A Dilemma for Good Friday

In my effort to build a Good Friday service with the theme of “by his stripes we are healed”, I have hit a dilemma.

Here is my order of service:

Video “Resurrection”
Reading of Isaiah 53
Crimson (Vocal Solo)
Reading: John 18: 1-18
#302 Lamb of God 1, 2
Reading John 18: 19-40
#323 Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed 1, 2, 3, 5
Reading: John 19: 1-16
Love Song (Vocal Solo)
Reading John 19: 17-42
#324 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross 1, 3, 4
Video “A Better Way”
Cross Painting/Communion

All of the readings have music in the background, mostly stuff from “The Passion” to create a mood of sorrow and awe at the same time. Both vocal solos are focused on Jesus very intentionally, as are the videos.

For communion, my idea is to have a small bucket of paint sitting at the foot of the cross. As we all come forward for communion, we will have the chance to paint a stripe on the cross, to remind us of the price Jesus paid, the “stripes” if you will. During that time, I want to have music, specifically something with words to add to the mood. I originally planned “Healed” by Nichole Nordeman. But after further reflection, I am really falling in love with the idea of “Ten Thousand Angels” by Caedmon’s Call/Derek Webb.

Both songs emphasize healing, but Nichole’s song is a little more accessible than the other song.

Any opinions? If you don’t know the songs, you can google for the lyrics in a heartbeat (in order to help a girl out.)

15 Comments on “A Dilemma for Good Friday

  1. On Good Friday I think it would be appropriate to make sure the set up is perfect…and then give them something they need to concentrate on.GF isn’t Palm Sun, Maundy Thursday, Easter, Christmas Eve, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Christ the King or any day I missed. This day is messed up and hard and forces us to not be passive. Go for the hard.But…Make sure you give them the “roadmap” at the beginning. As you well know, people can stomach a lot as long as they know what’s gonna happen.ie – I’m doing a contepmplative, Taize style worship tomorrow night with a ton of silence and singing Taize prayer songs “several more times through that you’ll normally be comfortable with.” But the simple act of telling them this makes it okay. When I let them know what to expect during the welcome it “sets them up to succeed” in the service.In my years of leading various parts of worship (I’m sure you’ve noticed this, as well) I’ve found that folks will follow me pretty much anywhere I ask them to go as long as I lead them there with a loving hand.Hope that helps.


  2. Thank you for the “set up” reminder… I was also debating about whether to have small cards with the Isaiah 53 verse on it, for everyone to take as they come in. So, roadmap they will have. Your service sounds intriguing, and you are approaching it with a lot of intelligence – and giving them an expectation? That’s good. In fact, many congregations would really struggle with a Taizé worship service, as it seems to be human nature to not go too deep. You and I are poster children for those who go deep within, and I find myself dragging others along with me at times. But other times I find myself upset that I didn’t give the congregation enough credit. I’m not going to do that this time.Thanks.


  3. steph – The first words out of my mouth after I read your post? “She’s such a turd.” But in a very affectionate tone, I assure you.…like I would mean it any other way. Love you!


  4. I’m glad I’m a poster child for something good this time – And such good company, too!One other Q:Are you using the Caedmon’s Call version or the McCracken/Webb demo?Might I suggest the sparseness of the demo? I’m sure you’ve got it, but I’ll shoot it to you if not.


  5. You and your aversion to overproduced music… some things never change!I cannot believe I forgot about Sandra’s demo. I do have it and thanks for the reminder. I will use it instead – it will work much better.


  6. The service far surpassed my expectations. It was thought-provoking, somber, peaceful and amazing. I was at the back by the sound booth when the cross painting began and I was so moved as stripe after stripe went up. (And the “love has come” moment from the song was perfection). The sanctuary was completely dark except for candles I lit in several places, and it really added to the mood and symbolism of the service.If I ever do this service again, there are two small things I would change. But all around? It was wonderful. It wasn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. And everyone who has come up to me to comment on it used the very word I did. “Moving.” “All that is broken will be restored.” It was at that moment in the song I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I cried for what Jesus went through, and was sorry it wasn’t me.I am thankfully for his healing.


  7. It was pretty sweet and powerful.We had a time of coming forward for prayer and anointing, and regardless of the fact that that is a perfectly legitimate “Presbyterian” thing to do…Presbyterians do not come forward for prayer (let alone “anointing”).Well they did on GF. We prayed a litany of prayers for various situations and then I invite them to come forward of they wanted while we sang the Taize tune “O Lord hear my prayer.”Out of the 40 or so there (awesome in its own right) about 7-10 came forward and many more told me they felt like it was healing just sitting and singing. Pretty remarkable.


  8. I find it interesting that you found a beautiful way to marry your past traditions with your present ones. That <>is<> really powerful.


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