Good Friday April 7, 2023 Bulletin

Worship Leader: Helen R.

Slideshow: Mary Lou L.

Scripture Readers: Diane C. and Lois S.

Ministries of Music: Christena-Lynn E., and Sylvia V.

Cross Bearer: John L.

Please remain seated during the singing of the hymns.


It had to happen, you know, it had to happen.

And we need not be surprised to be here this morning, as hard as it is to be with someone who is going to die.

God, give us strength to see it through.

The Bible gives us many reasons for this day, but our United Church A Song of Faith expresses it this way:

So filled with the Holy Spirit was He, that in him people experienced the presence of God among them. 

We sing praise to God incarnate.

Jesus announced the coming of God’s reign –

A commonwealth not of domination but of peace, justice, and reconciliation

He healed the sick and fed the hungry.  He forgave sins and freed those held captives by all manner of demonic powers.  He crossed barriers of race, class, culture, and gender.  He preached and practiced unconditional love –

love of God, love of neighbour, love of friend, love of enemy –  and He commanded his followers to love one another as He had loved them.

Because His witness to love was threatening, those exercising power sought to silence Jesus.  He suffered abandonment, and betrayal, state-sanctioned torture and execution.  He was crucified.

And we who love Him as best we can, have come to be with him at this time,

and to hold one another in our grief.  Our service this morning is a service of word and reflection as we hear John’s Gospel tell us the story of Good Friday.  Come and let us worship God.

HYMN: VU #147 “What Wondrous Love is This” v. 1 and 2 (Amer. folk tune)

1        What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,

          what wondrous love is this, O my soul!

          What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss

          to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,

to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

2        What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,

          what wondrous love is this, O my soul!

          What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of life

          to lay aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,

to lay aside his crown for my soul.


God of all our days, we gather on this day of sadness and triumph,

our hearts breaking and broken by the wonder of it all. 

And you are with us.  In our waiting and our weeping,

keep us willing to enter fully into the mystery and pain of this day,

for by your kindness, we will find our way through it.  Amen.


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.  Amen

INTROIT: VU #144 “Were You There” v. 1 and 3 (African-American Spiritual)

1        Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

          Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

          Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

          Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

3        Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

          Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

          Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

          Were you there when the sun refused to shine?


Each of the Gospels contains a particular account of the first Good Friday, written from a particular perspective.  John’s words will be our guide today.

SCRIPTURE: John 18:28 – 32, 38b – 19:16 (Read by Diane)

Jesus Before Pilate

28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified

19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.


On the cross, Jesus spoke words that send a shudder through us, words of total abandonment and hopelessness.  Was it really that God had abandoned him?  Or, was he beginning to recite the words of our congregational reading, Psalm 22, which starts off with that horrible feeling that many of us have had at some, or many, points in our lives. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

CONGREGATIONAL READING: VU #744 “Psalm 22” Part1 (Responsive with spoken refrain.)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

          Why are you so far from helping me, from the cry of my distress?

O my God, I cry out in the daytime, but you do not answer;

          at night also, but I get no relief.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

But you are the Holy One, enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.

They called to you, and you rescued them.

          In you they put their trust, and you did not disappoint them.

But I am a worm, less than human,

          an object of derision, an outcast of the people.

All those who see me laugh me to scorn, they curl their lips and toss their heads, saying:

‘You trusted in God for deliverance. If God cares for you, let God rescue you!’

But you are the One who took me out of the womb. You kept me safe on my mother’s breast.

          On you have I depended from my birth.

          Even from my mother’s womb, you have been my God.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Do not be far from me, for trouble is close at hand,

          and there is no one to help me.

Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me.

          They open wide their mouths at me, like a ravenous, roaring lion.

My life pours out like water;

          all my bones are out of joint;

my heart has melted like wax within my breast;

          my mouth is parched as dry clay;

my tongue clings to my palate.

          I lie in the dust of death.

Dogs surround me;

          the wicked hem me in on every side.

They bind my hands and my feet;

I can count all my bones, while they stand staring, gloating over me.

They divide my garments among themselves;

          they cast lots for my clothing.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?


God of passionate and vulnerable love, whose body, broken on the cross rebukes us still:

Save us, hold us, and forgive us, that you as victor and victim

might lead us from death to life; through Jesus, the Crucified.  Amen.

HYMN: VU #144 “Were You There” v. 2 (African-American Spiritual)

2        Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

          Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

          Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

          Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

SCRIPTURE: John 19:16b-24 (Read by Lois)

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”[a]

So this is what the soldiers did.

MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “Jesus Paid It All” Solo by Christena-Lynn E.


A public crucifixion was an occasion for people to come and stare and watch and be horrified.  The Romans took the opportunity to make examples out of those who were tortured as a deterrent to others.  We might imagine that the scene was sometimes noisy and the air filled with taunts; at other times, quiet.  There were some remarkably tender things that happened as well.  Listen to John’s words:

SCRIPTURE: John 19:25–27 (Read by Diane)

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[a] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.


As John carries the cross through the Sanctuary, imagine being at the foot of the cross for such a moment as this, that your heart might be opened and widened by what you experience. 

SUNG RESPONSE: MV #81“Love Us into Fullness” Christena-Lynn E.

SCRIPTURE: John 19:28-30 (Read by Lois)

The Death of Jesus

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

MINISTRY OF MUSIC: “The Day He Wore My Crown” Sylvia V.

PRAYER: VU #140 “Grief and Love” (Unison)

Crucified Saviour, naked God, you hang disgraced and powerless.  Grieving,

we dare to hope, as we wait at the cross with your mother and your friend.

HYMN: VU #149 “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (Words: Isaac Watts)

1        When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,

          my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.

2        Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ, my God:

          all the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.

3        See from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down!

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?

4        Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small:

          love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

SCRIPTURE: John 19:31-42 (Read by Lois)

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”[a] 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”[b]

The Burial of Jesus

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.[c] 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

A period of silence

It is finished. (Candle is extinguished)

Everyone is invited to leave quietly according to their comfort.

Please join us for our Easter Sunday worship service at 10 A.M.

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