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Service at Home – Good Friday 2nd April 2021

Service at Home on 2nd April 2021 for Good Friday

for Bolton Road Methodist Church, Christ Church Ramsbottom and Edenfield Methodist Church

YouTube playlist: Service at Home Good Friday 2021

As usual, the entire service can be followed on this YouTube playlist without the need to look at these sheets. However, you may want to use these sheets if you prefer to read the words.

Welcome and the Lent Cross

Watch: Welcome and the Lent Cross

Welcome and Introduction

Welcome to our Service at Home for Good Friday. Today, we’ll remember what an incredible sacrifice Jesus made for us, and why he did it.

The service consists of three Bible passages, each followed by a monologue that imagines the thoughts of one the people who witnessed the death of Jesus.  After each monologue, we’ll spend a few moments in silence, thinking and praying about what you have heard, followed by a prayer.

Lighting of the Lent Cross

Today we remember how Jesus went willingly to the cross so that you and I and everyone who trusts in him could be forgiven and receive new, eternal life.

7 candles are lit.

Lord Jesus, we have come here this Good Friday morning to remember your sacrifice for us and for all people.  We thank you for your great love.  Help us to show your love to all those we meet.

Help us to grow closer to you and stronger in our faith.  Amen.

Watch: There is a Green Hill faraway

Mary the Mother of Jesus

Watch: Mary the Mother of Jesus

Opening prayer

Lord, your love is perfect and eternal. Your love for us is so great that You were willing to become fully human, to share all the joys and sadness of a human life, and to suffer and die on the cross to save us. Lord, we know that we can always rely on your love, no matter where we are or what we do.  I thank you for your love and care for me.

I’m sorry that our love for you is such a pale shadow of your love for me.  I’m sorry that our love often falters and sometimes grows cold.  In a time of quiet I confess all the things I’ve done wrong, knowing that if I’m truly sorry, you will forgive me………….

Lord, forgive me. I thank you that through what Jesus did for me, I can be certain that you’ve forgiven my sins.

Lord Jesus, help me to draw close to you now. Speak to me clearly. Help me to fully understand the enormous sacrifice that you made for me when you died for me on that cross. Amen.

And now say the prayer that Jesus 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 that 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. Amen.

Bible reading: John 19:17-27

Narrative: Mary the mother of Jesus

I always knew that he wouldn’t have a normal life. But I’d never thought it would end like this, nailed to a cross.

Ever since that day the angel visited me, I knew my son was going to be a very special person. But he’s more than just a special person.  When I heard what he said about himself and saw his miracles, I knew that He was indeed the Messiah.  He really is the son of God, sent to save the world.

But that doesn’t make it any easier for me now.  It doesn’t make it any easier for me to see his broken, bleeding body up there on the cross.  An old man in the temple once told me that a sword would pierce my soul.  This is surely what he meant.

He may be God’s son but he’s my son as well.  When he was a child I looked after him when he was ill.  I kissed him better when he hurt himself.  I made sure that he ate well.  I watched him grow into a strong young man.  That’s my son up there on the cross, hanging there in agony.  That’s my son, waiting for his inevitable death. Why does my son have to die in such a terrible way?  Why does he have to be taken from me when he’s still so young?

Was there really no other way? Perhaps there wasn’t.

My son knew what was going to happen to him and he could have escaped.  But he didn’t, did he?  He went to that cross willingly.  He knew what had to be done.  He knew that this was the only way.

What about his father in heaven?  Is he suffering the same anguish as I am?  Is he as tormented as I am by the sight of his son in agony?  Is he as angry as I am when they mock and humiliate him?

I’m sure that he is. In fact, his father in heaven must be suffering even more than me. He knows that he’s responsible for what’s happening to his own son. He knows that he put his own son on that cross by sending him to this world. And He knows that He could get him down and stop his agony in an instant.

This makes me realise how much He loves the world.

Prayer in response

Dear Lord, our heavenly Father, how can we even begin to thank you enough for sending your son to this world?  We’re overwhelmed that you sent your son to suffer so we could be re-united with you.  We know that you put your son on that cross for us.  We’re overwhelmed that you love us so much.

Lord, we know that we don’t deserve any mercy from you.  We know that there’s nothing that we can do to earn your forgiveness.  Help us to respond to your mercy by simply accepting your forgiveness, as a child accepts a gift from its father.  Help us to accept your love in our hearts.

Lord, we know that you love us unconditionally.  Even though you know all the bad things that we do and say and think, you still love us more than we can comprehend.

Lord, if we ever for a moment doubt how much you love, help us to look at the cross and remember that you really do love us that much.  Amen.

Time of quiet reflection

Spend a short time in silence to think and pray about how much Jesus loves you.

Watch: How deep the Father's love for us

The Centurion

Watch: The Centurion

Bible reading: Mark 15:33-39

 

Narrative: The Centurion

Just another day and just another crucifixion.  Or so I thought that morning, as I put on my uniform and set off to the palace.

So who are my unfortunate customers today, I asked?

The guard told me it was two thieves …. and someone who said he was the king of the Jews.

The King of the Jews?  I thought he was joking.  But no, he was serious – and more than that, he also claimed to be the Son of God. I looked at the guard’s list and saw that his name was Jesus.  Now that name rang a bell.

I’d been hearing a lot of stories about a man called Jesus, from Nazareth.  He was a very wise teacher and performed amazing miracles, even bringing people back from the dead.  In fact, another centurion had told me that Jesus healed his dying servant without even going inside the house!

Was this the same man?  I had a horrible feeling it was.

When Jesus had been nailed to the cross and lifted up, I looked at his blood-stained face.  Could this really be the son of God?  It seemed rather unlikely, but why would he say he was, when he knew it would lead to a very unpleasant death?

It then occurred to me that there I was, inflicting a horrible death on someone claiming to be the son of God.  This made me feel very uneasy, very uneasy indeed! I mean, if someone ever hurt my son – I’d tear them apart! So I hated to think what this god would do to me! But then, as if he knew what I was thinking, Jesus looked up towards the sky and said, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”

What an amazing man!  To have compassion for others at a time like that.  To even have compassion for his executioners.

Then, as Jesus hung there on the cross, the sun disappeared and it became dark – even though it was midday. This lasted for about three hours until Jesus called out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  And then he died.

At that moment there was an earthquake and the ground shook violently.

Was the darkness and earthquake just a coincidence?  I don’t think so. Surely this man was indeed the Son of God!

Prayer in response

Lord Jesus, you are indeed the Son of God and yet you were willing to die to save us.  We are so grateful that through your sacrifice we, like the soldiers who crucified you and the officials who sentenced you, can be forgiven and our wrongdoing blotted out completely.  No-one is outside the reach of your love.  Help us to bring others to know your love and power.  Amen.

Time of quiet reflection

Spend a short time in silence to think and pray about what you have just heard.

Watch: Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice

Joseph of Arimathea

Watch: Joseph of Arimathea

Bible reading: John 19:38-42

Narrative: Joseph of Arimathea

It was the very least I could do for him. When I saw his broken body hanging on the cross, I had to do something for Jesus. There was only one thing I had that would be of any use to him now, I thought.  And that was my tomb.

I’m a wealthy man so I’d had a fine tomb cut from the rock.  A tomb that showed my wealth and standing in the community.  When I’d commissioned that tomb, nothing in the world seemed as important as making sure that people knew how successful I was. But when I looked up at Jesus on the cross, I suddenly saw things very differently.  Suddenly I despised my wealth.  Suddenly I realised that my measurement of success was painfully shallow.

How could I regard myself as successful when I’d failed to speak up for Jesus?  Judas was vilified for betraying Jesus.  Peter was ridiculed for denying he knew him.  But what about people like me - who simply did nothing?  People like me who didn’t stand up for the truth about Jesus.

I knew the truth.  I knew Jesus was much more than a wise teacher.  I knew that the miracles were real.  I knew that Jesus truly was the Messiah.

So why didn’t I have the courage to say something?  I could have easily used my position to proclaim the truth.  But I didn’t, did I?  I wasn’t prepared to risk my life-style and reputation that I valued so much.

That’s why I despised my wealth so much when I looked at Jesus hanging on the cross.  It wasn’t the Roman soldiers that killed him – they were just following orders.  No, Jesus died because of people like me.  People who’d valued their own well being more than they’d valued the truth.  People who loved their comfortable lives more than they loved Jesus.  We were the ones who were responsible for his death. When the soldier pierced Jesus with a spear, it was as if that spear had pierced all my old values in life.  And when I saw the blood and water flowing from his side, it was as if my false pride flowed from me.

I no longer cared what people thought, so I went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus to be released to me.  Then I took the body to my tomb and laid it there.

My friend Nicodemus brought some spices for the body.  We didn’t speak.  We didn’t need to.  We knew that we shared a deep feeling of shame.  We both knew that we’d let Jesus down.

It was appropriate that I should give up my tomb for Jesus because it was a symbol of my old values.  By giving up my tomb, I showed that I loved Jesus more than anything else.

As it turned out, Jesus only needed my tomb for three days, but that’s a story for another day!

Prayer in response

Dear Lord Jesus, we’re so sorry that we don’t always put you first.  We’re sorry that we let our pride distract us from the truth that you came to show us.  We’re sorry that we let our love for a comfortable life get in the way of our love for you.  We’re sorry that sometimes we stand by and fail to speak up for you.

When we look at the cross and remember what you did for us, we know in our hearts that we cannot withhold anything from you.  When we look at the cross and remember that you gave your life for us, we know that we must offer our lives to you.

Lord Jesus, you mean far more to us than anything else.  Help us to destroy our false pride.  Help us to overcome our love of the worldly things that we desire.

Lord Jesus, fill our hearts with your love today.   Change us.  Transform us into your likeness.  Amen.

Time of quiet reflection

Spend a short time in silence to think and pray about what you have just heard.

Final prayer: (by Nick Fawcett)

Lord Jesus Christ, there are no words sufficient to express the wonder of your love, no deeds sufficient to express the enormity of our gratitude, but I ask that you will receive my worship, my faith and my life as a token of my thanksgiving, and as a sign of my love for you.

Lord Jesus Christ, receive this day my heartfelt praise, and use me to your glory; for your name’s sake.  Amen.

Watch: When I survey the wondrous cross