Good Friday/Empty Saturday Prayer

Jesus
Tonight is when you
We’re so human
You experienced
Godlessness
You hit rock bottom
You died
And knew what it was to be
Abandoned, forgotten
& unloved.

Because all of these feelings
All of these experiences
Each of these realities
Are part of being human.

Jesus, you truly
Utterly
Emptied
Yourself for us
In a Friday that
Wasn’t good!

(Yet)

And Jesus
Even without you there—
You invite us
To sit in that emptiness
All of Empty Saturday.

(How do you even do that?)

Thank you
For the emptying
And the emptiness
Jesus.

Thank you for being that human.

Amen

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

If you enjoy my work please consider supporting my D. Min In Creative Writing in public Theology from Pittsburgh Seminary: https://gofund.me/aaeb4910

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?

6. RESPONSIVE READING: THE PROMISE OF MERCY      Psalm 22:1-5a

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

7. RESPONSE:ACT OF CONFESSION    

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?

8. COMMUNION

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)

Burying Jesus, Good Friday Worship: Virtual or in Person

Supplies: Communion, Nail nailed to wood or a cross, Cross and black cloth, Aloe Hand Sanitizer, Dirt, a lit candle

If doing the worship at virtually, Send home 1 nail, 1 packet of aloe sanitizer, and 1 candle to light. Ask the congregant to be ready to bury the nail at the end of worship. Ask them to light their candle at the beginning of worship. Do the removal of nails and the covering of the cross with a black cross from your main location onscreen.

We will be symbolically burying Jesus by burying nails,

Read John 19:30-33: Remove the nails and pass one out (have each congregant pick one up from by their seat depending upon your Covid Proticols) to each congregant (symbolically you can just remove 6 nails while the nails are being passed out)

Were You There When They Crucified the Lord (v 1)

Read John 19:38: Remove the Cross, Cover it in Black cloth

Read John 19:39-40: Have each congregant use the aloe Sanitizer for their hands and their nail

Were You There When the Nailed Him to the Tree (v. 2)

Celebrate Communion (optional)

Read John 19:40-42: Have each congregant come up and drop the nails in the dirt and then bury them, or have them symbolically do it at home.

Were You There When they Laid Him in a Tomb? (v. 3)

Blow out the Candle

Please support my writing: Katy’s Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary. 

For Word versions of the Liturgy email me at Katyandtheword at gmail

From Lament to Hope Full Resources

Holy Week/Easter Prayers

Ashes: A Holy Week Prayer

Holy Week: Praying Our Way Through (Also good for Palm Sunday)

Palm Sunday: Waiting for the Stones

Maundy Thursday: Washing the Dust, Existential Crises: Love One Another?, Broken for You

At the Table: Not I, Lord

In the Garden of Gethsemane: A Socially Distanced Prayer

Good Friday: Friday is not “Good,Essential Workers at the Cross, Denial and Grace in Crises,

Holy Saturday: Pausing for Grief (Slides Version here) , Living in the In Between, Holy Saturday: A Confession (I didn’t really want more time to do nothing)

Easter: Masks a Prayer, Can You Hear Easter (the Good News), Say Nothing Easter, My God is the God of Emptiness (Empty Tombs)

Masks (are Holy): Ending with Easter

Pentecost: Stuck in a Room

Narrative Lectionary: Luke Lent Cycle Prayers and Resources

Please feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Friday isn’t Good

God, I’m raging today against good Friday. Its bad Friday, it’s mistaken Friday, its very, very human Friday.

We humans should never equate abuse and violence with good. Because too often we malign those who are different than us for “good.” Too often we consider police violence “for the greater good.” Too often we glorify those who have weapons as “good guys” and end up glorifying them for Good.

Did you have to die on the Cross God? Probably, because we humans could only see the “good” of violence. Only humans would think Emmet Till dying was worthwhile because it helped to spur the civil rights movement. *

Only humans consider martyrdom something to strive for (how did we even get there, ew!).

We are not a death cult, God, we do not want to make the long count to forty lashes, and we Christians should be the first in line to be against the death penalty, realizing that it is inhumane for us to kill one another.

We should be creating community and stopping abuse at all levels. And I must confess, sometimes we are too scared, or too nice to name and cast out evil.

God, I don’t think Friday will be Good for me, anymore.

Not after a pandemic where so many have died for the “good” of the economy.

Not after a summer where death after death of Black People resulted in a lot of noise, and little change.

Not in a culture where the first thing we experience after reopening is racist attacks and has shootings of AAPI siblings and mass shootings ing general.

Lord, no, Friday isn’t good.

But I’m glad you transformed it. I’m glad you could withstand it. I’m glad your beyond it.

And I hope that someday, violence will no longer be allowed or celebrated, or deemed as necessary for the good.

I hope the sun goes down on this Good Friday, God I hope it ends soon.

And I pray that we let the resurrection sneak up on us, that we can still hear its whispers and that we can, even in the midst of Friday, follow where it leads.

Lord hear my prayer, as I stand, living in the midst of a this terrible, horrible, no good very bad Friday time.

Amen.

*With Credit and Thanks for Rev. Lenny Duncan who challenged if Jesus or black bodies should have to die for us humans to “get it” or be “woke” or to spur us into action.

Feel free to use and adapt with writing credit to Pastor Katy Stenta and theology credit to Rev. Lenny Duncan.

Good Friday Communion Bulletin Juxtaposing the Lord’s Prayer

Journeying Alone

April 2

Good Friday

Crucifixion

Luke 23:32-47

Psalm 31:5-13

All: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed by Thy Name

Arrest

Then Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered, “You say so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for an accusation against this man.” But 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. 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 Luke 23:3-4,23,26

All: Give us this day our Daily Bread

Mourning

A 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.’ Luke 23: 27-29

Communion (Celebrate appropriate to your context)

Confession

All: Forgive Us Our Debts as we Forgive Our Debtors

(Silence for Confession)

Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When 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. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23: 32-34

Option: To Nail Sins to the Cross or Blow out candles now

Assurance of Pardon

All: Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver us from Evil

The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:36-43

Optional Taize: Jesus Remember Me, When You Come Into Your Kingdom or Were You There When They Crucified the Lord 

Darkness

All: For Thine is the Kingdom and The Glory and The Power Forever, Amen. 

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.” Luke 23:44-47

Amen

Option: To Blow Out all of the rest of the Candles 

Music is optional to add wherever, since everyone is handling it differently, suggestions below

Hymns: Take Up Your Cross the Savior Said, Precious Lord Take My Hand, Why Has God Forsaken Me, Alas And Did My Savior Bleed


Taize: Jesus Remember Me When You Come into your Kingdom, Per Crucem 

For the Complete List of Narrative Lectionary Lent Resources can be found here including a way to receive a doc copy

Essential Workers at the Cross

Who was essential at the cross?

Not Peter or John, Matthew or Mark.

Simon was essential: when Jesus could no longer carry the cross, Simon, a common laborer, with the strength to do the manual labor, the construction, the carrying of an essential item to where it needed to be. Simon was essential.

So were the two criminals who hung by the cross. Worthless and killed for being heretics, these two were essential for having the existential and theological conversation about who was saved and who wasn’t, and when was it too late to be saved.

The Centurion, and the common prison guards, were essential, they were the first to realize Jesus was the Son of God after he died. These workers in prison were essential.

Joseph of Arimathea, was essential. He gave up his own burial place, and risked his own death by the officials, boldly asking Pilate for the body, revealing what he believed and why. Then Joseph and Nicodemus polluted themselves–wrapping the dead body with their own hands, and using Nicodemus own mixed spices to move Jesus to the tomb. These men who put down politics to work with the dead were essential.

The women were essential. The women were sent, because they were thought to be harmless. Women prepared Jesus for the tomb with the wrappings and the spices to hide the bad smell. They entered the grave, where the guards watched–socially distant–to make certain no mischief was done. Women were the worthless but essential workers of the day.

Who was essential at the cross? Who did the work that needed to done? Who carried, cleaned, buried, wept, wrapped and worshipped?

Help us to pray and remember and rejoice in all of the essential workers we pray. Amen.

Pandemic Prayers

Good Friday: Denial and Grace in Crises

Before this night is over Peter, you will deny me three times,

In fact each and every one of you will deny me before the end.

Not me Lord, I would never deny you.

The absolute horror of what was going to happen could not be fathomed by the disciples. It was too a deep a hole for them to see. Death, betrayal, denial and damnation were unthinkable. After all they had faith, and they had Jesus. What else would they need?

Denial is very human. It’s how we handle some of the world, it’s one way to fend off PTSD.

What are you in denial about right now? Here, in the middle of a pandemic, what is too much for you to take in?

Remember that even the disciples had trouble processing it all. Remember that only Christ and God can hold the enormity of the tragedy that is taking place. And Jesus requested the presence of these fumbling disciples in Gethsemane to pray. And after they messed up not once, not twice, but three times, but Jesus did not send them away.

We will not be sent away, and our presence is necessary.

Give yourself the grace you need to pray, be in denial and present in whatever strange combination exists within your soul, and remember you do in good company.

More Pandemic Prayers and Resources

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

Please Share/Adapt with Credit to Katy Stenta and Please contribute to my Doctorate of Ministry with a Donation  I have PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail. My go fundme is located at gf.me/u/y8n94m

Also See my more Mundane Prayers: Prayers for Surviving Day to Day

Abundance of Caution Prayer

Lord I Hadn’t Planned to Give this much up for Lent

Flattening The Curve Prayer

Best Laid Plans Prayer

Viral Prayers: Litany for Help & of Thanksgiving

Act of God Prayer, What is an act of God

Prayers of the People

Pandemic Beatitudes: Blessings & Curses

Garden of Gethsemane Meditation

May God is the God of Emptiness

As the Rain Falls

Everything Counts/Count the Stars

Apocalypse Meditation 

Nothing will ever be the Same Again: Temples & Resurrection

Palm Sunday

Chaos & the Cross: Passion Sunday

God of Sleep

Maundy Thursday Prayer

Presence Over Perfection (& Easter)

Denial & Grace in Crises: Good Friday

Essential Workers at the Cross

Thank God it’s Friday? Psalm 22 Good Friday

I hate waiting: Holy Saturday Prayer

Virtual Communion: a Meditation/Prayer

Holy Saturday Meditation

Holy Saturday: A confessional prayer about too much time

Say Nothing Easter (Mark)

Can You Hear Easter? (The good news) Mark

Easter is the Beginning

Grief

Body of Christ: Essential workers, we need one another

Virtual Communion Resources

Preparing for Worship 1

Preparing for Worship 2 (family edition)

Love One Another: The Value of Caring

Socially Distanced God: the struggle

Stuck on Repeat

The Moment for a Psalm (Because I don’t know how things work anymore)

In this Smoosh of Time Prayer for Groundhog Day

A Prayer about Masks in the Bible

Prayer at the Mailbox

End of My Rope Prayer

I’m Tired of Being Part of a Major Historical Event: a prayer

The Lord is My Shepherd: Sheep Scale Prayer

Stealing Time: Sabbath & Rest

Imprecation:  Shatter Them

Existential Crises: https://katyandtheword.com/2020/10/21/existential-crises/(opens in a new tab)

Post-Election Prayer

Dropping you a line: A Prayer

Ducks (not) in a Row Prayer

Exponential Growth Selah!

Pieces of Joy: A Holiday Prayer

It’s Complicated: a Holiday

Tantrum Prayer

I Can’t Catch My Breath

How Do We Feel (We Don’t)

I’m So Angry

Pandemic Mourning

Back to “Normal” A Prayer

Ashes to Ashes: a Prayer 

500,000 People: Ashes

Kingdom of Heaven (Vaccination) Prayer

Prayer of the Pandemic Era (It ain’t over yet)

Pandemic Resurrection

A Prayer for Chaplain-ing an Apocalypse

No Plans, A Prayer

People Shaped Prayers

Aunty God

A Blessing for (Surviving) Today

Omicron Prayer 

Advent Prayer for the World Weary

Go Back to Go…A Yell-y Psalm

Toddling, A Prayer

Also….

Mundane Prayer to Survive the Day to Day

‪Blessed are those who stay home and wait for the resurrection not as a date on the calendar but the as the return to wholeness, health and peace in the community ‬

Please Share/Adapt with Credit to Katy Stenta and Please contribute to my Doctorate of Ministry with a Donation  I have PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail. My go fund me is located at gf.me/u/y8n94m

More About Me; My Story & My Writing

Good Friday Full Worship Liturgy, Matthew

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.

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                               MATTHEW 26:37-40

He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, And with fear and trembling stand

Ponder nothing earthly minded, For with blessing in His hand,

Christ our God to earth descended, Our full homage to demand

3. THE NAIL OF BETRAYAL                                       MATTHEW 26:48-50

Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.”  At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.  Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.”  Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.

4.. THE NAIL OF CRUELTY                                 MATTHEW 27:27-31, 39-42

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him.  They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head.  They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”  They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.  After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, And with fear and trembling stand

Ponder nothing earthly minded, For with blessing in His hand,

Christ our God to earth descended, Our full homage to demand

5. RESPONSIVE READING: THE PROMISE OF MERCY      Psalm 22:1-5a

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.

6.   THE NAIL OF HATRED                                        Matthew 27: 41-44 

In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, “I am God’s Son.” ’The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.

Lift up your hearts

We lift them up to the Lord

7. RESPONSE: ACT OF CONFESSION                                          

     You are invited to nail your sins to the cross

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

King of kings, yet born of Mary, As of old on earth He stood, Lord of lords in human vesture, In the body and the blood. He will give to all the faithful, His own self for heavenly food. 

8. COMMUNION

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

It is right to give our thanks and praise…Jesus our teacher, our brother, our friend knowing he was going to be betrayed and die, he took the bread and broke it and said, this is my body broken for you Then Jesus took the cup and said: “I am poured out like water, and my bones are out of joint” And even though Jesus knew that he would feel alone, he knew he would call out “My God, my God, Elohim, Elohim why have you forsaken me?” He poured himself out, sacrificing his very self for our sins. Every time we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the death of Jesus until he comes again.

9.  DARK MATTHEW 27:48-51

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land* until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.* At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 

(Silent Meditation & Extinguishing of Candles)

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

Lady Jabberwocky

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