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Good Friday Service

Date: 02/04/2021

Order of service for Good Friday at FCC 2 April 2021
adapted from “A Good Friday Service” from The Book of Uncommon Prayer by Steven L. Case, “A Script for Good Friday” by Rev. David M. Felten, “The Water” – The Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4) from Inspired by Rachel Held Evans

Narrator 1:
Today, we are remembering Good Friday by moving away from anti-Semitism and blood-thirsty demands for blood sacrifice for Original Sin. This is not new. Even in the 12th Century, Peter Abelard wrote:

Christ died neither because a ransom had to be paid to the devil, nor because the blood of an innocent victim was needed to appease the wrath of God, but that a supreme exhibition of love may kindle a corresponding love in the hearts of men and inspire them with the true freedom of the son-ship of God.” ~ Peter Abelard, French philosopher/theologian (1079-1142 CE)

Today, we are NOT going tell you that you’re unworthy of living, or that you deserve eternal punishment or that Jesus suffers in your place on Good Friday. Instead, we’re going to listen to a few possible narratives that connect crucifixion that happened more than 2000 years ago to crucifixion that happens today.

Centering Silence

All: We gather today to bear witness to suffering and death upon a cross. We are appalled at the injustice and cruelty of such inhumanity — not only in Jesus’ story, but of days in our lives when we are confronted with greed, corruption, discrimination, hatred, violence, and loss of life.

We mourn for people who have been shot at, gassed and bombed, for refugees of all countries who are fleeing oppression, and for poverty and sickness that are far too pervasive in our world.

May we recommit ourselves to seeking peace, justice, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, and love. May we respond to our world more wisely and compassionately.

Prayer

O God, all our sin, all our hatred, all our violence, all our apathy, all our convenient neglect,

came together in that dark hour when they snuffed out the light of your goodness,

when they crucified your Son, our Lord. And we come to remember.

O God, all your love, all your compassion, all your goodness, all your forgiveness,

came together in that life and that dying, your undying and unending love,

when they crucified you Son, our Lord. And we remember.

O God, all of his story, all of human history, all our story, repeats itself

where hate meets love, where injustice meets justice, where despair meets hope, death meets life,

and we dare to believe we were there when they crucified your Son, our Lord

and that this is none other than the way also to truth and life. And we remember.  Amen

Procession of candles / Worship song: Deep and Wide

Readers process in with 7 candles

Deep and wide
Deep and wide
There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide
Deep and wide
Deep and wide
There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide

Wide and deep
Wide and deep
There’s a fountain flowing wide and deep
Wide and deep
Wide and deep
There’s a fountain flowing wide and deep

Your love is deeper than the oceans,
Your love is wider than the skies
No measure can hold, no mind can fathom
The greatness of Your love for me

Yes, Jesus loves me (3X)
The Bible tells me so
Yes, Jesus loves me (3X)

Reading: Mark 15:15-20 NRSV

Narrator 2:

Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace, that is, the governor’s headquarters; and they called together the whole cohort. 

And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, Hail, King of the Jews!

They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 

After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him.

Then they led him out to crucify him. 

Crowd Voices

1: He’s a criminal. They hung him with the criminals. He used to hang out with all the bad people

2: Why did they have to beat him like this?

3: He talked a lot, said a lot of grand things! A different kingdom! Look at him now! No more words, eh?

1: What did he do to deserve this?

2: He talked a lot about freedom. Let’s see how he frees himself!

3: Let’s see some miracles!

1: Save yourself!

2: He is no king!

Were You There? (how many repetitions?)

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Monologue 1 – Soldier (Ben)

I was there as the soldier, doing my job.

I was just following orders.

They told me to flog him, so I did.

Ours is not the question why, ours is to do and die.

I once thought I was maintaining law and order

So there will be peace

I once thought that this is the only way for the good of all people.

But what is law and order when it is built on injustice?

I started to have questions in my heart.

When orders came in to “shoot people and not just the people, we were told to shoot our own family if they are not on the side of the army,”

Something changed inside.


Was I wrong?

But if I don’t follow orders, they will kill me.

I might even get my family in trouble.

(Pause) Yet he baffled me.

I was doing my duty. How could I have got it so wrong?

Truly he was the Son of God.

 Voice of Jesus

J: Father, Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Crowd Voices

1: God won’t let this happen to the Son. He’s a fake.

2: You’re not God, you are a joke.

3: Why have the people turned against him?

1: You are nothing.

2: You said you would tear down the temple and rebuild it. It’s still there!

3: What are we going to do now?

1: If he is the Son of God, why doesn’t he save himself?

Extinguishing of candle

Reader of monologue 1 extinguishes candle

Monologue 2 (Wendy)

I was there among the women.

There was a place for us, a safe place.

He didn’t look at us as sex objects.

He didn’t say I must dress modestly not to tempt others. He told them “ If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away” He never blamed the victims.

We didn’t have to be confined and controlled.

He didn’t separate us from the men,

So we could be there at the table, too.

When he spoke of God as compassionate and wanting always what was best for people,

 we, as mothers, could easily tune into that.

God is like one of us – mothers at our best, firm but never abandoning our kids.

We were there when he told the rich man that the only way to eternal life was to share God’s own life of goodness.

We were there when he got Zacchaeus down from the tree and changed the way he used his heart and his wallet.

We were there when they wanted to stone that wayward woman and he gave her a new start.

We were there when he met the Samaritan Woman, and saw her as who she was, where she was at, and who she could become. He enabled her to transcend what others told her she could only be.

And we were there at the end,

even when the men fled for their lives.

Voice of Jesus

Brother, behold your mother. Woman, behold your son.

Crowd Voices

He performed all those miracles. Why doesn’t he do one now?

He had women around him all the time. A prophet? My foot!

Why doesn’t he say anything?

Where are your tricks now, Jesus?

Is he already dead?

Who is that woman?

What are we going to do without you, Jesus?

He’s a fake. A fraud.

Extinguishing of candle

Reader of monologue 2 extinguishes candle

Were You There?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there Were you there Were you there

when they nailed him to the tree?

Monologue 3 (Mark)

I wanted freedom. I wanted change.

I wanted to fight back. I want to make them sorry that they bullied me, attacked me, stepped all over me.

But he told me to turn the other cheek.

Fighting back wouldn’t get me anywhere. It will continue to perpetuate the hate. Violence will beget more violence, and it will just spread. He taught me to absorb the hate with love, and not allow it to bounce back into the world.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

He taught me this other way. To overcome hate with love. It is the only way that there can be true freedom and true change. If freedom is accomplished through violence, it will continue to sow seeds for future violence. We will just continue this cycle.

I finally understand now – now that I see him on the cross – he isn’t sacrificing himself to appease God’s wrath… he is showing us what love really means.

Jesus is absorbing the sin without returning it. Jesus is holding and carrying our sin, without passing it on.

“Jesus took away the sin of the world by taking in hatred and giving back love; by taking in anger and giving out graciousness; by taking in envy and giving back blessing; by taking in bitterness and giving out warmth; by taking in pettiness and giving back compassion; by taking in chaos and giving back peace; and by taking in sin and giving back forgiveness.

I stand here, amazed. No greater love than this, that a life laid down for the sake of others.

Hossana Hossana – Save us Jesus!

Voice of Jesus

Today you will be with me in paradise

Crowd Voices

You are a joke, Jesus.

He’s losing his mind.

He was God’s son. He was really God’s son.

Look, he bleeds like any other man.

Make them stop.

That’s his mother. How can she watch this?

The others are dead. Why is he hanging on?

Show us your miracles now!

Extinguishing of candle

Reader of monologue 3 extinguishes candle

Monologue 4 Samaritan woman by the well (Pauline)

“The Water” – The Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4)

adapted from Inspired by Rachel Held Evans

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again

I went to the well at noon.

Sun burning my neck, sweat stinging my eyes, I sighed to think how much heavier that water jar would seem on the journey back. Most of the women gather at first light, their laughter carrying over the countryside like birdsong as they gossip and banter.

In the desert, wells give and draw life, their waters evocative of the womb. Wells are where our ancestors arranged marriages, fell in love, and received word of impending births. Wells are where God starts something new.

I was not a woman who belonged at a well.

As the sun beat down light a great unseeing eye overhead, I saw a figure seated at the well. A man. I grew closer, spied the knotted tassels on his coat confirming he was a Jew, and felt a rush of relief. Good. We won’t have to talk. A man in this country rarely speaks to a woman. A Jew to a Samaritan? Never.

At last I reached the well, collapsing on the other side to catch my breath. Somewhere a hawk screeched, her eyes, no doubt, on those field mice.

“Will you give me a drink?’

His voice startled me. For a moment, I doubted I’d heard it. What sort of Jew asked a Samaritan for water? They believed even our pitchers were unclean.

“You are a Jewish man, and I am a Samaritan woman,” I said with a laugh, wary of meeting his eyes. “And you’re asking me for water?”

“If you knew who I was,” he answered, “you’d be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, flowing water. I would give you the kind of water you really crave.”

Now he had my attention. The man was young, maybe thirty. He had no jar, rope, or buckets. He must have been traveling from Judea to Galilee.

“Artesian water from this well?” I pressed. “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. Are you saying you are better than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it? Are you saying you know something he didn’t?”

“Everyone who drinks water from this well will get thirsty again,” he said. “But whoever drinks the water I offer will remain satisfied, for they will have a gushing spring inside of them that never runs dry.”

“Well then give me some of that water!” I laughed, playing along. “Then I won’t have to hike out to this well every day.”

The man fell silent. Assuming I’d offended him, I prepared my bucket and lowered it into the well.

“Go, call your husband and come back,” he said, breaking the silence.

My jaw clenched.

“I have no husband,” I said.

“Indeed you don’t. You’ve had five husbands, haven’t you? And the man you live with now is not one of them.”

Five. This man knew more than what local gossip could carry. He knew my secret. He knew me. Shaking, I let the rope slip. My bucket plunged into the water, and I staggered backward.

“I see you are a prophet,” I said, sitting down.

The man said nothing in reply, so for a while we just sat there together under the sun, sweating and thirsty, a strange understanding growing between us. He went to the well and pulled the bucket up.

So tell me something,” I said, recovering my courage. “Samaritans say the place of rightful worship is that mountain over there, but Jews say it is in Jerusalem. Who is right?”

“Don’t worry about that,” he answered, a smile in his voice. “Salvation will come through the Jews, yes, but it will be for all people. The day is coming when all the barriers between us will collapse. God is Spirit, after all, and Truth. You can’t build a temple around Spirit. You can’t lock Truth in a shrine. The kind of worship God wants is the kind of worship without walls.”

He paused. “But you know that already, daughter, don’t you? You have known all along.” He crouched down and looked me straight in the eyes, seeing me in a way no man had ever seen me before.

“They say a Messiah will come and make all these things plain,” I ventured from the ground.

“I–the one speaking to you–am he.”

At that, he handed me the bucket of water. I brought it to my lips, lifted my head, and drank deep of the coolest, richest water I ever tasted. I drank and drank and drank. I drank until I could no longer breathe.

When I finished, I wiped my mouth on my sleeve and handed the bucket back to the man, who, to my amazement, threw his head back and gulped the rest of it down, dousing his dusty face with the last splash that remained. For a moment, I doubted what I’d just witnessed. This man, this Jew–this Messiah–drank from my defiled cup. And with relish.

He saw my surprise and laughed, the deep belly laugh of a man who sees our religious absurdities for what they are. I joined him, all the tired and thirsty cells in my body awake with life once again. It was like giving birth and being born at the same time.

Now, I stand at the foot of the cross, seeing him, bloodied, in pain, tortured. This man who changed my life. This man who gave me life.

Voice of Jesus

I thirst

Crowd Voices

How can he still be alive?

He’s dead. He’s got to be dead by now.

The solders spit on him.

He’s no king.

So much blood. So much blood.

What if he really was the Son of God?

Jesus! Where is this kingdom you promised?

Extinguishing of candle

Reader of monologue 4 extinguishes candle

Were You There?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Monologue 5 (Irene)

For a while, He was the bright light in my life.

I had been struggling all on my own – nobody understood me. They said I was possessed by demons. They chained me up – they said it was for my own good – so that I won’t harm myself. I had been living in tombs. Often I would cry out and cut myself with stones.

But he saw me for who I am. He understood. He spoke to me in a different way – without fear, without judgement. He spoke as though he knew me – all of me. He didn’t cast me out, not like others – others who declare that I am possessed, I am an abomination, that I do not belong, that I will bring harm to everyone else if I remained. They told me I must change if I am to belong. They could not accept me as I am.

But he came, and he freed me from the chains, he embraced me, he healed me. I wanted to follow him, but he said, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.”

Why is this happening to you now?  

What do I do now – now that you are gone?

Voice of Jesus

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Crowd Voices

He’s dying

It’s almost done.

He’s calling Elijah

Oh my God, look at the sky.

God is angry with us.

He was the Son of God.

What have we done?

Extinguishing of candle

Reader of monologue 5 extinguishes candle

Monologue 6 (Miak)

I was there. I was there and witnessed the healings, the miracles.
I was there when he taught us what love means.

I was there where he taught us to love our enemies too.

But at the end, I still drew my sword. I still resorted to violence to solve the problem. I still went back to the old ways.

Worse yet, I denied him. They questioned me if I was with him, and said no.

I let fear take over yet again.

And now, I only dare to watch from a distance. I don’t even dare to go close. He was my teacher, my friend. Now I have abandoned him. Many of us declared that we will lay down our lives for him. But now? Now, almost all of us have ran off, hiding in fear.

When all else fails, have I learned to trust? To have faith? To know love?

Even in this moment, seeing him dying on the cross, do I still have faith?

He told us that he must die and on the third day be raised to life. But looking at him on the cross now, I don’t know if I still believe that to be true.

God, help me have faith in his words – “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

Voice of Jesus

It is finished

Extinguishing of candle

Reader of monologue 6 extinguishes candle

Responsive prayer

1: Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?

All: I was there.

2: Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

All: I was there.

3: Were you there when they shot at the protestors?

All: I was there.

1: Were you there when they bullied the child who was different?

All: I was there.

2: Were you there when they sentenced him to death?

All: I was there.

3: Were you there when they cut down the trees?

All: I was there.

1: Were you there when they burned down the forests?

All: I was there.

2: Were you there when he breathed his last?

All: I was there.

3: Do you remember what he told us?

All: This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down one’s life for their friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.

1: Now we take him down from the cross

All:

I will take him into my secret cavern, my special place, my heart.

There I want to lay him to rest on my stone slab,

the stone slab of my heart.

I want him there today and

I want him to come alive in me.

Voice of Jesus

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit

Last candle

Instead of blowing out the last candle, leader acts as if they is going out to blow it out, but decides not to. The leader takes one of the unlit candles, light that candle and carries that candle out of the sanctuary

Were You There?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

End