Monday, April 02, 2012

Good Friday

(Note: Some believe the Passion Story in Mark's Gospel was written to serve
as an Easter Vigil, telling the story as early Christians 're-lived' the
last 24 hours of Jesus' life as they prepared to celebrate our Lord's
Resurrection. Today's service 'reduces' those 24 hours into one, as we
remember the final hours of our Lord's life.)

The people gather in silence

Call to Worship
L: Into the shadows of chaos
P: the Light of the world steps;
L: from the silence of death
P: the Word of God breaks free;
L: for the emptiness of our souls,
P: the Bread of the world is broken.

First Three Hours (6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Thursday)

Eating with Friends - Mark 14:17-25

Response
L: it was at table
that the story began:
a people longing
for freedom;
P: a meal to prepare them
for the journey
into the wilderness;

L: it was at a table
that the story was re-told:
a teacher and students
wondering what
the coming hours
would bring;
P: a meal to prepare them
for the journey
into death;

L: it is at the Lord's Table
that the story is remembered:
by people struggling
to be faithful;
P: a meal to prepare us
for the journey
into resurrection.

Second Three Hours (9:00 p.m. - midnight Thursday)

Running Away - Mark 14:26-50

Response
L: we convince ourselves
that we would not
act as Jesus' friends do in this story,
but lest we forget:
P: we are the ones
who slip quietly away
when asked to stand
beside the poor and oppressed;

L: lest we forget:
P: we are the deniers
of Jesus
when we turn our backs
on those whom
our world does not recognize;

L: lest we forget:
P: we are the greedy
who cling to our possessions
we never use
when they could bless others;

L: lest we forget:
P: we are the comfortable
who can sleep
through the cries
of hungry children;

L: lest we forget:
P: let us remember
who we are
and who we can become.

Third Three Hours (midnight - 3:00 a.m. Friday)

The Troublemaker - Mark 14:53-65

Unison Prayer

rock star,
politician,
pro athlete:
of all the people
you could have been,
you chose to become
a servant -
for us.

Power,
wealth,
divinity:
of all the privileges
you might have grasped,
you chose to take hold
of a cross -
for us.

Paris,
Cancun,
Los Angeles;
of all the roads
you might have taken,
you chose the one
running through Jerusalem -
for us.

Of all the people
you might have died for -
you did.
Amen.

Fourth Three Hours (3:00 - 6:00 a.m. Friday)

"I do not know him" - Mark 14:66-72

Reflection

Fifth Three Hours (6:00 - 9:00 a.m. Friday)

Trial - Mark 15:1-24

Response
L: no one asked him . . .
not the chief priest
P: or his bought judges
though
fear would
have deafened them;

L: not the governor,
P: balancing
political options
on
his
decision;

L: not the mob:
P: pockets full of nightmares,
stomachs full of poverty,
voices brimming with bile
no goodness or mercy
flowing over
their cupped hands;

L: no one asked him
(but don't you think)
Jesus himself
would have said
(maybe he whispered
it to himself . . .)
P: give them Barabbas!

Sixth Three Hours (9:00 a.m. - noon Friday)

Crucified! - Mark 15:15-32

Response
L: Ridiculed by his enemies,
outcast of his kin,
deserted by his friends,
God-forsaken:
P: the Morning Star of Creation
hangs
covered with the grit
of the sins of the world.

L: Nailed to the cross,
the Carpenter of Calvary
P: repairs our brokenness
so we might be
restored to God's kingdom.

Seventh Three Hours (12 noon - 3:00 p.m.)
Mark 15:33

Silence is observed for 4 minutes

Eighth Three Hours (3:00 - 6:00 p.m.)

From the Cross to the Tomb - Mark 15:34-47

Response
L: feet that danced
through the streets
of Jerusalem
welcoming the Messiah
P: now softly pad
the back alleys
in search of shadows;

L: hearts that leapt
with joy at the sight
of David's true son
P: are thrown out
with Golgotha's
garbage;

L: hands that wrapped
a new born son
in bright bands of cloth
P: now shroud
his broken body
and lay him
gently,
tenderly,
softly
in death's manger.

L: where glad hosannas
rang out
P: there is
now
only
the silent,
weeping
heart
of
God.

The Service is Concluded.
Please depart in silence.

© Thom M. Shuman