to do the work, I admit I felt some shame. In spite of my efforts he had rarely visited, and when he did it would end in recriminations. My family, Joseph’s family, calling him crazy and wanting him to come home. And all I could remember was the look on his face when he was 12, even then he had a certainty of his call and his work. And now look.

I remember his birth like it was yesterday. The pain. The confusion. Wishing that I had not taken this long journey with Joseph and had stayed at home. The smell of hay and animals, musty and dark. Women from the house had come and they had held my hand and encouraged me through that long night. He came quickly in the end, small but strong, bellowing briefly before finding my breast. After, the woman had cleaned me up she brought some swaddling cloth and showed me how to wrap him securely and easily so he could be changed and washed when needed.

And now. No shepherds and angels. No surreal magic or strange visitors but hatred and bitterness. My precious baby, born of my body, nourished by my breast, the child of my heart was dying. As he hung on the wood in the ground, the agony was clear on his face and he looked at me. We connected for a moment and then he looked at his beloved disciple John. “This is your mother,” he said to him and he looked at me and said, “this is your son.” Even in so much pain, he remembered me. I felt an ache of grief and the guilt that I’d felt over some of our conversations ebbed away as I realised that he was doing what he could to make sure I would be well and safe. I heard his words of forgiveness to one of the other men and I knew that those words were for me as well.

That cry, it carried on the breeze and then darkness came, the earth shaking and groaning. I fell to my knees and looked up. His body was still. All around me there were screams, not of hatred now, but of fear, most were running away but I stayed there. Rocks dug into my legs but I stayed, I watched my son in his death as I had watched him take his first breath

It was done.

Silence for reflection – then after a while, extinguish candle and wrap in a shroud


Jesus’ mother stood beside his cross with her sister and Mary the wife of Clopas. Mary Magdalene was standing there too.


As a mother you know the potential of your baby. You have hopes, dreams and aspirations for them. Sometimes these are robbed, by evil, by a broken world, or by things not being as they should.


For those who have yet
to reach their full potential

May we be active in helping
to nurture all children,
may we be caring,
may we be loving.


Even in dying, Jesus was caring. His family had estranged themselves from Jesus. Yet, at the final moment there is restoration, there is care, there is love. There is always hope.


For an area in our family that needs restoration and hope

Grant us the grace to eat together,
to restore relationships and live whole lives.

Silence – Jesus very publicly faced his mortality. What example does this give us?

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

MUSIC: Voluntary

Silence until 12:55

[14:55] Dismissal


CHANT Jesus Remember Me

Jesus remember me, when you come into your Kingdom
Jesus remember me, when you come into your Kingdom

Final thought

We leave with the hope of Easter on the horizon.
As night, moves from dark, into light.
May the light of Christ always guide you.

May faith, May hope, May love
be alive in you
and always.
Peace be with you.

Affirmation of faith

Thank you, Father, that You love me
Thank you, Jesus, that you came
By your blood You have redeemed me…
And by Your stripes I am healed.

I accept that You love me.

I accept your perfect forgiveness and cleansing from all past sin.

Because You love me and accept me just as I am I can accept myself… and love myself.

I am whole and perfect in Your love.

Thank you , Father, for Your Holy Spirit
Who continues to minister to my deepest needs….
Healing all past hurts, renewing me and releasing me into the perfect freedom of the Children of God.

I thank you, Lord, for Your Guidance, Protection and Provision….and for Your Strength TODAY.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”



May Christ the crucified convince you that God loves you and has forgiven you.
May the cross carry you through whatever pain and suffering assails you.
May you go forward with courage in the faith of Christ

And may God, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life,
bless you today and always. AMEN.

Extinguish last candle

Leave in silence

Resources needed

  1. Bread, Wine/Grape-juice

  2. Olives (pitted or stuffed) and a dish to put them in/on

  3. Christ Candle, and a shroud to wrap candle at the end

  4. Palm Branch and Palm Crosses, along with a bowl/basket to put crosses in at the foot of the candle/cross

  5. Bowl of water to float prayers on. Note paper and pens

  6. 8x tea lights and a candle snuffer

  7. Green background with 3 simple white crosses

  8. Singing bowl/Gong, bell (or similar)

Setup thoughts

We have many people with mobility issues. Our building/worship-space is not all on one level. We placed things like the bread, wine/grape-juice, olives etc… on round tables. To make room for people to move around, these tables were placed/stored when not in use in the raised sanctuary area. We then lifted these tables down at an appropriate time to the flat/accessible space, so that all would have access to things regardless of mobility. At the right time, a person distributed the prayer note-papers to people. Likewise the water bowl was taken to people too, if they wanted. Try and think about access for all, and how all can participate regardless of their mobility.