Worship for Good Friday 2nd April 2021, by Rev. Joy Rulton


Opening prayer

Saviour of the world,

What have you done to deserve this?

And what have we done to deserve you?

Strung up between criminals, cursed and spat upon, you wait for death, and look for us,

for us whose sin has crucified you.

To the mystery of undeserved suffering,

you bring the deeper mystery of unmerited love. Forgive us for not knowing what we have done; open our eyes to what we are doing now, as, through wood and nails,

you disempower our depravity and transform us by your grace.


Hymn:  There is a green hill

There is a green hill far away,

Without a city wall,

Where the dear Lord was crucified,

Who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,

What pains he had to bear,

But we believe it was for us

He hung and suffered there.

There was no other good enough

To pay the price of sin.

He only could unlock the gate

Of heav’n and let us in.

Oh, dearly, dearly has he loved!

And we must love him too,

And trust in his redeeming blood,

And try his works to do.

Cecil Frances Alexander


Gracious and loving Lord,

Words are so hard to find on this day.

What words can measure the height, the depth and breadth of your love.

Seeing your agony, what can we say.

You willingly took our sin and suffering upon you,

Dying that we may be brought to new life.

You have overcome sin and death and opened to us the gates of heaven.

In you alone, Lord, is our hope and our peace.

Lord, we can only thank you and praise,

Both in our words and the way that we live out our faith.

Help us to learn from you,

To be there for those whom we love, whatever the cost.


Prayer of confession

Lord Jesus Christ, as your disciples we confess that we have failed both you and those people who suffer innocently, as your disciples also failed you from the first.

When we are tempted to betray you for the sake of selfish gain,
Christ have mercy.

Lord, forgive us and help us.

When we do not keep watch in prayer,
and seek to avoid sharing in your suffering,
Christ have mercy.

Lord, forgive us and help us.

When we choose the way of the sword,
the way of violence in place of the path of peace,
Christ have mercy.

Lord, forgive us and help us.

When we run away from difficult situations and desert those who need us,
Christ have mercy.

Lord, forgive us and help us.

When we do not admit to being your followers,
and are fearful of what others might say,
Christ have mercy.

Lord, forgive us and help us.

When we spurn your sacrificial love
and will not offer you the sacrifice of our own lives,
Christ have mercy.

Lord, forgive us and help us.

Cleanse us from our sins by your precious blood,
and graciously restore us to your service.
For your praise and glory alone.

Reading:         Mark 15:1-24

15 As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12 Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 14 Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

16 Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18 And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20 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.

21 They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22 Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.

Hymn:   Jesus, remember me

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom

Reading:         Mark 15:25-41

25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36 And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

40 There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.


Bridget Plass tells of a day she went youth hostelling with the guides. She wrote, “One blazing afternoon I fell asleep on a grassy bank outside the hostel. The sunburn kept me awake all night and next morning I had to shoulder my rucksack and walk seven miles to the next hostel. I will never forget it! My rucksack, heavy with sensible wet-weather clothing and clanking with billycans and all-in-one cutlery sets and other useful gadgets, scoured my back every inch of the way. I thought that was bad enough. But there really is no comparison.”

We can’t begin to imagine what Jesus went through in those final hours before his death – and all for us.

Jesus lived in a world where people often stood against him. He turned the comfortable world of the priests and politicians upside down, challenging their values, their whole way of life. He brought healing to the sick, broke religious law by curing on the Sabbath. He spent time with those society considered worthless, the Samaritan woman, the tax collectors. Children were happy to come to him and be blessed. No wonder the authorities were disturbed and afraid. But when they acted, the cruel way Jesus’ life ended shocked his followers and it should still shock us today.

Good Friday is a challenge to us to see God as he is – not a God who always gives easy answers or waves a wand over all our pain, but a God who entered the world, sharing the sufferings of its people. Good Friday is good in a truly profound sense. There is nowhere that God cannot reach us and no hell from which he cannot rescue us. Such is God’s love for us.

In scripture, Jesus speaks to Pilate, and then is silent. As Martin Turner put it,

“As the rigged trial proceeds he is silent,

as the crowd screams for his blood he is silent,

as he is flogged he is silent,

as he is laid naked before the world,

as he is mocked,

as he is struck,

as he is led away to die,

there is no record of a word from Jesus until he is nailed to the cross.

His was the silent choice of God made man,

the choice to keep on going on this way to the cross,

the choice to stay within the will of his Heavenly Father,

the choice to keep on loving,

the choice to keep on loving even you,

even me,

right to the end.

Song:   How deep the Father’s love for us

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Stuart Townend Copyright © 1995 Thankyou Music

Prayers of intercession

God of mystery and wonder,

because we know the Easter story,

we could so easily

to ignore the darkness of this day.

We could so easily move too quickly

to the dawn of light on Easter Sunday.

But give us courage and strength

to stay for a while in the darkness,

to recognise the darkness

in which so many people live,

the darkness into which Jesus entered.

In silence we bring our concerns before God.

We gather our prayers together in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray

Our Father……

Hymn:   When I survey the wondrous cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

Reading:         Mark 15:42-47

42 When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. 45 When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.


Prayers adapted from Rootsontheweb

CCL: 57681