Monday, January 25, 2016

Good Friday C (March 25)


Bible Readings:
Isaiah 52: 13-53:12, Psalm 22, Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42

About the images:
Upper Left: This images is one of a set put out by Image Bank (see my links at left); an excellent free site.
Upper Right: This image comes from This site no longer updates (you will see the sad reason why when you visit) however the artist, Don da Silva, has left a legacy of wonderful images and templates via the site archives. 

Lower Left: This is a free Heartlight image - see my links column at left.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply - however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at

Bible Readings: John 18 and 19 
This service needs to be a more sombre occasion than usual , not just because Jesus died - we celebrate his resurrection on Sunday when it is all said and done - but because of the immensity and the implications of what God has done for us through and in Jesus.
ory Meditation: Now I Let Go 

Show about a dozen images depicting Jesus' life and ministry, Use Now I Let Go by Moby on his album Songs (pictured at left) as backing music - you may have to play it through twice because the track is quite short. An alternative track could be Barber's Adagio for Strings by William Orbit on Open Space 1.

A Note of Explanation:
I have listed the resources for Good Friday below under story/Scripture/station headings. Please don't use them all or you will be at church all day. One option is to use the symbolic actions as station activities if you don't mint people moving around from station to station. I would provide the readings on printouts and some visual media to go with each station if I was doing it that way. If people are seated I often use a tubular bell and/or a Taize sung response to divide the readings. 

1. John 18:1-14 The Arrest
Symbolic Action

Light a lantern or a candle 

2. John 18:19-23 The Questioning/The Trials
Symbolic Action
Place a crown of thorns on the cross

Poem: My Baby
Found in Clearing Away the Rubbish by Adrian Plass, Minstral, 1989, ISBN 1854240250, page 93 (pictured at right). If you are going to use all or part of this, read it over a few times first because it emotionally difficult to read. (I should have put the same warning on The Ragman story two weeks ago).

3. John 18:15-18, 25-27 The Denial.

Symbolic Action
Give everyone a feather

Poem: A Prayer at Burger King
By John Shea. Can't source this any further - I have a copy somebody gave me.

Story: The Death of Bishop Romero
Found in numerous books and on the web

4. John 18:28-40 Pilate
Story: Gerry Conlan
Found in A Hell of a Life by John Dickson, Matthias Media, 1997, ISBN 1875245626, page 85ff (pictured at left).

5: John 19:1-16 Death Sentence
Symbolic Action:
Throw a purple or black cloth over the cross.

Symbolic Action:
Pass around a bowl of horse shoe nail crosses and ask everyone to take one.

6. John 19:17-27 Crucifixion
Symbolic Action:
Give everyone two pieces of white ribbon, a pencil and two twigs. Ask people to write a prayer on the ribbons and use them to make the twigs into a cross. 

Reflection Idea: Three Crosses

Can't remember where this comes from but it goes like this Rebellion: the mocking thief Repentence: the other thief Rescue: Jesus 

Story: Freedom

Found in Your Point Being? by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch Books, 2003, ISBN 1854245929, story no. 88 (pictured at right).

Story: Back to the Future
By Adrian Plass in Cabbages For The King, Fount, 1993, ISBN 0006276687, page 158 (pictured at left).

7. John 19:28-37 Death
Symbolic Action

Have the communion table set up before hand with a white cloth, bread and wine. Rip (and I mean rip!) the bread in half and knock over or pour out the wine on to the white cloth.

Symbolic Action:
This can be done here or for the burial. Pass around a shallow dish/es of salt water and ask people to trace a cross on their own cheek or on that of the person sitting next to them.

Symbolic Action:
Snuff out the candle

Prayer for Others: When Jesus Died

Found in Stages on the Way by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 168 (pictured at right)

Poem: Jesus Dies on the Cross
By Michel Quoist in Prayers, Sheed and Ward, 1985, ISBN 0934134464.

8. John 19:38-42
Symbolic Action:
Hang the stained communion cloth over the black or purple cloth already hanging on the cross. Alternately, rip the white cloth in half.

Prayer: Lord Where Are You Now
Found in Stages on the Way, as above, page 166

Conclusion of the Service:
Play a piece of quiet music and encourage people to sit and think/pray and to leave when they are ready to. You could provide small blank cards for people to write or draw their response to Good Friday - encourage people to take these home with them. Suitable music: Albinoni's Adagio in G Minor, Pachabels Canon (particularly the Cleo Laine/James Galway version because the words fit the mood exceptionally well)

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