Opening ReflectionYea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (KJV)
Song of Presence: “Come and Listen,” David Crowder Band
Praying Words of Scripture: The Seven Last Words
This is a liturgy of words alternating between Scripture and reflection. Good Friday is a day that ends in darkness. This liturgy may be read beginning with seven candles, extinguishing one after each reflection (beginning with Luke 23:34)
Prologue In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. John 1:1-4, 9-11
Lord, this is where we stand today. We, who are in the world and too often of the world, seeing the light but too often choosing not to accept it. As we stand at the foot of the cross, with darkness seemingly overcoming the light, we remember the words of Jesus.
“Father, forgive them.” Luke 23:34
Jesus said they know not what they do, but we look into the world and we see sin that knows exactly what it is doing. We see people that go hungry while others throw away extra food. We see war devastate your children in countries all over the world in the name of a distorted peace. We see good people with bodies ravaged by sickness. We see dreams fade and children die because of our inability to love one another. We see our own inability to forgive those who have hurt us. Father, forgive us.
“Today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
Holy God, we wonder what it means to be with you in paradise. So tied to this world, we wonder sometimes if we even want your paradise. What will it be like, who will be there, what will we do all day? Jesus, the One who remembers us, Jesus, the One who is with us – help us to lay down our questions and hold on to you.
“Behold, your son…behold, your mother.” John 19:16-27
These words confuse us, but the truth behind them is that you continue to remember us and plan for our future even when we think we are at the end. These are words of community and hope. Let us see who you have put beside us, that we may care for as our own child – and who you provide that cares for us as our beloved parent.
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34
Ever Present God, these may be the words that we fear the most. We know what it is to be lonely even when we are surrounded by people. But on this dark night, and in the dark periods of our lives, we are haunted by a fear that you may leave us. Your Word tells us that nothing in all creation will separate us from your love. You promised that you would not leave us orphaned. We cling to this most intimate promise that you are always with us even when do not see you.
“I thirst.” John 19:28
Have we wondered how the Living Water, the One who gives us the water that quenches all thirst, the water of eternal life could be thirsty? Could it be that you emptied yourself for us? Could it be that what you thirst for is us to receive your living water so that we may live the life for which you created us? Lord, fill us to overflowing so that your living water may pour out over all those who thirst for forgiveness, freedom, healing, and redemption. Help us to stop drinking the sand but instead seek your Living Water when we thirst.
“It is finished.” John 19:30
The world is still broken, and so we wonder what it is that is finished. In our fear, or our disbelief, we remember that even before the day you hung on the cross, you said that you had overcome the world. You, Lord, are powerful and have declared it finished when we see what looks like defeat. Lord, we believe! Help our unbelief.
“Into your hands, I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46
As your disciple once said, “Lord, to whom can we go? Only you have the words of eternal life.” And so we stand here at the foot of the cross, and repeat your words, “Into your hands, we commit our spirit.”
BenedictionThe true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:9-11, 5
We remember the light as we enter the darkness.