Worship for Good Friday

Sun vector created by Harryarts – www.freepik.com

Welcome to this time of worship on this most sombre day of the Christian year, the day we call ‘Good Friday’.

That has always seemed to me to be an odd name for a day on which Jesus was put on a cross to die; it’s a story of betrayal, denial, humiliation, death – what is ‘good’ about that?   However, I discovered this week that ‘Good’ may be a corruption of ‘God’s’. Or, as others suggest, that ‘good’ means ‘holy’. Whatever we prefer to call it, this is the day on which Jesus was crucified, the day he gave his life for ours.


Be still, for the presence of the Lord


Be still, for the presence of the Lord, The Holy One, is here.

Come bow before him now, with reverence and fear.

In him no sin is found, we stand on holy ground.

Be still for the presence of the Lord, The Holy One, is here.


Be still for the glory of the Lord is shining all around.

He burns with holy fire, with splendour he is crowned.

How awesome is the sight, our radiant King of light!

Be still for the glory of the Lord is shining all around


Be still for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.

He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace.

No work too hard for him, in faith, receive from him.

Be still for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.


Music & words: David J. Evans (b. 1957) Copyright © 1986 Thankyou Music


Let us pray:
Almighty and ever-loving God,
Thank you for this time we have together
to gather and reflect on Jesus’ life:
you knew Jesus through and through,
you loved him from the moment he was conceived.
You were with him on the day of his birth, and on the day of his death.
You gave him a good life, and a loving family.
You walked with him in good times and hard times,
you were with him even on this dark Friday.

Be with us today
in our tears,
in our aching hearts
in the smiles that memories bring
as we grieve and remember Jesus.
Be with us now.




The account of ‘Good Friday’ from Mathew’s Gospel


Matthew 27: Jesus is questioned

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus said, ‘You say so.’

12But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer.

13Then Pilate said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?’

14But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.


A Reflection

Why doesn’t Jesus say anything?

Why doesn’t he proclaim who he is?

Why doesn’t he confront the disbelief of the crowds and the arrogant cowardice of the powers that be?

But he says nothing.

Surely there are others who will speak up for him? 

Where are the lepers who were healed? 

Where are the blind who can now see? 

Where are all the people who ate the bread and fish on the hillside? 

Where are those who followed Jesus so easily when they thought he would become King of the Jews?  

Yet no one speaks.

No voice in the crowd comes to Jesus’ defence.

Jesus stands alone.


Matthew 27: Jesus is tried

15Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted.

16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, ‘Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ For he realised that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over.

Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.

21The governor again said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ And they said, ‘Barabbas.’

22Pilate said to them, ‘Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ All of them said, ‘Let him be crucified!’

23Then he asked, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’

24So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’

25Then the people as a whole answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’

26So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.


A meditation:

In the silence, Lord God,

we meet beneath your cross this day, wherever we are.

We meet – friends, strangers, mourners –

grieving for the loss of so many loved ones in the world.

We meet because we want to understand the awful things that are happening.

We meet because we want to be with you, alongside you on your cross.


And in our meeting, we keep silence.

We keep silence in a time when words fail us.

We keep silence as you kept silence on the cross.

And so we keep silence with those crucified today,

with those who live in darkness, in despair, in pain.


We keep silence with those robbed of a sense of belonging

in our society, those in isolation, those in hospital, all who are anxious.

We keep silence with all who mourn a loved one.

We keep silence with those trying to rebuild their lives.

We keep silence with those known to us today who live in darkness,

who find it hard to see beyond death and desolation and despair.


In the pain, oppression and death of the people,

God is silent.

God is silent on the cross

in the crucified.

And this silence is God’s word, God’s cry.

In solidarity, God speaks the language of love.


Ruth Harvey (slightly adapted for the times we live in today).

From ‘Eggs and ashes’; practical and liturgical resources for Lent and Holy Week.

Compiled by Ruth Burgess & Chris Polhill. Wild Goose Publications.



My song is love unknown


My song is love unknown,

My Saviour’s love to me;

Love to the loveless shown,

That they might lovely be.

O who am I, that for my sake

My Lord should take frail flesh and die?


He came from His blest throne

Salvation to bestow;

But men made strange, and none

The longed-for Christ would know:

But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,

Who at my need His life did spend.


Sometimes they strew His way,

And His sweet praises sing;

Resounding all the day

Hosannas to their King:

Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,

And for His death they thirst and cry.


Why, what hath my Lord done?

What makes this rage and spite?

He made the lame to run,

He gave the blind their sight,

Sweet injuries! Yet they at these

Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.


They rise and needs will have

My dear Lord made away;

A murderer they save,

The Prince of life they slay,

Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,

That He His foes from thence might free.


In life, no house, no home

My Lord on earth might have;

In death no friendly tomb

But what a stranger gave.

What may I say? Heav’n was His home;

But mine the tomb wherein He lay.


Here might I stay and sing,

No story so divine;

Never was love, dear King!

Never was grief like Thine.

This is my friend, in whose sweet praise

I all my days could gladly spend.

StF 277 Samuel Crossman (c:1624-1683)

From verse 27


Jesus is mocked

27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him.

28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,

29and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’

30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.

31After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull),

34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.

35And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots;

36then they sat down there and kept watch over him. Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’

38Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

39Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’

41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, “I am God’s Son.”’

44The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.


Matthew 27:45-52 Jesus dies

45From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’ 48At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’

50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.

51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split.

Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’


A reflection:

It is finished.

The procession begun in triumph

with shouts of acclamation.

Hosanna, Hosanna!

has ended

with cries of condemnation.

Crucify, crucify!


It is finished.

The king has become a slave,

power and wealth conquered

by the One who washes feet in love,

and dies the death of outcasts.


It is finished.

The transformation is complete,

and in this story lies our hope.

From death springs forth new life.

The seeds of Christ

buried in our hearts

will see resurrection light.


It is finished.

Make of us your new creation Lord.

Nourish the soil,

raise us up transformed.

May we remember the ways you loved.

From death of self

Let us live to love and serve and share.

Let your life be multiplied in us

to become fruit for our hurting world.

(with apologies, the author is this is unknown)



What kind of love is this?


Prayers of Intercession for Good Friday

3 hours Lord,
Your disciples, the women who followed you, your mother. They waited for 3 hours.

3 hours waiting at the foot of the cross
3 hours waiting at a distance
3 hours waiting for you to die
Helpless, powerless, in shock and disbelief.

Lord, this Good Friday we hold your world before you in prayer.

The world you created,
The world you care for,
The people you know by name

The people you came to die for.


And we wait.
We wait watching those close to us,

those who are in pain and those who are dying,

We wait at a distance watching and praying for those we will never meet,

praying that more medical supplies will be provided, expertise at hand.

We wait helpless and powerless, in shock and disbelief.

We pray for the situation in the wider world, for displaced people, wars and conflicts we don’t begin to understand, where people die through lack of food, lack of clean water,

Lord Jesus, upon the cross
You hold the world,
You hold our pain and our fear,
You hold our inadequacy and our lack of understanding,

You hold our failures and our faults.


You hold those who feel ignored and unimportant,

You hold those who live with grief and loss,
You hold those who laugh in your face and those who walk past.

You hold the world.


Lord, this Good Friday,

We pray that you would be present with us in our waiting,

That you would be present with us in our questions and confusion,

And that in that waiting you would allow us a glimpse of what it meant for you to hold the pain of the world.

God in his mercy hears our prayers. Amen.

Taken from www.theworshipcloud.com and slightly amended for the current situation.



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?


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.


Isaac Watts (1674-1748)





May God grant us the vision to see

beauty in the bleakest landscape,

truth in the most confusing of questions,

glimpses of holiness in the darkness of despair.


May God,

The Weaver of Life,

The Author of the Word

and the Source of all Wisdom,

bless you now and always. Amen.


© 2007 Michaela Youngson, from ‘The Weaver, the Word and Wisdom’ published by inspire