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Holy Week – Good Friday

Date: 15/04/2022/Speaker: Rev Miak Siew & Ps Pauline Ong

Order of service for Good Friday at FCC 15 April 2022

Miak:

Today, we are remembering Good Friday with the moments when, according to the Gospels, Jesus spoke his last seven words while on the cross.

To God: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
To the “good thief”: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
To Mary, his mother: “Woman, behold your son”… and to John: “Behold your mother.”
To God:  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
To all: “I thirst.”
To the world: “It is finished.”
To God: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

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, apathy and loss of life.

Pauline: We are confronted with the question – were you there?

Were we there, and what were we doing?

Were we part of the crucifixion, did we run away from God, did we turn away, pretending we did not see?

(Silence)

Prayer

All:

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

Worship song: Deep and Wide/Jesus Loves Me

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)

The First Word:
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
(Luke 23:34)

Reading: Luke 23:32-34
32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus[e] there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [[34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”]][f] 

“Forgive them,” we hear. We often don’t realise that we are part of the “them.”

Yet where are we when Jesus’ kin-dom infringes on ours? On our peace and our order?
On our prosperity and our security?

Where are we when the victims of our peace cry for justice? Where are we when the next accident involving migrant workers being transported on lorries?

When those disenfranchised by our order call for compassion? Where are we when the next drug mule gets sentenced to death?
When the hungry and the lonely beg us to share our prosperity, our security, our power? Where are we when refugees arrive at our shores?

Where are we when Christ is crucified among us?

We do not know what we are doing.

We do not know what we are doing when we let anything but love guide our actions.
We do not know what we are doing when we let violence, power, greed, selfishness, apathy, hatred, neglect guide our actions.

<M> What are the things we do, that need God’s forgiveness?

The Second Word:
“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:43)

35 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[g] of God, his chosen one!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him,[h] “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding[i] him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah?[j] Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into[k] your kingdom.” 43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

What kind of God do we believe in?

We believe in this God who became flesh, and blood, and bone like every one of us. And one who felt pain like every one of us.

Not a God who will destroy our enemies and free us, but a God who is willing to die for us.

We believe in this God who hung on the cross for us, to save us from ourselves. To save us from our willingness to hurt, harm, kill one another for our own sake, and teach us to love like Christ, to be willing to lay down our lives for others’ sake.

That is the kin-dom of God.

And the kin-dom of God is here.

<silent reflection>

Worship Song: Were you there?

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?

The Third Word:
Jesus saw his own mother, and the disciple standing near whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son”. Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother”. And from that hour, he took his mother into his family.
(John 19:26-27)

The kin-dom of God is already here. Are we are able to call each other family? When will we understand the great love is poured out for all? Great is the love, poured out for all.

We all stand under the cross. We – criminals, victims, Russians, Ukrainians, soldiers, civilians, Israelis, Palestinians drug traffickers, policemen, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Atheists, political, apolitical, gay, straight, cisgender, transgender, queer, conservative, progressive, rich, poor, young, old – all stand under the cross.

Behold, your family. 

<M> Who is it that you cannot see as being part of God’s family?

The Fourth Word:
“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani.My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
(Mark 15:34)

The word “Godforsaken” is a misnomer because there is nothing – no one, no place that God forsakes.

It is us humans who forsake. We abandon people, things, places because we don’t see the value of rescuing, restoring, reconciling, healing.

Perhaps it takes too much effort, it costs us too much to restore, reconcile. So we forsake, abandon, cast away. It can be broken things we think cannot be salvaged, polluted wastelands we created as we plunder for more resources, or people we think too broken to heal and think that throwing them in prison is the best solution. We have abandoned them.

But God doesn’t abandon. God pursued humanity with great love. So much love that God became flesh to pursue us.

It is us who abandon God. When everything is going well, when we think we have all the power, all the things we want and don’t need God, we abandon God. Or when things go badly, and we just seek to preserve and protect ourselves, like the male disciples who abandoned Jesus when he was arrested, and nowhere to be found when he was crucified.

<M> What is it that we have abandoned that is God inviting us to embrace and reclaim?

The Fifth Word:
“I thirst.”
(John 19:28)

“I thirst.” Parched, in the middle of the day, scorched by the sun, Jesus thirsts.
We recognize the physical needs Jesus has. But what about us? What do we thirst for?
Do we thirst for things that will leave us even more thirsty?

Jesus asked for water too, from the Samaritan woman by the well. He offered her living water – and that she, too, may become a wellspring for others – that they too, like her may have life abundantly.  Jesus said “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

Do we thirst for more and more things to fill our lives? Or do we thirst for justice and righteousness? What are we called to thirst for? Is it all about us, or are we to focus outwards – away and beyond ourselves – focus on others? What do we thirst for?

Will we, like Christ, give of ourselves to quench the thirst of others?

‘I tell you truly, whatever you did for one of the least of these siblings of mine, you did for me.”

<M> What do you thirst for?

Worship Song: Were you there?

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?

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?

The Sixth Word:
“It is finished!”
(John 19:30)

Responsive prayer

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

All: I was there.

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

All: I was there.

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

All: I was there.

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

All: I was there.

M: Were you there when they cut down the trees and burned down the forests?

All: I was there.

P: Were you there when he breathed his last?

All: I was there.

M: 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.

P: 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.

The Seventh Word:
“Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”
(Luke 23:46)

Worship Song: 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