Good Friday Tenebrae based on John

(take a nail, and gather in silence, feel free to hold the nail throughout confession; we will be nailing our sins to the cross)

Call to Worship  

L  The Lord be with you.

P  And also with you

1. PRAYER                                          MATTHEW 26:36

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

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.

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

2. HE NAIL OF STUMBLING                              John 18:5-7

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

Were you there when they crucified the Lord (x2)

oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble,

Were you there when they crucified the Lord?

3.THE NAIL OF BETRAYAL                               John 18:2-3

Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him.

4. THE NAIL OF DENIAL  John 18: 12, 17-18,25-27

 Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, ‘You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?’ He said, ‘I am not.’  Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, ‘You are not also one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’ One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with him?’ Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

5. THE NAIL OF CRUELTY                                 John 19: 16-17, 

Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree (x2)

oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble,

Were you there when they nailed him the the tree?


We know what it is like to cry out, as the psalmist did 

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

   Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;

   and by night, but find no rest.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and were saved.

Lift up your hearts

We lift them up to the Lord


Lift up your hearts

We lift our hearts to the Lord                                     

     You are invited to have your sins nailed to the cross

(In our congregation all nails are handed to the pastor and in silence they are nailed to the cross)

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

Were you there when they laid him in the Tomb (x2)

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble

Were you there when they laid him in the Tomb?


Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

It is right to give our thanks and praise…(God we thank you that even tonight you can send your Holy Spirit on these elements, that we can remember that on the night that Jesus was betrayed, just before he has crucified. He took bread, he gave thanks and he broke it and he shared it among all who were there saying this is my body broken for me do this in remembrance of me. When they were finished fellowshipping with one another in the same way he took the cup and as he poured he said, this is the cup of the New Covenant spilled for you. Whenever you eat this bread and you drink this cup you proclaim my death until I come again. Come let us proclaim the death of Jesus Christ, together we pray. Amen)

9.  DARK John 18:28-30

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

(Easter Sunday the Cross Returns Nail Free)

Author: katyandtheword

Pastor Katy has enjoyed ministry at New Covenant since 2010, where the church has solidified its community focus. Prior to that she studied both Theology and Christian Formation at Princeton Theological Seminary. She also served as an Assistant Chaplain at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital and as the Christian Educational Coordinator at Bethany Presbyterian at Bloomfield, NJ. She is an writer and is published in Enfleshed, Sermonsuite, Presbyterian's today and Outlook. She writes prayers, liturgy, poems and public theology and is pursuing her doctorate in ministry in Creative Write and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She enjoys working within and connecting to the community, is known to laugh a lot during service, and tells as many stories as possible. Pastor Katy loves reading Science Fiction and Fantasy, theater, arts and crafts, music, playing with children and sunshine, and continues to try to be as (w)holistically Christian as possible. "Publisher after publisher turned down A Wrinkle in Time," L'Engle wrote, "because it deals overtly with the problem of evil, and it was too difficult for children, and was it a children's or an adult's book, anyhow?" The next year it won the prestigious John Newbery Medal. Tolkien states in the foreword to The Lord of the Rings that he disliked allegories and that the story was not one.[66] Instead he preferred what he termed "applicability", the freedom of the reader to interpret the work in the light of his or her own life and times.

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