After the final no there comes a yes

And on that yes the future world depends.

                                                                  — Wallace Stevens, "The Well Dressed Man With a Beard"


God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?

                                                                                                — Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?

Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,

which was brought upon me, 

which the LORD inflicted upon me.

                                                                                                                               — Lamentations 1:12



March 25, 2016
Good Friday
Center City  



Leader:     Bless the Lord who forgives all of our sins; His mercy endures forever. Amen.


Leader:    The Lord be with you.   

People:     And also with you!


Leader:     Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm
                 of the Lord been revealed?

People:     Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; 
                 yet we account him stricken, struck down by God and afflicted.

Leader:     But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities;

People:     upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. 

                                                                                                                — from Isaiah 53:1, 4-5, NRSV




There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
 lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, 
lose all their guilty stains;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in his day; 
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away. 
Wash all my sins away,
wash all my sins away; 
and there may I, though vile as he, 
wash all my sins away.

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream
thy flowing wounds supply, 
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die,
and shall be till I die;
redeeming love has been my theme, 
and shall be till I die.

Lose all their guilty stains. 
Lose all their guilty stains, 
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.

Words & Music: William Cowper, 1772.


Luke 22:39-62, NRSV

39[Jesus] came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” 41Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” 43Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. 44In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. 45When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, 46and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”

47While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; 48but Jesus said to him, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?” 49When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” 50Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? 53When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!”

54Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. 55When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.” 57But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59Then about an hour later still another kept insisting, “Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” 60But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!” At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 61The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62And he went out and wept bitterly.                            

Leader: This is the Gospel of the Lord.  
People: Praise to you, O Christ! 



Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, 
weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
full of pity, love and power.

I will arise and go to Jesus.
He will embrace me in His arms!
In the arms of my dear Savior,
oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome!
God’s free bounty glorify:
True belief and true repentance—
every grace that brings you nigh.


Let not conscience make you linger,
nor of fitness fondly dream.
All the fitness He requireth
is to feel your need of Him.


Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
lost and ruined by the fall!
If you tarry till you’re better,
you will never come at all.


Music by William Walker, 1835. Lyrics by Joseph Hart, 1759.


Luke 22:63-23:25, NRSV

22:63 Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; 64they also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65They kept heaping many other insults on him. 66When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. 67They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” He replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe; 68and if I question you, you will not answer. 69But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70All of them asked, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” He said to them, “You say that I am.” 71Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!”

23:1 Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate. 2They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.” 3Then Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered, “You say so.” 4Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for an accusation against this man.” 5But they were insistent and said, “He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.” 6When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7And when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 8When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. 9He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. 12That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies.


13 Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, 14and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16I will therefore have him flogged and release him.” 18Then they all shouted out together, “Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!” 19(This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) 20Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; 21but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.” 23But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. 24So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. 25He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.

Leader: This is the gospel of the Lord.

People: Praise to you, O Christ! 



How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give his only son,
And make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss!
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon the cross,
My sin upon His shoulder.
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished!
His dying breath has brought me life;
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything:
No gifts no power no wisdom,
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I from His reward?
I cannot give an answer,
But this I know with all my heart:
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Music & lyrics by Stuart Townend, 1995.


Luke 23:26-56, NRSV

26As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”


44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. 47 When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. 49 But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

50 Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, 51had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Leader: This is the gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to you, O Christ!


Speaker: Paul Burkhart
Title: The Beginning and the End




“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Leader:     Loving Father, to whom your crucified Son prayed
                 for the forgiveness of those who did not know what they were doing,
          grant that we too may be included in that prayer.
                Whether we sin out of ignorance or intention,
                be merciful to us and grant us your acceptance and peace
                in the name of Jesus Christ, our suffering Savior. 

People:     In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer. 

“Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Leader:     O Lord Jesus Christ, who promised to the repentant the joy of paradise,
                 enable us by the Holy Spirit to repent
 and to receive your grace in this world
                 and in the world to come. 

People:     In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer.

“Woman, behold your son...Behold your mother.”

Leader:    O blessed Savior, in your hour of greatest suffering
                you expressed compassion for your mother
               and made arrangements for her care;
              grant that we who seek to follow your example

              may show our concern for the needs of others, 
              reaching out to provide for those who suffer in our human family. 

People:     In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

Leader:     O Lord, as one who was once forsaken by all others,
                 even your own Father, grant that we would approach
                 your throne of grace with in our time of need.

People:     In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer. 


“I thirst.”
Leader:     O blessed Savior, whose lips were dry
                 and whose throat was parched,
                 grant us the water of life,
                 that we who thirst after righteousness
                 may find it quenched by your love and mercy,
                 leading us to bring this same relief to others.

People:     In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer.

“It is finished.”

Leader:     O Lord Jesus Christ, you finished
                 the work that you were sent to do;
                 enable us by your Holy Spirit to be faithful to our call.
                 Grant us strength to bear our crosses
                 and endure our sufferings, even unto death.
                 Enable us to live and love so faithfully
                 that we also become good news to the world,
                 joining your witness, 

                O Christ, in whose name we pray. 

People:     In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer.

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Leader:     Father, into whose hands your Son, Jesus Christ, 
                commended his spirit, grant that we too,
                following his example
may in all of life and at the moment of our death
entrust our lives into your faithful hands of love.
               In the name of Jesus, who gave his life for us all. 

People:     In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.

 — Based on Psalm 88; Mark 15:34;
Luke 23:34, 43, 46; John 19:26-30

And darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. The earth shook and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 



Minister: May you find in the cross a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope and the assurance of sins forgiven. And may the blessing of God go with you, now and forevermore. 

People: Amen. 


In order to respect those that want to remain to pray and meditate, please remain silent as you leave.