A Good Friday Tour  -  Good Friday         April 10, 2020

Here is the link to the U - Tube worship service

Read the text below at your leisure or follow along with Rev. Jim and and Rick Young - Music Director

https://youtu.be/VuSQwbov_TA

You can also access this at Facebook : Friends of TrinityUnitedChurchThorold. 

 

Introduction

This is our service for Good Friday.  And for Christian people everywhere (and maybe all the world) Good Friday is defined and characterized as an occasion of deep meaning  //  a time of thoughtfulness, and profoundest loss  /  an occasion of reality and pain and of catharsis ..

Without Good Friday, Easter is reduced to simply something chocolaty and silly and completely disconnected from the truth of life in all its fullness ..

Good Friday brings us together in reality and honesty and recognition .. so the service for today is shaped by four distinct, related influences:

1)  Bible readings

2)  hymns and music we associate in our tradition with Good Friday

3)  the truth and longing of our need as being human

4)  the promise of the Gospel for our lives

 

And so we’re going to hear from Rick the music of some cherished hymns and spirituals that connect with us, and our lives with one another ..

One of the selections is Were You There, and the words in full will be provided on the Trinity website.

 

The Bible readings are of the Suffering Servant, from Isaiah, and of the Passion narrative from John.   And the message of our humanity in common and the promise of the Gospel will both interpret and devolve from what we hear.

 

I pray we might be one, together, in this Good Friday service.

 

Were You ThereHymn #144 

 

Our first reading is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.  It speaks to the Christian interpretation and understanding of Jesus as the Suffering Servant.  In their efforts to understand the death of Jesus as Messiah, the early Church searched the scriptures of their faith  -  the same ones Jesus read and interpreted himself  -  and they discovered answer in the pronouncements of Isaiah.

 

Some words will be heard as both very memorable and as essential to the faith. These words have been highlighted in bold in the rendition of the text contained on the website.  We’ll walk through them here together ..

 

Please join with me in a prayer for illumination  //  let us pray:

Gracious Holy Spirit, we approach this day of darkness in our faith in a time of darkness in our world.  And, it is in our faith, and because of faith, we can venture on in hope, knowing that you meet us in the reality of life; knowing that you love us fully and completely, and give us freely of your understanding and your insight, and the promise of the Hope that lives among us, and within.  Guide us in the words we hear, that life in you will always be the answer.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

 

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (King James Version)

The Suffering Servant, despised and rejected

13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently [prosper], he shall be exalted and extolled [be lifted up] and be very high.

14 As many were astonied [astonished] at thee; his visage [appearance] was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

15 So shall he sprinkle [startle] many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

 

53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form [stately form] nor comeliness [splendour]; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty [appearance] that we should desire him.

3 He is despised and rejected [forsaken] of men; a man of sorrows [pain], and acquainted with grief [sickness]: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs [sicknesses], and carried our sorrows [pains]: yet we did esteem [reckon] him stricken, smitten [struck down] of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded [or pierced through] for our transgressions, he was bruised [crushed] for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes [blows that cut him] we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him [has caused to land on him] the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8 He was taken from prison [confinement] and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9 And he [or they or God] made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise [crush] him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied [From the labour of his soul he shall see light]: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil [plunder] with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

O Sacred Head Sore Wounded. Hymn #145 

 

Our second reading for today, the Gospel reading, comes to us from John.

The entire passage is recorded on the website.

 

Much of what we hear and read today reflects the Matthew passages we read for Palm/Passion Sunday.  On this Good Friday, though, what we read continues into Jesus’ Crucifixion.  Hear what the gospel-writer tells us.

 

John 18:1-19:42 (New International Version)

The Passion Narrative

Jesus Arrested

18 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.  On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees.  They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said.  (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he.  If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”

10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.  (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away!  Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the religious officials arrested Jesus.  They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the foremost religious leader that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the religious leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

 

Peter’s First Denial

15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus.  Because this disciple was known to the religious primate, he went with Jesus into the primate’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door.  The other disciple, who was known to the primate, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.

17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.

He replied, “I am not.”

18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

 

The Primate Questions Jesus

19 Meanwhile, the primate questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the faithful come together.  I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me?  Ask those who heard me.  Surely they know what I said.”

22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the primate?” he demanded.

23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong.  But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the primate.

 

Peter’s Second and Third Denials

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself.  So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

26 One of the primate’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

 

Jesus Before Pilate

28 Then the religious leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor.  By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and religious leaders handed you over to me.  What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the religious leaders.  But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.  In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.  With this he went out again to the complainants gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover.  Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

40 They shouted back, “No, not him!  Give us Barabbas!”  Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

 

Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified

19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.  They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!”  And they slapped him in the face.

4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the people gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him.  As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

7 The religious leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.  Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the religious leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar.  Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the crowd.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the religious leaders answered.

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

 

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross.  It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. 20 Many read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The religious leaders protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining.  This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

 

The Death of Jesus

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath.  Because the religious leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true.  He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

 

The Burial of Jesus

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.  Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the religious leaders.  With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.  Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.  This was in accordance with traditional burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the recognized day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

 

Go to Dark Gethsemane Hymn #133 

Reflection on Good Friday

What is it that we hear today, on this Good Friday?

What really is the Christian message that is ours, and ours for all the world?

 

Some Christian traditions say we’re born in sin  //     

    we’re born godless and fallen and bad; 

    condemned to death and eternal damnation unless we’re saved ..

 

But that’s not what Jesus said ..

 

That’s not how Jesus understood us ..

 

It’s not the message of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah!;  

    no matter what it is that we’ve been told, or what we’ve come to think!

The prophecy and promise of Isaiah is: 

    the Suffering Servant takes our ills and hurts and burdens on himself!

The Suffering Servant removes from us our sins and our transgressions 

     And all the wrongs for which we can’t forgive ourselves.

 

He removes from us the wrongs that make us hateful and despairing of others.

 

The Suffering Servant takes them on himself 

            and suffers terribly, but willingly, 

    so we can be relieved, and freed, 

and free to be with one another in empathy and understanding and compassion                 we could never have imagined!

 

Jesus, Christ, the Son of God, didn’t come to us to die .. he came to us to LOVE; 

    to show how much God loves us, and to free us to be free to love one another!

 

Sin is separation  -  separation from God and from each other ..

 

Being divided from each other is a sin ..

 

To say there is no Salvation outside the Christian Church is sin,

    because the Living Christ is telling us there is no Church outside Salvation!

 

Christ died to take the burdens of our lives upon himself;

Christ died to take upon himself each thing that would divide us, 

    so we could live!  

This is the meaning and the promise of the Gospel!  

    Just ask the gospel-writer John!

 

“What is Truth?” Pilate asks of Jesus.

 

And, in response, Jesus stands there, silent.

 

He doesn’t say a thing.

 

He stands there  /  all alone and silent  /  as if to say:

    “The Truth is right in front of you.”

     Stop, and take a look, and just be silent .. you will know ..

 

The description of the Suffering Servant  /  

    the story of Christ’s Passion and the Crucifixion 

    provide the story of the Living Presence of Emmanuel, God-with-us, 

    loving us and giving life; 

    taking from us all our burdens and our hurts, 

    our misgivings and regrets; 

    the deadly prejudice and selfishness that divide us from each other ..

 

And as we walk with Christ the pathway to Golgotha, 

    we walk together closer and more closely ..

    to be together as we’re freed; 

    to be together as we recognize, perhaps for the first time, 

    the common life we share with all the world; 

    and to offer up to death in Christ, the darkness that divides us ..

 

Today, we walk with Christ the pathway of Good Friday, 

    and celebrate the grace of Christ in death that gives us life.

 

This is the Good News of the Gospel!

This is our promise to the world!

Thanks be to God!

Good Friday Benediction

Jesus, we wait here by your tomb
knowing well you bear with us our grief:

the grief of the betrayer,
the grief of the denier,
the grief of the crucifiers.
You bear with us the grief of the lost,
the broken-hearted, the bereft.
You took our yoke upon you and freed us to bear yours  -

a yoke of freedom and new life.
It is finished.
God of endings, God of darkness,
God of grieving, God of dark days and great loss

and of the promise of new life,
be with us now as we wait beside a sacred tomb.

 

What Wondrous Love Is This. Hymn #147 

 

Were You There?        VU#144

 

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 the sun refused to shine?

 

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

 

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Good Friday Prayer

 

Stay with us through the night.

Stay with us through the grief.

Stay with us, blessed stranger

till the morning brings relief.

 

Stay with us through the night.

Stay with us through the pain.

Stay with us, blessed stranger

till the morning breaks again.

 

Good Friday brings the nighttime of our faith, O God.  We hear the voice of Jesus say to you in whispered dereliction:  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and on this darkest day, we understand, as only we as being human can.  And in his cry, we know he is with us as well, loving us, knowing every need and hurt and prayer, and coming to us as your saving presence in our lives and in our souls.  God Most Holy, who comes to us as Spirit and as Father and as Son, 

 

Stay with us through the night.

Stay with us through the dread.

Stay with us, blessed stranger

till the morning breaks new bread.

 

We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Trinity United Church Thorold 

905-227-4644  /  tuc@vaxxine.ca