Welcome to this Good Friday service at Shalom Community Church or whenever you’ve found the time to hold this holy moment. Good Friday is a special day in the Christian calendar, because it is a day about being attentive to our grief. Not trying to manage it or suppress it or compartmentalize it, but instead to feel the full force of our feelings. A lot of dealing with crisis means putting a hold on grief or shoving emotion to the side–that’s a coping strategy, and it can be necessary. And then there are times the feelings show up storming and rattling to be heard, like a dog in need of attention. To poorly paraphrase a Scripture, wherever two or three painful feelings are clamoring to be heard, there is Good Friday.
Whatever time you get for this service–if it’s interrupted, or if you only get through the first, or last two parts–let this be a moment of giving yourself permission to feel, as terrifying and brave as that is.
If you have a candle, light it now. Let this light mark your entrance into sacred space, and the love that holds you in this time.
Silence my Soul
John 13:36-38, 18:1-27
Simon Peter said, “Rabbi, where are you going?”
“Where I am going,
you cannot follow me now,
though you’ll follow me later.”
“Rabbi,” Peter said, “Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you!”
“Lay down your life for me?” exclaimed Jesus. “The truth of the matter is, before the cock crows you’ll have disowned me three times.”
: After Jesus had said this, he left with disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. There was a garden there, and Jesus and the disciples entered it.
Judas, the traitor, knew the place well, because Jesus often met there with the disciples. Judas led the Roman cohort to the place, along with some Temple guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees. All were armed and carried lanterns and torches.
Then Jesus, aware of everything that was going to take place, stepped forward and said to them, “Who are you looking for?”
“Are you Jesus of Nazareth?” they asked.
Jesus said, “I am.” Now Judas, the traitor, was with them. When Jesus said, “I am,” they all drew back and fell to the ground.
Again, Jesus asked them, “Who are you looking for?”
They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus said, “I have already told you that I am the one you want. If I am the one you’re looking for, the others go.” This was to fulfill what he had spoken: “Of those you gave me, I have not lost a single one.”
Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s attendant, cutting off his right ear. The name of the attendant was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back in in its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup Abba God has given me?”
Then the cohort and its captain and the Temple guards seized and bound Jesus. They took him first to Annas. Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Temple authorities that it was better to have one person die on behalf of the people.
Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, entered the courtyard with Jesus, while Peter hung back at the gate. So the disciple known to the high priest went back and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter inside.
The doorkeeper said, “Aren’t you one of this guy’s followers?”
But Peter answered, “No, I’m not.”
Now the night was cold, so the attendants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were keeping themselves warm. Peter was with them as well, keeping warm.
The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teachings. Jesus answered, “I have spoken publicly to everyone; I have always taught in synagogues and in the Temple area where the whole Jewish people congregates. I have said nothing in secret. So why do you question me? Ask those who have heard me. Ask them what I said to them—they know what I said.”
when Jesus said this, one of the guards standing by slapped him and said, “Is this how you answer the high priest?”
“If I’ve said anything wrong, Jesus replied, “point it out; but if I’m right in what I said, why do you strike me?”
Then Annas sent him, still shackled, to Caiaphas the high priest.
Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. others asked him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”
But Peter denied it, saying, “I am not.”
One of the attendants of the high priest, a relative of the attendant whose ear Peter has severed, spoke up: Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
Again Peter denied it. At that moment a rooster crowed.
Reflection by Hillary Watson
Were you there
a virtual journey
Stations of the Cross
The stations of the cross are one way churches have invited people to journey with Jesus on Good Friday. They represent 14 moments from that day in visual form. Here the stations of the cross painted from 1958 to 1966 in New York City by Barnett Newman are shown along with the standard description of the stages of Jesus journey. One of the most interesting things about this series is Newman’s insistence that these are not 14 moments but one single moment stretched out over time. Newman’s artist’s statement is included here.
Use the right arrow on your computer, swipe, or click on the right of the image to advance to the next station.
Lema Sabachthani — why? Why did you forsake me? Why forsake me? To
what purpose? Why?
This is the Passion. This outcry of Jesus. Not the terrible walk up the Via Dolorosa,
but the question that has no answer.
This overwhelming question that does not complain, makes today’s talk of
alienation, as if alienation were a modern invention, an embarrassment. This question
that has no answer has been with us so long — since Jesus — since Abraham — since Adam
— the original question.
Lema? To what purpose — is the unanswerable question of human suffering.
Can the Passion be expressed by a series of anecdotes, by fourteen sentimental
illustrations? Do not the Stations tell of one event?
The first pilgrims walked the Via Dolorosa to identify themselves with the
original moment, not to reduce it to a pious legend; nor even to worship the story of
one man and his agony, but to stand witness to the story of each man’s agony; the agony
that is single, constant, unrelenting, willed — world without end.
“The ones who are born are to die
Against thy will art thou formed
Against thy will art thou born
Against thy will dost thou live
Against thy will die.”
Jesus surely heard these words from the “Pirke Abot”, “The Wisdom of the
No one gets anybody’s permission to be born. No one asks to live. Who can
say he has more permission than anybody else?
What wondrous love is this
“Radical Gratitude Spell,” adrienne maree brown
you are a miracle walking
i greet you with wonder
in a world which seeks to own
your joy and your imagination
you have chosen to be free,
every day, as a practice.
i can never know
the struggles you went through to get here,
but i know you have swum upstream
and at times it has been lonely
i want you to know
i honor the choices you made in solitude
and i honor the work you have done to
i honor your commitment to that which is
larger than yourself
and your journey
to love the particular container of life
that is you
you are enough
your work is enough
you are needed
your work is sacred
you are here
and i am grateful