Good Friday 1:00 PM

April 14, 2017

A Good Friday Service of

Meditation on the Cross of Christ

On Good Friday, the Christian Church remembers the crucifixion of our Lord. Although our remembrance is solemn, it is not a message of gloom, but a time of adoration of Jesus, the Lamb of God, as he offers up his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. Good Friday is part of the larger celebration of salvation begun yesterday, Maundy Thursday, and culminating in the Festival of the Resurrection of our Lord on Easter Day.

 

The Service of Meditation on the Cross of Christ is dramatic, but it is not a drama. We do not gather to reenact the crucifixion of Jesus, but to reflect on his sufferings for us which took place on this very day and at this very hour. Our Good Friday service is an austere time of reflection, intercession, adoration of the Lamb, and quiet meditation. We gather to celebrate the sacrifice of the cross. The service presents a series of Scripture readings and liturgical texts on our Lord’s crucifixion and repentance over our sin that caused it. Through Scripture and through the texts and ceremonies developed by our Christian ancestors, Good Friday’s message of our sin and God’s grace is communicated powerfully to both head and heart.

 

Good Friday is unique among Christian holidays because it is the only day when the main service of congregations has historically been held in the afternoon. Christians gather during the hours of the crucifixion when darkness hung over the earth (Matthew 27:45) and our Savior was forsaken by his Father in heaven.

 

Good Friday is prepared for by the solemn stripping of the altar at the close of the Maundy Thursday service. The altar is among the most prominent symbols of Christ in the church, and stripping the altar powerfully recalls Christ’s abandonment before his passion. The congregation gathers on Good Friday before the bare altar, which continues to symbolize the stark abandonment of our Lord—not just by his disciples (Matthew 26:56), but also by God the Father (Matthew 27:46).

 

The congregation gathers and departs in silence. As on Maundy Thursday, there is no concluding blessing in the service. This underscores the connected nature of the services of Holy Week. When the service concludes, please exit the church in silence. Worshippers may remain after the service for private meditation if they desire. May the Lord bless your meditation.

 

Presiding Minister ........................................................................................................................... Pastor Jason Schmidt

Musical Accompanist.............................................................................................................................. Adrienne Bengel

Soloist .................................................................................................................................................... Isabella Peperkorn

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