A Good Friday Service Liturgy

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The following service was prepared for an evangelical church that is unaccustomed to prepared liturgy and having a Good Friday service for the first time. See “Good Friday,” Book of Common Prayer.

The lights may be dimmed and candles lit.

Ministers enter in silence. No prelude music is played.

Introduction: There is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). Today is a time to mourn. For centuries, the church has set aside Good Friday as a day of solemn reflection on the cross. While we know that the cross was revealed as a victory on resurrection morning, it is fitting to set aside this hour to be affected by the tremendous suffering that our Savior endured for us and for our salvation. Jesus knew that Lazarus would rise from the dead, yet he paused to weep for his friend. There is no path to the joys of Easter Sunday that avoids the horrors of Good Friday. Please join me at the beginning of this service by kneeling in your pews for a time of silent prayer.

Silent Prayer

Collect of the Day: “Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (BCP)

Minister instructs the congregation to be seated as the reader comes. Multiple lay readers may be used for the first reading, Psalm, and second reading, during which the congregation remains seated. A clergyman reads the Gospel, during which the congregation stands.

First Reading (lay reader): Isaiah 52:13–53:12

Congregational Song: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (or another solemn or reflective hymn)

Psalm (lay reader): Psalm 22:1–21

Congregational Song: “Hallelujah, What a Savior!” verses 1–3 (or another solemn or reflective hymn)

Second Reading (lay reader): Hebrews 10:1–25

Congregational Song: Jesus Paid It All (alternatively, a special song may be sung at this time)

The minister instructs the congregation to stand: “Please stand for the reading of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.”

Gospel Reading (clergy): John 19:1–37

Sermon (for example sermons, see The Undoing of Death by Fleming Rutledge)

Creed

Communion (see “John Wesley’s Ritual for Communion”)

Closing Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” (BCP)

Johnathan Arnold
Johnathan Arnold is a husband, father, and aspiring pastor-theologian, as well as the founder and president of holyjoys.org. You can connect with him on Twitter @jsarnold7.