Good Friday Church Service

Good Friday Church Service

This service may be used either at noon or in the evening of Good Friday. It is preferable that there are no paraments, banners, flowers, or decorations on Good Friday except, perhaps, representations of the way of the cross. The Lord’s table, pulpit, and other furnishings should be bare of cloth, candles, or anything else not actually used in the service. The cross remains visible, but it and any permanently fixed images may be veiled. By partly concealing the cross, the veil also calls attention to it. The color scarlet is suggested for a veil over the cross.



Appropriate music may be offered while the people gather, but silence is preferable. The pastor, choir, and other leaders of worship enter in silence.


Christ himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.

That we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

Let us pray.

The following or Good Friday (UMH 284) is said:

Almighty God,
your Son Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross
so that he might draw the whole world to himself.
Grant that we, who glory in this death for our salvation,
may also glory in his call to take up our cross and follow him;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[HYMN *] Suggested from UMH:


285–301 Christ’s Gracious Life: Passion and Death 626 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
635 Because Thou Hast Said 425 O Crucified Redeemer
167 Canticle of Christ’s Obedience 633 The Bread Life for All Is Broken



SCRIPTURE LESSON Isaiah 52:13 –53:12


PSALM 22 (UMH 752)

[SCRIPTURE LESSON]Hebrews 10:16 –25



The Good Friday narrative may be proclaimed in one of several ways:

1) The longer or shorter version of the passion story may be read dramatically as suggested for Passion/Palm Sunday, or a single reader may be preferred. The version used in the Service of Tenebrae (UMBOW 355 ff.)is recommended because it more accurately translates the Greek text and thereby avoids blaming all Jewish people for the suffering and death of Jesus, as some translations may imply.

2) A choral setting of the passion narrative may be sung by the choir.

3) Hymns may be interspersed at appropriate intervals within the reading of John’s passion narrative, as on Passion/Palm Sunday or in the Service of Tenebrae.


Ordinarily the Proclamation of the Passion Story takes the place of a sermon, but situations may arise that call for preaching a sermon.






HYMN See suggestions.

If desired, a plain wooden cross may now be brought into the church and placed in the sight of the people.


During Silent Meditation and The Reproaches, persons may be invited to come forward informally to kneel briefly before the cross or touch it.


Any or all of the following reproaches may be spoken, with the congregation responding as indicated below or singing after each stanza, Jesus, Remember Me ( UMH 488) or Remember Me ( UMH 491). A time of silence may be kept after each stanza.


1) O my people, O my Church,
what have I done to you, or in what have I offended you?
I led you forth from the land of Egypt
and delivered you by the waters of baptism,
but you have prepared a cross for your Savior.

Holy God,
holy and mighty,
holy and immortal One,
have mercy upon us.

(See UMBOW Hymn 215 for a musical setting of this ancient prayer).


2) I led you through the desert forty years and fed you with manna;
I brought you through times of persecution and of renewal
and gave you my body, the bread of heaven;
but you have prepared a cross for your Savior. R

3) I made you branches of my vineyard
and gave you the water of salvation,
but when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar and gall
and pierced with a spear the side of your Savior. R

4) I went before you in a pillar of cloud,
but you have led me to the judgment hall of Pilate.
I brought you to a land of freedom and prosperity,
but you have scourged, mocked, and beaten me. R

5) I gave you a royal scepter, and bestowed the keys to the kingdom,
but you have given me a crown of thorns.
I raised you on high with great power,
but you have hanged me on the cross. R

6) My peace I gave, which the world cannot give,
and washed your feet as a servant,
but you draw the sword to strike in my name
and seek high places in my kingdom. R

7) I accepted the cup of suffering and death for your sakes,
but you scatter and deny and abandon me.
I sent the Spirit of truth to lead you,
but you close your hearts to guidance. R

8) I called you to go and bring forth fruit,
but you cast lots for my clothing.
I prayed that you all may be one,
but you continue to quarrel and divide. R

9) I grafted you into the tree of my chosen people Israel,
but you turned on them with persecution and mass murder.
I made you joint heirs with them of my covenants,
but you made them scapegoats for your own guilt. R

10) I came to you as the least of your brothers and sisters.
I was hungry but you gave me no food,
thirsty but you gave me no drink.
I was a stranger but you did not welcome me,
naked but you did not clothe me,
sick and in prison but you did not visit me. R

A brief silence follows.


The final hymn and Dismissal may be omitted to signify that we are waiting for the coming resurrection and to show the essential unity among the services of the Great Three Days.

[HYMN *] See suggestions.


May Jesus Christ,
who for our sake became obedient unto death, even death on a cross,
keep you and strengthen you, now and for ever. Amen.


All depart in silence, except those beginning a prayer vigil






The Seven Last Words

Services based on the seven last words (phrases) of Jesus from the cross are traditionally developed from harmonies of the Gospel passion narratives. Also known as the Devotion of the Three Hours (from noon on Friday to 3:00 P.M., to remember Christ’s hours on the cross), it was first conducted by a Jesuit priest in Peru in the eighteenth century as a service of scripture readings with prayers and hymns interspersed. Over the years it has become popular in Protestant circles in England and North America. The common order of the readings is presented here. Visuals, music, drama, or liturgical dance may be employed imaginatively.


1) Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them.
2) Luke 23:43 Today you will be with me in paradise.
3) John 19:26 –27 Woman, here is your son.
4) Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46 My God, why have you forsaken me?
5) John 19:28 I am thirsty.
6) John 19:30a It is finished.
7) Luke 23:46 Into your hands I commend my spirit.



The Way of the Cross

The Way (or Stations) of the Cross has been a common way of participating in the passion (suffering) of Christ as a part of Good Friday services. The service may be conducted in the church or outdoors with stops (stations) at various locations. Stopping at each station reminds the participant of different moments of Christ’s passion journey and encourages reflection and contemplation. Visuals, music, drama, or liturgical dance may be employed imaginatively. A prayer, with kneeling, and hymn may follow each reading. Its inspiration came from the desire to imitate the journeys of early Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, especially to the places of Christ’s redemptive suffering. The version offered here differs from traditional ones in that it includes only stations with a biblical basis.


Station of the Cross Scripture Summary
1) Jesus prays alone. Luke 22:39 –44 Take this cup from me.
2) Jesus is arrested. Matthew 26:47 –56 Have you come with swords?
3) Sanhedrin tries Jesus. Mark 14:61 –64 Are you the Christ?
4) Pilate tries Jesus. John 18:33 –37 Are you King of the Jews?
5) Pilate sentences Jesus. Mark 15:6 –15 Crucify him.
6) Jesus wears crown. John 19:5 Here is the man.
7) Jesus carries his cross. John 10:17 –18 I lay it down of my own.
8) Simon carries cross. Luke 23:26 Simon the Cyrene
9) Jesus speaks to the women. Luke 23:27 –31 Weep for yourselves.
10) Jesus is crucified. Luke 23:33 –34 Jesus on the cross
11) Criminals speak to Jesus. Luke 23:39 –43 Today you will be with me.
12) Jesus speaks to Mary, John. John 19:25 b –27 Woman, this is your son.
13) Jesus dies on the cross. John 19:28–34 It is accomplished.
14) Jesus is laid in tomb. John 19:38–42 There they laid Jesus.



Holy Saturday


Merciful and everliving God, Creator of heaven and earth,
the crucified body of your Son was laid in the tomb
and rested on this holy day.
Grant that we may await with him the dawning of the third day
and rise in newness of life, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Good Friday Worship Service Guide

In keeping with our commitment to glorify God during this time apart from each other, we have prepared a Good Friday devotional for our Cherrydale family. We hope and pray that even though we cannot be together as one church body, we can still reflect and remember, through Scripture and song, the sacrifice that Jesus made for us so that we might have everlasting life. We are encouraging everyone to join with others for this time of reflection and remembrance. Consider inviting others to join you via Zoom, FaceTime or any other safe avenue to participate together in the readings and songs.

To make things a bit easier for online participation, we have included the links to all the Scripture readings using the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the International Children’s Bible (ICB). Parents, please feel the freedom to use this guide in whatever way works best for your family. You may want to read it through in advance to determine how many and which readings and their associated songs you will use.

Good Friday Worship Service Guide

Opening Prayer

Father, we come before you today full of praise and awe for your great plan of saving us from a life of sin and death. We thank you that you are a gracious God, a God who delights in us and loves us beyond measure.

Lord, as we prepare our hearts to remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we confess the times we have sinned against you with our thoughts and actions. Lord forgive us for the times we forget how much you love us or are unkind to others. [If desired, allow for a short time of silent confession.] Lord, we ask forgiveness for all our sins and know that through the blood of Jesus, we are forgiven.

Lord God, our sins are great and ever before us, but we are grateful that Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. As we are reflecting on this sacrifice, we ask that through the power of the Holy Spirit we remember all that Jesus has done for us. Lord, help us to remember constantly that Jesus’ death on the cross means that all who believe in Him will have everlasting life.

Lord Jesus, we thank you that your wounds have conquered sin and death, which means that we can be healed. Your power will last forever. Amen.

Readings and Songs

Read from the Prophets: Isaiah 52:13–53:12 (NASB) (ICB)
Sing: “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”

Read from the Psalms: Psalm 22:1–8 (NASB) (ICB)
Sing: “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us”

Read from the Letters: Hebrews 4:14–16; 5:7–9 (NASB) (ICB)
Sing: “There Is a Fountain”

Read from the Gospels, Part 1: Mark 15:1–25 (NASB) (ICB)
Sing: “This the Power of the Cross”

Read from the Gospels, Part 2: Mark 15:26–47 (NASB) (ICB)
Sing: “Were You There”

Closing Prayer

Father in Heaven, your Son Jesus suffered in unimaginable ways for our sins. His death on the cross means that will have eternal life. Lord, thank you for the underserved gift of your Son Jesus.


“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).

God bless you! We hope to “see” you Easter Sunday for worship online at 11:00 am via livestream. 

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