Good Friday

This is the Good Friday service from the Book of Common prayer. Feel free to just listen, or to follow along and say the responses with the text below. Click on the Scripture passages to be taken to a link with the readings. I’ve broken the podcasts up into three sections: the Opening Prayer and readings from Scripture, the Sermon, and the Solemn Collects and Final Prayer. 

Immediately before the Collect, the Celebrant may say

            Blessed be our God.
People     For ever and ever. Amen.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your
family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be
betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer
death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Old Testament
     Isaiah 52:13–53:12

Psalm    40:1-14
Epistle     Hebrews 10:1-25

The Passion Gospel is announced in the following manner 

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

John  19:1-37

The Sermon follows.

The Solemn Collects

Dear People of God: Our heavenly Father sent his Son into
the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world
through him might be saved; that all who believe in him
might be delivered from the power of sin and death, and
become heirs with him of everlasting life.

We pray, therefore, for people everywhere according to their
needs.

Let us pray for the holy Catholic Church of Christ
throughout the world;

    For its unity in witness and service
For all bishops and other ministers
and the people whom they serve
For Nicholas, our Bishop, and all the people of this diocese
For all Christians in this community
For those about to be baptized.

That God will confirm his Church in faith, increase it in love,
and preserve it in peace.

Silence

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole
body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified:
Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before
you for all members of your holy Church, that in their
vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you;
through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


Let us pray for all nations and peoples of the earth, and for
those in authority among them;

    For Barak, the President of the United States
For the Congress and the Supreme Court
For the Members and Representatives of the United Nations
For all who serve the common good

That by God’s help they may seek justice and truth, and live
in peace and concord.

Silence

Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of
peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for
the nations of the earth; that in tranquility your dominion may

increase, until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your
love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let us pray for all who suffer and are afflicted in body or in mind;

    For the hungry and the homeless, the destitute
and the oppressed
For the sick, the wounded, and the crippled
For those in loneliness, fear, and anguish
For those who face temptation, doubt, and despair
For the sorrowful and bereaved
For prisoners and captives, and those in mortal danger

That God in his mercy will comfort and relieve them, and
grant them the knowledge of his love, and stir up in us the
will and patience to minister to their needs.

Silence

Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of
all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come
to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all
their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve
them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let us pray for all who have not received the Gospel of Christ;

    For those who have never heard the word of salvation
For those who have lost their faith
For those hardened by sin or indifference
For the contemptuous and the scornful
For those who are enemies of the cross of Christ and
persecutors of his disciples
For those who in the name of Christ have persecuted others

That God will open their hearts to the truth, and lead them to
faith and obedience.

Silence

Merciful God, creator of all the peoples of the earth and
lover of souls: Have compassion on all who do not know you
as you are revealed in your Son Jesus Christ; let your Gospel
be preached with grace and power to those who have not
heard it; turn the hearts of those who resist it; and bring
home to your fold those who have gone astray; that there
may be one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.


Let us commit ourselves to God, and pray for the grace
of a holy life, that, with all who have departed this world and
have died in the peace of Christ, and those whose faith is
known to God alone, we may be accounted worthy to enter
into the fullness of the joy of our Lord, and receive the crown
of life in the day of resurrection.

Silence

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look
favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred
mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry
out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world
see and know that things which were cast down are being
raised up, and things which had grown old are being made
new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

O Savior of the world, who by they cross and precious blood hast redeemed us: 

Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord. 

And now, as our Savior
Christ has taught us,
we are bold to say,

People and Celebrant

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death between your judgement and our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and forever. Amen. 

questions

This past Sunday at church I borrowed an idea from another clergy friend of mine, and instead of having a typical sermon I asked people to write down questions they had on index cards and hand them in for me to answer.

We do this at camp in the summer on occasion too. We call it “ask a priest” and we give the teenagers a chance to ask any question they want to. The same was true for the congregation on Sunday – they could ask about God, scripture, the church – anything. I always love the questions that are asked, and the conversation that results.

I enjoyed answering the questions on Sunday, and thought they were wonderful. But there were a couple that I didn’t have time to get to – in fact, I didn’t even see the questions until after the service was over. And they are really important questions. So I wanted to take a few minutes to address those questions in this blog, in hopes that whoever asked them will see this!

Here are the two questions I missed, and my attempt at answers:

I’m not even sure if I believe in God, and I’m embarrassed to admit that…what do you have to say about that?

Well first, I am SO impressed that you asked this question because I think it takes a lot of courage. Especially when you are sitting in a church surrounded by (potentially) a whole bunch of people who believe in God. So I’m really impressed with your bravery, because even though this was an anonymous question, it’s still a really hard one to ask.

Second, I have had experience after experience in my life where I have felt God’s presence or action SO CLEARLY that I can be nothing but absolutely sure that God exists. I mean – I’m a priest – so obviously I’m on board with the whole God thing.

But even despite all of that – despite that I believe that I am where I am because of God, despite that I work for God, and despite that pretty much my whole life is based on God… I’m also still a human. With a brain that loves things that are logical. So I still find myself in certain moments (usually when I’m alone in my car) wondering:

“What if this is all a sham?? What if we made up the idea of a God so we would feel better/have a scapegoat/convince people to be good/convince people to give away their money/etc, etc, etc…  WHAT IF MY WHOLE LIFE IS BASED ON SOMETHING THAT’S COMPLETELY FAKE??”

Then I just turn on the radio really loud and start singing really loud.

All of this is a long way of saying: I think it’s completely normal and perfectly ok to not be sure if you believe in God. It just means that you have a brain that you are good at using. And for what it’s worth, I think it’s a lot better to question and wonder and be skeptical about God than to jump on the bandwagon and believe in God just because that’s what everyone is telling you to do.  What good is a belief in God if it doesn’t come from your own experience and from your heart being touched or changed?

That said, just because you don’t necessarily believe in God doesn’t mean you can’t pray, or be open to the ways that God (if God exists) might work in your life. In fact, that might be a way for you to clarify what you believe – by inviting God into your life and seeing what happens.  I’d also encourage you to talk to different people and ask them about their experiences with God – I think having a broad understanding of the way God works in people’s lives will help too.

That said – if after all that you just firmly decide that you can’t jump on board with the God thing, I totally get it. And you are still more than welcome to come to this church.

 

How does God know when I need help?

When I was in college I shared an apartment with my friend Rachel (you might know Rachel, she comes to our church.)  Rachel had a cat that became a regular part of our lives in our apartment. I’d never been much of a cat person but I remember getting used to having her cat around. It was a pretty great cat.

One day the cat was walking along the coffee table and he slipped and fell off the table.  It took us both by surprise – he didn’t ever do anything like that.  We kept paying attention to his behavior and we realized that he was just acting off. Something wasn’t quite right. Rachel took him to the vet and sure enough he had an ear infection that was causing him to lose his balance. A little medication and he was back to normal.

It’s hard to know when something is wrong with our animals – especially cats (who can be kind of stand-off-ish) because they can’t exactly tell us what’s wrong.  But if we spend enough time with them, and we know them well enough, we can tell when something is wrong. Even if it’s just a subtle change in their behavior.

I like to think that’s how it works with God and us. I think that God spends so much time with us, and knows us so well, that God knows when something is wrong with us and we’re a little bit off.

Sure, it’s great if we are aware that we need help and can ask God and the other people in our life to give us a hand.  But sometimes we don’t even know that we need help ourselves – we’re so lost or stuck or upset that we can’t even see clearly. But I think that God knows us completely, and sees when we stumble – even when it’s so subtle that maybe we don’t even notice ourselves.

I think that God is helping us all the time, and sometimes we just don’t even see it. I hope you can trust that God knows when you are hurting, or in trouble, or just a little bit off.  If you realize that you need help, there’s no harm in asking for help as well. Being able to verbalize our prayers helps us sometimes to figure out what we need. But I don’t think God needs words. I think God knows us, and notices us, and sends along help before we even know we need it.

 

Thanks for asking your questions, friends. It’s an honor to hear your thoughts!