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GOOD FRIDAY WORSHIP SERVICE
THE CHRISTIAN PASSOVER - A GOOD FRIDAY HAGGADAH



The following is a kind of Good Friday/Passover Haggadah. It is not a Seder since no meal is being served - and is not designed to be one. It is an attempt to use some of the features and structure of the Passover Haggadah as a way of entering into the telling of the Christian Passover Story - namely the story of 'Good Friday'. The main elements of the Haggadah format that we use are the question and answer feature that launches the service, the recollection of the commandments and the telling of the story (alternating readings with commentary) We also use two of the traditional Passover Psalms as songs or prayers.

The service requires two strong readers - one which we identify throughout the text as "Peter" and whose lines are, for the most part, written by us. The other is simply called "Reader" and that person will read a great deal of the standard Maundy Thursday and Good Friday scriptures. While more readers could be used (not our preference), we suggest that there be only one Peter. Please note as well that in our community we hold Good Friday Worship in the Evening. This affects some of the wording in what follows.

Please feel free to use and adapt the following for your worshipping community. We would love to see any adaptions of that you might care to e-mail to us since we are constantly seeking ways to improve what we have written.


GOOD FRIDAY WORSHIP SERVICE
The Christian Passover
a-gdfrsm.y-a 662


MUSICAL PRELUDE

INVOCATION:    
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has kept us alive
and sustained us, and allowed us to pass through the season of Lent, during
which we have remembered the story of the last days of Jesus' life.  O Lord
of dust and ashes - gather us to you this day.  We are a people whose
shepherd has been struck down.  We remember with tears the suffering he
endured.  We ask your presence to be with us as we once again tell the
story and as we mourn.  Be with us this night as we begin the vigil of the
Resurrection.


WORDS OF INTRODUCTION: A PASSOVER HAGGADAH
L:   What is so important about this night?  Why is this night different
     from all other nights?
P:   The children of Israel were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and the Lord
     our God delivered them from there with a mighty hand and an
     outstretched arm.
L:   What is so important about this night?  Why is this night different
     from all other nights?
P:   As it is written, "And you shall say it is the Passover sacrifice for
     God who passed over the houses of the Children of Israel in Egypt,
     when He killed the firstborn of the Egyptians and spared our houses. 
     And the people bowed their heads in worship."
L:   What is so important about this night?  Why is this night different
     from all other nights?
P:   On this night our Lord Jesus, having suffered death for us on the
     Cross, was buried in Joseph's tomb.
L:   What is so important about this night?  Why is this night different
     from all other nights?
P:   On this night we remember that our hope for redemption was executed.
L:   What is so important about this night?  Why is this night different
     from all other nights?
P:   On this night we find ourselves alone with our grief and pain.
L:   What is so important about this night?  Why is this night different
     from all other nights?
P:   On this night the Son of God lies in a tomb carved out of rock -
     bloody, bruised, broken, humiliated and beaten for us.  On this night
     the heart of God is melted like wax and laid in the dust of death.
L:   What is so important about this night?  Why is this night different
     from all other nights?
P:   On this night the Lord's anointed has been struck down while our
     houses have been passed over. On this night God did not spare His own
     Son - but gave him up to death in our place.


THE PASSOVER COMMANDS
PETER:    You've asked about that last week in Jesus' life.  You want to
          hear it from one who was there.  I, Peter, was there, one of the
          Twelve.  I will tell you.  I remember that night so clearly.  The
          last Passover meal with Jesus.  It began like other Passover
          suppers.  We read out the Passover commands from the holy book of
          Exodus.

READER:   "Moses said to the people, "Remember this day on which you came
          out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, because the LORD
          brought you out from there by strength of hand; no leavened bread
          shall be eaten.  When the LORD brings you into the land which he
          swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and
          honey, you shall keep this observance in this month.  Seven days
          you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there
          shall be a festival to the LORD.   You shall tell your child on
          that day, 'It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came
          out of Egypt.'  It shall serve for you as a sign on your hand and
          as a reminder on your forehead, so that the teaching of the LORD
          may be on your lips; for with a strong hand the LORD brought you
          out of Egypt.  You shall keep this ordinance at its proper time
          from year to year."


HYMN: "O Love, How Deep"                                           - VU 348


THE PASSOVER MEAL/THE LAST SUPPER                                          
PETER:    As we gathered at the table, all of us hungry, all of us a little
          on edge, the bread and meat were placed in front of us.  Jesus
          raised his hands and called for quiet.  Then he said the
          beginning words of the meal, "This is the bread of affliction
          which our forefathers ate in the land of Egypt.  Let all those
          who are hungry come and eat with us.  Let all those who are in
          need come and share our meal." 

          He looked around at all of us.  I can still see him.  He was very
          calm but his eyes were intense.  We hung on to every word.  It
          was as if that night was burned into our memories.
          
READER:   "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I
          suffer;  for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled
          in the kingdom of God."  Then he took a cup, and after giving
          thanks he said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves;  for I
          tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the
          vine until the kingdom of God comes."

          [Before they ate] Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all
          things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was
          going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and
          tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin
          and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the
          towel that was tied around him.  He came to Simon Peter, who said
          to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"  Jesus answered,
          "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will
          understand."  Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet."
          Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." 
          Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my
          hands and my head!"  Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does
          not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. 
          After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had
          returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have
          done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord--and you are right,
          for that is what I am.  So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have
          washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  For
          I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done
          to you. 

          Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he
          broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is
          given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."  And he did the
          same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured
          out for you is the new covenant in my blood.  But see, the one
          who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table.  For the
          Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that
          one by whom he is betrayed!"  Then they began to ask one another,
          which one of them it could be who would do this."


HYMN: "Praise to the Lord" (Psalm 113)                             - VU 835


THE GARDEN
PETER:    After the meal was finished, Jesus wanted to enter into a time of
          prayer.  So we headed for a quiet spot, the beautiful Garden of
          Gethsemane.  The olive trees still blossom there.  We were all
          tired.  It had been a stressful week with the crowds.  Jesus
          seemed to be talking in riddles.  He told us one of us would
          betray him, that we would desert him, that I would deny him.  It
          was all very confusing.  And given the atmosphere in Jerusalem
          that week also a bit worrisome.

READER:   When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of
          Olives.  And Jesus said to them, "You will all become deserters;
          for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep
          will be scattered.'  But after I am raised up, I will go before
          you to Galilee."  Peter said to him, "Even though all become
          deserters, I will not."  Jesus said to him, "Truly I tell you,
          this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will
          deny me three times."  But he said vehemently, "Even though I
          must die with you, I will not deny you." And all of them said the
          same. 

PETER:    Looking back on it all I can see that it was at this time that
          the battle was won.  In the Garden.  James and John and I could
          hear every word he said.  The others had been left in a little
          grove down the hill from us.  But we were barely twenty feet
          away.  He didn't want to be alone.  When we heard his words we
          were stunned.  He seemed to be in a great struggle in prayer.  He
          talked about the bitter cup.  He talked about dying.  It was too
          much.  I guess we were exhausted by it and the hour was late.  We
          drifted off to sleep.

READER:   When they [got] to the place called Gethsemane;  Jesus said to
          his disciples, "Sit here while I [go to] pray and pray that you
          may not come into the time of trial."  He took with him Peter and
          James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated.  And he
          said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here,
          and keep awake."  And going a little farther, he threw himself on
          the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might
          pass from him. He said, "Abba, Father, for you all things are
          possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what
          you want."  Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave
          him strength.  In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his
          sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the
          ground.  When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and
          found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to Peter,
          "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour?  Keep
          awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the
          spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."  And again he
          went away and prayed, saying "Father, if you are willing, remove
          this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done."  And once
          more he came and found  them sleeping, for their eyes were very
          heavy; and they did not know what to say to him.  He came a third
          time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your
          rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into
          the hands of sinners.  Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer
          is at hand.""


HYMN: "Go To Dark Gethsemane"                                      - VU 133


THE ARREST AND THE DENIAL
PETER:    Judas arrived with the Chief Priest's guard and some Roman
          soldiers.  He went up to Jesus and kissed him on the cheek just
          like he always did.  It was such a normal ordinary thing.  As I
          watched it seemed as if time stood still.  Jesus asked them who
          they were looking for and they said him.  The other disciples
          joined us at that moment and things got a little confused.  I
          reached for the sword I had secretly brought with me and I - I
          don't know what came over me - I slashed at the High Priest's
          slave.  They weren't going to just take Jesus without a fight. 
          But Jesus stopped me in my tracks as he reached out and touched
          the man, healing him instantly.  "Put your sword into its sheath,
          Peter.  Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?" 

          They arrested Jesus and bound him with ropes.  The others fled.
          All except me and John.  We followed.  When we got to Caiaphas'
          palace John went in because the High Priest and he knew each
          other.  I waited in the courtyard.

READER:   While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls
          of the high priest came by.  When she saw Peter warming himself,
          she stared at him and said, "You also were with Jesus, the man
          from Nazareth."  But he denied it, saying, "I do not know or
          understand what you are talking about." And he went out into the
          forecourt. Then the cock crowed.  And the servant-girl, on seeing
          him, began again to say to the bystanders, "This man is one of
          them."  But again he denied it.  Then after a little while the
          bystanders again said to Peter, "Certainly you are one of them;
          for you are a Galilean."  But he began to curse, and he swore an
          oath, "I do not know this man you are talking about."  At that
          moment the cock crowed for the second time.  The Lord turned and
          looked at Peter.  Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to
          him, "Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times."
          And he broke down and wept."


HYMN: "At The Name Of Jesus"                               - VU 335(v1,2,4)


THE TRIAL  AND THE CRUCIFIXION
PETER:    The trial, if you can call it that, took place first thing in the
          morning.  Except for those few moments in the garden I'd been up
          for over 24 hours.  I'd been on emotional roller coaster for the
          past few of them.  I denied Jesus.  I DENIED JESUS.  The horror
          of it is sometimes still with me.  In my misery I punished
          myself.  I had to watch it all.  Everything.  Even now I cannot
          speak of it easily.  I remember it so vividly.  Each year as
          Passover comes I remember.  I close my eyes and see it all again.
          The suffering, the crucifixion, the dying  - for me, for you.

READER:   As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation
          with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound
          Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked
          him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" He answered him, "You say
          so."  Then the chief priests accused him of many things.  Pilate
          asked him again, "Have you no answer? See how many charges they
          bring against you."  But Jesus made no further reply, so that
          Pilate was amazed.  Now at the festival he used to release a
          prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked.  The chief priests
          stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them
          instead [of Jesus].  Pilate spoke to crowd, "What do you wish me
          to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?"  They shouted
          back, "Crucify him!"  Pilate asked them, "Why, what evil has he
          done?" But they shouted all the more, "Crucify him!"  So Pilate,
          wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and
          after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

          The soldiers led him out to crucify him.  They compelled a
          passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross
          - Simon of Cyrene,  Then they brought Jesus to the place called
          Golgotha (which means the place of a skull).  And they offered
          him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it.  And they
          crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots
          to decide what each should take.  It was nine o'clock in the
          morning when they crucified him.  The inscription of the charge
          against him read, "The King of the Jews."  And with him they
          crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 
          Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying,
          "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three
          days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!"  In the same
          way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking
          him among themselves and saying, "He saved others; he cannot save
          himself.  Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the
          cross now, so that we may see and believe." Those who were
          crucified with him also taunted him.


ANTHEM: "At The Cross"


THE DEATH AND THE BURIAL
PETER:    As I stood with the crowd and watched I guess I was numb.  Words
          from the psalms kept echoing in my head.  They seemed most
          appropriate on that dark, dark day.

          "My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to
          the roof of my mouth; I am laid in the dust of death.  Dogs have
          surrounded me; a band of evil doers encircle me.  They have
          pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones.  People
          stare and gloat over me.  They divide my garments among them and
          cast lots for my clothing."

          "Insults have broken my heart, so that I am in despair.  I looked
          for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, but I found
          none.  They put gall in my food and for my thirst they give me
          vinegar drink."

READER:   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?"  When some of the bystanders
          heard it, they said, "Listen, he is calling for Elijah."  And
          someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick,
          and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether
          Elijah will come to take him down."  Then Jesus gave a loud cry
          and breathed his last.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in
          two, from top to bottom.  Now when the centurion, who stood
          facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said,
          "Truly this man was God's Son!"

          When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation,
          that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a
          respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting
          expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and
          asked for the body of Jesus. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth,
          and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid
          it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a
          stone against the door of the tomb.


ANTHEM: "Calvary Covers It All"


                         RESPONDING AND DEPARTING


PRAYER OF CONFESSION Psalm 51
L:   Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according
     to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly
     from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my
     transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
P:   Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your
     sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when
     you pass judgment.  Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother
     conceived me.
L:   You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my
     secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and
     I shall be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the
     bones that you have crushed rejoice.
P:   Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  Create
     in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. 
     Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy
     spirit from me.
L:   Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing
     spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will
     return to you.  Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my
     salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
P:   O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.  For you
     have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you
     would not be pleased.
L:   The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and
     contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  Lord hear our prayer.  
P:   And in your love answer.


SHARING GOD'S GIFTS  (brought forward in silence)


PRAYER OF DEDICATION: (Adapted from Psalm 116, a Passover psalm)
L:   I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. 
     Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as
     long as I live.  What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to
     me? 
P:   I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. 
     I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of
     the Lord.  I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his
     people, in the courts of the house of the Lord.  Praise the Lord!"
              ............... (silent prayer)...............
L:   Loving God, sanctify us and our offering in Christ's most Holy name.
P:   Bless us and all that we offer you that we, like Jesus, may be a
     blessing unto others.  AMEN


REMEMBERING
PETER:    Brothers and sisters - I have told you the story.  It is a story
          of how our world was changed - the story of the new Passover  -
          the story of how God has acted to save and deliver his people. 
          Though it is hard to tell and hard to hear - I intend to keep on
          reminding you of these things, though you know them already and
          are established in the truth that has come to you.  I think it
          right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory. 

READER    The children of Israel were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt and the
          Lord our God delivered them from there with a mighty hand and an
          outstretched arm.  We too were slaves - slaves to the power of
          sin and death.  We remember on this night how the Lord's anointed
          stretched out his arms for us - upon the cross - to deliver us. 
          We remember on this night how God did not spare His own Son - but
          gave him up to death in our place.


HYMN: "Were You There?                                             - VU 144


COMMISSIONING AND BENEDICTION
READER    - Go in peace
PETER     - Remember how much God loves you.
READER    - Give thanks to the Lord.
PETER     - And may the blood of the Lamb that was slain keep you safe -
          both now and forevermore.  Amen.

                     
copyright  - Rev. Richard J. and Charlene E. Fairchild 2002 - 2006
             please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.


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