Thursday, March 25, 2021

Good Friday in a time of pandemice

Call to Worship
L: Here in the midst of this pandemic,
staying as safe as we can,
we come to worship you.
P: We come with the groans of loneliness,
and the whispers of hope in our hearts.
L: Here in a season of being apart,
we come to remember you.
P: We come, hoping we have not been forgotten,
and that here, now, your presence will be felt.
L: Here in a time when almost every day
has seemed like a Holy Friday,
we come to place our broken hearts
into your shattered one, our God.
P: We come, knowing you have heard us
through every lonely day, in every moment,
never holding back your constant love.
we come, to praise you for your steadfast love.

Prayer of the Day
God who has shared
in every single one of your tears,
here in these moments of silence,
as we listen to familiar words,
you call us from these endless days,
to remember the suffering, the death
of your Child who came to carry
the pain, the loneliness,
the grief we have known
in this season of pandemic.
May we look through our weariness
to see your love poured out for us.

As we have walked
our lonesome valleys these months,
you have always been at our sides,
Grace of Calvary.
and even though we have
a greater appreciation of this
holy season of rejection and suffering,
we leave you
to carry the cross alone.
May we listen through our emptiness
to hear your anguished cries this day.

We have struggled so hard
to find words of hope, of wonder,
of trust in these uncertain times,
and we could not,
when we dared not
try to utter them,
you prayed for us, in us,
through us, to us,
Shattered Spirit.
May we open our empty hearts
to be filled with
the laments of the lonely,
to cradle the whispers
of hope from our children,
to join in setting free
all held in pandemic’s fears.

God in Community, Holy in One,
on this day of grief and loss
which may mean more to us
than ever before, we lift our prayers
to you in the name of the One
who suffered and died for us this day
and who teaches us to pray, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
In these endless days of uncertainty, on this day of pain and grief, we long to know of hope, even as we bring our hearts – shattered, stained with failures, overflowing with doubt - to the One who takes them, to cleanse them with the waters of life.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
  This past year, we have often lost our way, like kids who wander off in crowded stores, God of all our grim days, especially this one. When we focused more on ourselves than the forgotten, we betrayed you. When we kept our mouths closed instead of speaking up for justice, we denied you. When we choose not to do good for others, we turned our backs on you. When we harmed our friends, neighbors, and families, we crucified you.
  Here at the foot of the cross, where we have found ourselves so many times these last months, we stand beside all who stepped off the path of faithfulness, who forgot you, who chose to go another way than follow you. Have mercy on us, Lamb of God. Forgive us, cleanse us with the hope, the grace, the peace you poured out for us, as you gave your life for the sins of the world.

Extended silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L: Christ did not forget us, but carried our suffering on his back, walking with all our hurts, our foolishness, the pain we caused, taking it all into the heart of our God, who takes them, and casts them into the everlasting sea of forgiveness.
P: Fed with grace, carried in God's arms, we know that we are forgiven. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Scripture Readings

Isaiah 52:13-53:12


Psalm 22


Hebrews 10:16-25


John 18:1-19-42


Intercessions for a time of pandemic
L: In these moments of uncertainty and loss,
let us remember that Jesus became one of us,
not to shame us but to save us,
to be with us in every moment,
especially in moments like we have endured.

Let us pray for believers everywhere,
for those clergy and lay leaders
struggling to be faithful,
to continue to be God’s people
in these times of fear and uncertainty,
for those churches which have closed
and for those who do not know
when they will reopen, if ever.


God, whose gift to your people
is that community of faith
which has faced challenges in every age,
we pray we may continue to serve you,
your people, and our world,
through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

P: Amen

L: Let us pray for our world,
for all the nations in every part,
for the leaders on all sides,
that they may seek to be compassionate,
that they may seek justice,
that they may pursue peace.


God, who models leadership
through your grace and compassion,
fill those who struggle to make decisions
with wisdom, justice, and hope,
especially for those who seek
to bring vaccines to those countries
who are so poor, they are at the bottom of the list.
This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord.

P: Amen.

L: Let us pray for all who have suffered
during this season of pandemic:
for those who were infected, hospitalized,
and especially for those who have died;
for those who have lost jobs, schooling,
savings, pensions, homes, and belongings;
for those who have spent hours, days, weeks
on the frontlines in hospitals, in nursing homes,
in residential facilities and homes for the disabled;
for all who have been forgotten in these moments
and for all whose lives of injustice and poverty
are ongoing pandemics that have no end.
that they might know God’s comfort and hope,
and we may be the conduits of these graces.


Comfort of the ages,
Cradler of the lonely
Embracer of the grieving,
Strength of those too weary to take another step,
be with every person in every place,
this we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

P: Amen.

L: Let us pray that out of these moment,
from the ashes of our unfulfilled dreams,
from the pain of all we have lost,
that we will not long for a return
to those days when we thought only of ourselves,
when we ignored all living if forgotten neighborhoods,
when we closed our eyes to injustices,
when we turned a deaf ear to cries for help,
when we hoarded rather than shared,
when we walked past the closed stores,
restaurants, schools, businesses
without giving a thought to those
who no longer worked there.


God who holds every day in your hands,
God who has always led your people into
new lives, new dreams, new ways of serving,
may we continue to let our compassion increase,
may we continue to stand up to the powerful,
may we continue to learn from the vulnerable,
may we continue to trust in you always,
may we continue to walk with you,
even when the way seems uncertain.

P: Amen.

(c) 2021 Thom M. Shuman