On this page you will find prayers, songs, scripture readings, and questions for personal reflection to help you commemorate our Lord’s crucifixion, suffering and death.
If you are in a group, choose someone to lead the prayers and readings (unbolded parts) and the rest will respond in unison (bolded parts). You may want to divide up responsibilities for the prayers and the readings. If you are on your own, feel free to simply read through the liturgy at a prayerful pace that is comfortable for you.
After a read from Matthew’s gospel on the arrest and trial of Jesus this service focuses on the seven saying of Jesus from the cross. After reading each of these sayings and taking some time to reflect on them yourself, we invite you to follow the link to a series of reflections by the esteemed Episcopalian preacher Rev. Fleming Rutledge given by her at Saint Thomas Church in New York City on Good Friday in 2018. Her reflections, though a few years old, are as timely as any being offered on the meaning of the death of Jesus.
Call to Worship
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one
to his own way,
And the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Christ the Lord
became obedient unto death,
Even death on a cross.
O come, let us worship.
Song – ‘How Deep the Father’s Love for Us’
Let us pray…
Lord Jesus you said,
“if I am lifted up, I will draw
the whole world to myself.”
Make us able to take up our cross and
follow you, for by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
We ask this in your holy and life-giving Name.
By your suffering
you have brought hope to the whole world
Help us in our trials and be the strength of
our human weakness.
The Arrest and Trial of Jesus
Matthew 26:57 – 27:1-2,11-37
57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered.
27 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2 They 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.’ 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?’ 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
15 Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17 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?’ 18 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. 19 While he was sitting on the judgement seat, his wife sent word to him, ‘Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.’ 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 21 The governor again said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ And they said, ‘Barabbas.’ 22 Pilate said to them, ‘Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ All of them said, ‘Let him be crucified!’ 23 Then he asked, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’
24 So 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.’ 25 Then the people as a whole answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ 26 So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and 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!’ 30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
32 As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36 then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37 Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’
The Seven Sayings of Christ from the Cross
Forgiveness Luke 23:33 – 34
When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing.
Promise Luke 23:39 – 43
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
Family John 19:25 – 27
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
Abandoned Mark 15:33 – 34
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 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?’
Thirst John 19:28
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’
Finished John 19:29 – 30
A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Dedication Luke 23:46
Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last.
Song – ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’
With confidence and trust let us pray to the Lord, saying, “Lord, have mercy.”
For the one holy catholic and apostolic Church throughout theworld, we pray to you, Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For the mission of the Church, that in faithful witness it may preach the gospel to the ends of the earth, we pray to you, Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For peace in the world, that a spirit of respect and reconciliation may grow among nations and peoples, we pray to you, Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer; for refugees, prisoners, and all in danger; that they may be relieved and protected, we pray to you, Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For all whom we have injured or offended, we pray to you, Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For grace to amend our lives and to further the reign of God, we pray to you, Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
The Lord’s Prayer
Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray as our Saviour taught us,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Send down your abundant blessing, Lord, upon your people who have devoutly recalled the death of your Son in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection. Grant them pardon; bring them comfort. May their faith grow stronger and their eternal salvation be assured. We ask this through Christ our Lord.