Contemplative Atmosphere, nursery provided, older kids welcome
Friday 7:00 pm at Imago Dei Anglican Church
Good Friday is a solemn remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice of his own life so that we might find forgiveness and reconciliation with God. This is not a somber recapitulation of Jesus’ death, but rather a thankful and reverently joyful recollection of his death that gave us life. This day and the next—Holy Saturday—are the only two days of the church calendar when there is no Eucharistic celebration. Traditionally, this service can be held at three o’clock in the afternoon or later to mark the hour of Jesus’ death according to the Gospels. It is believed that the liturgy for this service is derived from the earliest days of Christianity. The service begins in silence and with prayer. The clergy process into the room silently, dressed in black. In some traditions, they prostrate themselves before the cross at this point. Our readings for the day are from Isaiah’s Suffering Servant poem (Isa. 52:13–53:12) and from the sermon to the Hebrews in which the author explains Jesus’ role as our great High Priest and Mediator (Heb. 10:1-25). At this time, we return to the same Gospel reading that we read on Palm Sunday— the Passion (John 18:1–19:37). This service also includes the praying of the Solemn Collects in which we intercede for the church, our nation, and the world. Our Communion for this service consists of wafers that have already been blessed during the previous night’s Maundy Thursday Eucharist. Good Friday is not a Eucharist service because we are remembering that Christ’s body was in the grave, and we are waiting for his resurrected body to bring us new life. Finally, we take time to venerate (esteem or adore) the cross. At Imago Dei Anglican Church, we lay the cross down on the chancel stage, and all who feel to draw near, remove a rose from the font, place it in the nail holes of the cross and touch the cross and pray. It is a powerful time of connection with our sacrificial Savior. Healing prayer is offered at this time.
WHAT YOU SEE & HEAR
SILENT PROCESSION: The clergy enters the room in silence to highlight Good Friday as the continuation of the long service that begins on Maundy Thursday and ends with the Great Vigil of Easter.
PROCESSION OF THE CROSS: The congregation is invited into the immediacy of the wood of the cross as it is carried through the sanctuary.
VENERATION OF THE CROSS: This tradition dates back to the fourth century, when Christians venerated the wood of Jesus’ actual cross. At Imago, we believe that this practice takes us out of time and, by the Holy Spirit, into the event of Christ’s crucifixion. It is not a reenactment, but instead a sacred moment when we are given the gift of repentance as we physically touch the cross and are moved by Jesus’ healing presence on the cross.
PRAYER MINISTERS: Because this service is marked by the immediacy of the saving power of the cross, we fill the room with prayer ministers who are trained and ready to enter into that moment with you in prayer.
In the pilgrimage of Holy Week, Good Friday brings us to a somber and contemplative halt. From the moment the silent procession enters the sanctuary until we all leave in silence, we are invited into a focused contemplation of Jesus’ death on the cross. Each scripture reading, prayer, and song points us to one man’s experience on an ancient instrument of torture. Why? Because we believe that the moment Jesus died on the cross was the moment the entire world was rescued from sin and death. That is why we spend so much time savoring the reality of the cross. On Good Friday, we celebrate both the specific instant in history when Jesus redeemed us and the reality that his healing power can meet us in our sinfulness today. We invite the Holy Spirit to give us the grace to acknowledge our personal sinfulness and then to immediately find forgiveness and empowerment available at the cross. It is a stunningly personal opportunity to ask the Lord to highlight the sins and the shame keeping us from drawing close to him and then to set those sins down on the wood of the cross.
Is there a sinful habit or thought pattern that the Lord may be asking you to put into his cross this Good Friday?
What stands out to you the most about this service?
Material used with permission from: © 2016 Church of the Resurrection. All rights reserved. 935 W. Union Ave. Wheaton, IL 60187 churchrez.org Editor: Meghan Robins