Here’s a list of songs that could work well for a Good Friday Service.
If you have other song ideas or suggestions that would work well for a Good Friday service please leave comments below – I would love to add them.
WHEN I SURVEY
WERE YOU THERE?
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
How Deep the Father’s Love
Reckless Love (Cory Absury)
Nailed to the Cross (Rend Collective)
It is Finished (Matt Redman)
How He Loves Us
Amazing Love (You are my King)
And Can It Be
Forgiven (Crowder, Passion)
By His Wounds
O Sacred Head Now Wounded
Nothing But The Blood
Saviour of the World
Here I Am To Worship
At the Foot of the Cross
God of Calvary (Chris Tomlin)
Song Ideas for Good Friday and Easter
Check out these song ideas for Good Friday and Easter. There are so many great worship songs about the cross and forgiveness and the sacrifice Christ made for us. And there are so many wonderful songs about the resurrection and the victory of God over sin and death and evil. Two in particular that have stuck in my head this week are Paul Baloche’s hauntingly beautiful song “Your Blood Ran Down” and Tim Hughes’ new anthem “The Cross Stands Above It All.”
I want to just add a few more songs to your ideas for Holy Week. Three are brand new, and two were previously released but are included as bonus tracks on The Mystery of Faith LP. Each video includes a link to the chord chart for FREE.
Song Ideas for GOOD FRIDAY:
“We Confess”—a song of confession and repentance based on the prayers of confession in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. The chorus, which comes after two verses of confession, is sung from God’s perspective, announcing His forgiveness to us. (For a picture of what it would look like to sing it antiphonally, with people facing each other, check out this “live” video.)
“Forgiven Forever”—a song thanking God for the “once-and-for-all” forgiveness He provided for us through the blood of the lamb. The bridge contains an anthemic refrain based on Romans 8, declaring that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.
Song Ideas for EASTER:
“Our Messiah Reign”—a brooding anthem naming Christ as the long-awaited Messiah, the world’s true Lord, who broke the curse of death, rescues the prisoner and comforts the broken. Based on Isaiah 61 and Luke 4, the song culminates in a simple chorus giving glory to the Lamb who died and rose again.
“Victorious God”—a simple, upbeat praise song with verse lyrics based on the Easter hymn in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. With a driving verse and a chorus declaring Jesus as the risen One and reigning King, the song takes flight in a chant-like refrain praising our victorious God.
Download the chord chart: http://bit.ly/XtdqTv
“The Mystery of Faith”—a rising anthem based on the words of the Memorial Acclamation: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” Each verse is about an aspect of the Lord’s Table—His body and His blood in verse 1, His Spirit and His coming in verse 2. The bridge is an “Alleluia” refrain fitting for Easter celebrations.
New Worship Songs for Good Friday
Good Friday is the second greatest event in history as Christ showed his love by dying for us on the cross. Only rivalled by his resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, the worship on Good Friday therefore deserves thought and planning. Here are some suggestions:
1. Cochren and Co. “Grave” (listen HERE)
Many songs have often bypassed the exposition of the death of Christ in favor of the resurrection. Cochren and Co.’s “Grave” gives serious thought to why and how the death of Christ impacts us and why it makes the resurrection even more meaningful and powerful.
2. Kari Jobe “Throne Room” (listen HERE)
The mystery and majesty of who Christ is are all presented here in their power ballad. If executed with prayerful awe, this song is such a glorious depiction of Christ on Good Friday.
3. Circuit Rider Music “Oh the Cross” (listen HERE)
Written by Jeremy Riddle, Elyssa Smith, Lindy Cofer, “Oh the Cross” is prided for its lyrical specificity. Eyes are opened and the imagination is ignited when graphic words like these are sung: “Jesus, You carried the cross upon Your back/Bleeding until the final breath/Tears of blood, a crown of thorns/You gave it all, our sins You bore/And oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh/There is no greater love, ooh-oh .”
4. Hillsong Worship “Man of Sorrows” (listen HERE)
An old Hillsong favorite recently revived by the team again. The reason why it is re-imagined by the Australia team is obvious as soon as the first few notes of this hymn-like song hits. Theological rich, melodically catchy, and spiritually moving, this song deserves to be heard across churches.
5. Travis Cottell “The Blood of Christ Speaks for Me” (listen HERE)
You can’t have a Good Friday setlist without at least one song on the blood of christ, a motif that is huge in Scripture. Cottrell’s treatment of this theme would make the writer of Hebrews proud and his execution of the song would soften the hardest of hearts.
SONGS TO SOOTHE YOUR SOUL ON GOOD FRIDAY
When I was in high school and college, my friends and I would make mixtapes for each other. If you wanted to tell someone that they were special, you could do so with just the right mix of songs. Recently, my 16-year-old son and I had a conversation and I told him that I felt the fall of western civilization came with digital music because no one did the hard work of making a mixtape anymore. He rolled his eyes and said, “Dad, that sounds like a playlist to me.”
In the spirit of the mixtape, I offer this Good Friday playlist. To call it eclectic might be an understatement. I hope you find in it something that soothes your soul on this darkest of days.
There is a Green Hill Far Away: King’s College Choir, Cambridge
I don’t need a DNA test to tell me that I have Irish ancestry. Something about the hymns of Cecil Frances Alexander stir my Irish soul and this is one is a prime example. If you would like to sing along, it is Hymn 167 in The Hymnal 1982.
Love is Stronger Than Death:The The
By the time Love is Stronger Than Death was released in 1993, I had already lost far too many friends to HIV/AIDS. This song appears to paraphrase this line from the Song of Solomon (8:6): “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.”
Go to Dark Gethsemane:Amanda Rutherford
Singers like David Bazan and Sufjan Stevens give me hope that the hymns of old can find new life. This adaptation of Hymn 171 (The Hymnal 1982) performed by Amanda Rutherford is a perfect example. I play this version on my guitar to sing at home.
This was my father’s favorite song ever written. In this recording, Cohen starts off by saying how he signed away the rights to it. You can tell that he, too, loves the song when he says, “It would be wrong to write this song and get rich from it, too.”
Around My Neck:100 Portraits
Thanks to my colleague, Chad Brinkman, for telling me about this beautiful tune. Robin Pasley’s vocal is stunning and calls us to think about what the cross has become.
The Old Rugged Cross:Johnny and June Carter Cash
It’s hard for me to pick which version of this classic gospel hymn to share. The Old Rugged Cross has been performed by many of my favorite country singers, including Ernest Tubb, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and John Prine. A staple of the Carter Family, in this version June Carter joins her husband, Johnny Cash. Their rendition reminds me that love is stronger than death.
O Sacred Head Sore Wounded:King’s College Choir, Cambridge
This is one of the oldest hymns Christians sing. O Sacred Head Sore Wounded comes from a 13th-century poem attributed to Arnulf of Leuven that addresses Christ’s different body parts upon the cross. The stanzas of the poem each focus on Christ’s feet, knees, hands, his pierced side, breast, heart and then his head. Throughout the centuries, many translations have been made. We sing Robert Bridges’ translation to this heart-wrenching tune by J.S. Bach.
What Sarah Said:Death Cab For Cutie
Speaking of heart-wrenching tunes, this song paints the experience far too many of us have shared, sitting in a hospital waiting room until the bad news comes. But it is the line that Sarah sings that reminds me of the experience of the women at the foot of the cross.
Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?:Mahalia Jackson
This song is another one that is so hard to choose which singer and which performance to include, but not really… this is Mahalia Jackson. And I’m sure that if you’ve ever sung Hymn 172 (Hymnal 1982), it didn’t sound quite like this. Only a soloist with a lifelong upbringing in Gospel music sounds this great.
Down There By The Train:Johnny Cash, written by Tom Waits
I used to work as a tour manager with touring bands and for a while, worked exclusively with artists on the Def American Recordings label. At that time, producer Rick Rubin started producing songs with Johnny Cash. Some of the recordings were made in Cash’s living room, just him and a guitar. One of the first songs they recorded was written by Tom Waits and is more of an Americana-Gospel-train song. There are a few great Gospel songs on that album.
At the Cross Her Vigil Keeping:University of Texas San Antonio Women’s Choir, Mark Daniel Merritt, Conductor
This 13th century Good Friday hymn is as beautiful in its English translation as it is in Latin. Although the recording quality is not the best, the voices make up for the low fidelity. I chose this version because it is the same one you will sing in church today if you sing Hymn 159 (Hymnal 1982). It is nothing less than the most exquisite poetry.
Ever since I was a boy, I remember the Good Friday offering going to the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. This song reminds me why this tradition is so important. You can find out more about the Good Friday Offering for the Church in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East here.