Good Friday 7 April 2023

Order of Service

Below you will find the Order of Service, prayers, hymns and sermon for today’s service.   You can either simply read this or you can
 

to listen to the service and sing along with the hymns.  This will open up a new screen, at the bottom of the screen you will see a play symbol.  Press that, then come back to this window so you can follow along with the service.

Easter Worship from the United Reformed Church
for Good Friday 7 April

 
Today’s service is led by the Revd Andy Braunston. 

 
Call to Worship
 

Opening Music
What Wondrous Love
Unknown, 1811, Public Domain,  Recorded by the Texas Sacred Harp Singers,  January 2012 at the Revision Southwest Theological Seminary in Fort Worth
 
What wondrous love is this?
Oh, my soul, oh my soul!
What wondrous love is this?
Oh, my soul!
What wondrous love is this
that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse
for my soul, for my soul?
To bear the dreadful curse
for my soul?
 
When I was sinking down,
sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down,
sinking down.
When I was sinking down
beneath God’s righteous frown
Christ laid aside His crown
for my soul, for my soul.
Christ laid aside His crown
for my soul.
 
To God and to the Lamb,
I will sing; I will sing;
to God and to the Lamb,
I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb,
who is the great I Am,
while millions join the theme,
I will sing, I will sing.
While millions join the theme,
I will sing,
 
And when from death I’m free 
I’ll sing on; I’ll sing on;
and when from death I’m free 
I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing and joyful be,
throughout eternity
I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on.
throughout eternity
I’ll sing on.

 

Introduction
 
Hello and welcome to worship.  My name is Andy Braunston and I the United Reformed Church’s Minister for Digital Worship.   Good Friday is the saddest day in the Church’s year.   Our service today is simple and reflective; through the power of image and silence, sermon and music we mark Jesus’ death and ponder some of what that death might mean. Today we stand at the Cross to try to understand the enormity of it all.   We have many theologies and explanations of the Cross but today realise that, in the face of the God who died, they are all partial.  And so we come to worship.  
 
Our help is in the name of the Lord, 
who is making heaven and earth.
 
Our first reading is from the book of Isaiah.
 
Reading:  Isaiah 52: 12 – 53: 12
 
See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.  Just as there were many who were astonished at him —so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals— so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.
 
Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
 
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
 
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.  Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
 
Hymn    When I survey
Isaac Watts 1674 – 1748
 
When I survey the wond’rous Cross
on which the Prince of Glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
 
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ my God:
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
 
See from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet?
Or thorns compose so rich a Crown?
 
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.
 
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to St John 
(from The Jerusalem Bible)
 
Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron valley where there was a garden into which he went with his disciples. Judas the traitor knew the place also, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, so Judas brought the cohort to this place together with guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. Knowing everything that was to happen to him, Jesus came forward and said, ‘Who are you looking for?’  They answered, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’ He said, ‘I am he.’ Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he,’ they moved back and fell on the ground. He asked them a second time, ‘Who are you looking for?’ They said, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’  Jesus replied, ‘I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go.’  This was to fulfil the words he had spoken, ‘Not one of those you gave me have I lost.’  
 
Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.  Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?’  The cohort and its tribune and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him. 
 
They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.  It was Caiaphas who had counselled the Jews, ‘It is better for one man to die for the people.’  Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest’s palace, but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the door-keeper and brought Peter in.  
 
The girl on duty at the door said to Peter, ‘Aren’t you another of that man’s disciples?’ He answered, ‘I am not.’  Now it was cold, and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves; so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others. The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.  Jesus answered, ‘I have spoken openly for all the world to hear; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews meet together; I have said nothing in secret.  Why ask me? Ask my hearers what I taught; they know what I said.’  At these words, one of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying, ‘Is that the way you answer the high priest?’  Jesus replied, ‘If there is some offence in what I said, point it out; but if not, why do you strike me?’  Then Annas sent him, bound, to Caiaphas the high priest. 
 
As Simon Peter stood there warming himself, someone said to him, ‘Aren’t you another of his disciples?’ He denied it saying, ‘I am not.’  One of the high priest’s servants, a relation of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, ‘Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?’  Again Peter denied it; and at once a cock crowed.  They then led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was now morning. They did not go into the Praetorium themselves to avoid becoming defiled and unable to eat the Passover.  So Pilate came outside to them and said, ‘What charge do you bring against this man?’ They replied,  ‘If he were not a criminal, we should not have handed him over to you.’  Pilate said, ‘Take him yourselves, and try him by your own Law.’ The Jews answered, ‘We are not allowed to put anyone to death.’  This was to fulfil the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way he was going to die.  So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him and asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’  Jesus replied, ‘Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others said it to you about me?’  Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?’  Jesus replied, ‘Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. As it is, my kingdom does not belong here.’  Pilate said, ‘So, then you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is you who say that I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.’  ‘Truth?’ said Pilate. ‘What is that?’ 
 
And so saying he went out again to the Jews and said, ‘I find no case against him.  But according to a custom of yours I should release one prisoner at the Passover; would you like me, then, to release for you the king of the Jews?’  At this they shouted, ‘Not this man,’ they said, ‘but Barabbas.’ Barabbas was a bandit.”
 
“Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged; and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head and dressed him in a purple robe.  They kept coming up to him and saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ and slapping him in the face. Pilate came outside again and said to them, ‘Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case against him.’ 
 
Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, ‘Here is the man.’  When they saw him, the chief priests and the guards shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him: I find no case against him.’ The people replied, ‘We have a Law, and according to that Law he ought to be put to death, because he has claimed to be Son of God.’  When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased.  Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus, ‘Where do you come from?’ But Jesus made no answer.  Pilate then said to him, ‘Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?’ Jesus replied, ‘You would have no power over me at all if it had not been given you from above; that is why the man who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.’  From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the people shouted, ‘If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.’ 
 
Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated him on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha.  It was the Day of Preparation, about the sixth hour. ‘Here is your king,’ said Pilate to the Jews.  But they shouted, ‘Away with him, away with him, crucify him.’ Pilate said, ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king except Caesar.’  So at that Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. 
 
They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out to the Place of the Skull or, as it is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side, Jesus being in the middle.  Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews’. 
 
This notice was read by many of the people, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek.  So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate, ‘You should not write “King of the Jews”, but that the man said, “I am King of the Jews”. ‘ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written.’ 
 
When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another, ‘Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.’ In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled: They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothes. That is what the soldiers did. 
 
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’  Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. 
 
After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the scripture should be completely fulfilled, he said: I am thirsty.  A jar full of sour wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop stick, they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the wine he said, ‘It is fulfilled’; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.  
 
It was the Day of Preparation, and to avoid the bodies’ remaining on the cross during the Sabbath — since that Sabbath was a day of special solemnity — the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away.  Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other.  When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it — true evidence, and he knows that what he says is true — and he gives it so that you may believe as well.  Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture: Not one bone of his will be broken;  and again, in another place scripture says: They will look to the one whom they have pierced. 
 
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus – though a secret one because he was afraid of the people – asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away.  Nicodemus came as well – the same one who had first come to Jesus at night-time – and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.  They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried.  Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
 
Hymn    My Song is Love Unknown
Samuel Crossman 1664  Courtesy of St Andrew’s Cathedral & Choir,  Sydney, Australia
 
My song is love unknown,
my Saviour’s love to me;
love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
my Lord should take
frail flesh and die?
 
He came from his blest throne
salvation to bestow;
but folk made strange, and none
the longed-for Christ would know.
But O, my Friend, my Friend indeed,
who at my need his life did spend!
 
Sometimes they strew His way,
and His sweet praises sing;
resounding all the day
hosannas to their King.
Then ‘Crucify!’ is all their breath,
and for His death 
they thirst and cry.
 
They rise, and needs will have
my dear Lord made away;
a murderer they save,
the Prince of Life they slay.
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
that He His foes
from thence might free.
 
In life no house, no home
my Lord on earth might have;
in death no friendly tomb
but what a stranger gave.
What may I say?
Heav’n was his home;
but mine the tomb wherein he lay.
 
Here might I stay and sing:
no story so divine;
never was love, dear King,
never was grief like Thine!
This is my Friend,
in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

 

Sermon
 
Around the world Christians of many different types gather to remember the death of Jesus.  We listen again to John’s account of the passion often, like today, set in dramatic form for three voices, and imagine ourselves watching, wondering how we’d have reacted.  In our age these services are moving but we often forget some of their antecedents.
 
In Medieval Europe Good Friday was not a good day to be Jewish.   Relationships between Jews and Christians were often fraught in Europe with Jews being limited to certain professions, having to live in ghettoes and made to wear distinctive clothing. On Good Friday, however, the liturgy whipped up antisemitic feeling and crowds would stream out of Church ready to beat, and sometimes murder, Jewish folk in revenge for Jesus’ death.  It makes little sense to us now; we hear John’s Gospel and understand his words were written in an early battle for legitimacy between Synagogue and Church but aren’t intended to imply guilt on Jews forever more.  We listen, later in the service, to the Reproaches but understand the reproaches to be said to God’s people – to us as much as to anyone else.  Yet antisemitism is still with us and for millennia was fed by the Church which chose to forget Jesus’ own Jewishness.  
 
In 1938 the Jewish artist Marc Chagall produced his painting White Crucifixion.  He was living in Paris at the time and created this art in response to the Nazi state-sponsored destruction of Jewish businesses often called Kristallnacht (from the sound of the glass of shop windows shattering.)  Synagogues were burned, businesses destroyed, Jewish people beaten and made to clear up the mess the Nazi criminals had caused.  
 
Chagall’s works are normally filled with colour, White Crucifixion is devoid of colour.  Jesus is represented on the Cross but, if you look carefully it’s a very Jewish Jesus.  Gone is the traditional loincloth to be replaced by a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl.  Gone is the Crown of Thorns, to be replaced by a headcloth.  The mourning angels, often represented in Christian depictions of the Crucifixion, are replaced by three figures – Biblical patriarchs and a matriarch.  A menorah stands at the foot of the Cross; a figure in green, who is often seen in Chagall’s work, might be a representation of Elijah.
 
The most noticeable thing about the painting, however, is that Jesus is at the centre of an anti-Jewish pogrom.  Jesus is another Jewish martyr and around him are scenes of oppression and horror.  On the left of the Cross is a village is pillaged and burned, refugees forced to flee by boat.  Three figures on the bottom left – one who clutches the sacred Torah scrolls – flee on foot.  On the right, a Synagogue and Torah Scrolls are destroyed by fire while below a mother comforts her child.
 
So what was Chagall’s point?  He was raised as an Orthodox Jew and would have known some Christian theology from his upbringing in Europe.  He wasn’t painting the picture for a commission but, instead, located the crucifixion in the contemporary events of Europe in the late 1930s.  By linking Jewish suffering and Jesus’ crucifixion, by juxtaposing Nazis with Christ’s tormentors Chagall makes a powerful point about the moral implications of their actions.  Neatly turning the table on the Christians of the Middle Ages who saw Jews as Christ killers, Chagall shows that Christ killers kill other Jews too. 
 
The Cross which we focus on today is a mystery.  A cruel instrument of torture and repression, a means of an agonisingly slow death, yet a symbol of compassion and sacrificial love.  Many churches display a crucifix to remind us of our crucified God; many others display an empty cross to symbolise the Christ who rose victorious over sin and death.  Both these things are needed – a memory of Christ crucified and a saving faith in the power of the Cross to defeat the powers of evil and injustice which seek to rule this world.  
 
On the Cross the powers of sin, death, and the Devil were defeated by the paradox of Jesus’ victorious death.  The powers of evil drove Jesus to the Cross.  The Empire, in the weak person of Pilate, wanted him gone, a difficult morning’s work no doubt forgotten over a nice lunch.  The religious establishment found Jesus unsettling – he challenged their authority, he risked the wrath of Rome if the people followed him into revolt or if the authorities got wind of his teaching.  Herod, the puppet ruler had already murdered Jesus’ cousin.  Jealousy, perhaps, got into Judas; Peter almost succumbed to murderous rage.  All the poisonous powers of politics swirled around Jesus ending in his inevitable death.  
 
The Cross is the central point in the war between good and evil.  It’s the turning point of history where Jesus’ death is the turning point in the battle of the ages between good and evil.  On the Cross, Jesus overthrew all the ideas of shame and division in religion. God’s Eternal Majesty vindicated Jesus by raising him from the dead and so overthrowing all the powers of sin, death, and shame that had enslaved humanity.  Jesus entered human misery and took it upon himself.  Jesus identified with all who are oppressed, tortured, and condemned but, on the Cross overthrew all that drags humanity down.
 
Perhaps Chagall got this.  Perhaps Chagall saw this overthrow of evil in the Cross even as he situated It in the horror of murderous pogrom.  The irony, of course, is that on the day when Christians were to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice to free us – we often turned the memory into an excuse to perpetuate the murderous nature of the powers of evil.  As we are called to respond to Jesus’ sacrificial love and turn towards good we are always pulled back to evil.  
 
The Cross is a paradox; an instrument of torture yet a symbol of evil’s ultimate defeat.  A sacrifice of unimaginable love yet a symbol of fear for many.   A Jew crucified by gentiles yet through that victorious death sets aside all that divides, all that shames, all that holds us back.  A trap that sets us free.
 
Hymn    This is Your Coronation
Sylvia Dunstan 1955 – 1993 GIA Publications Ltd sung by members of Barrhead URC.
 
This is your coronation – 
thorns press upon your head;
no bright angelic heralds,
but angry crowds instead;
beneath your throne of timber,
and struggling with the load,,
you go in cruel procession
on sorrow’s royal road.
 
Eternal judge on trial,
God’s law, by law denied;
love’s justice is rejected
and truth is falsified.
We who have charged, condemned you
are sentenced by your love;
your blood pronounces pardon
as you are stretched above.

 

High priest you are anointed
with blood upon your face,
and in this hour appointed
the offering for our race.
For weakness interceding;
for sin, you are the price;
for us your prayer unceasing,
O living sacrifice.
 
The Reproaches  
please join in with the responses in bold
 
The Reproaches are a liturgical text from the 9th Century used on Good Friday, or in Eastern Churches on Holy Saturday.  The version we use today have been adapted for use in the Presbyterian Church of the USA.
 
O my people, O my Church, what have I done to you, or in what have I offended you? Answer me.
 
I led you forth from the land of Egypt and delivered you by the waters of baptism, but you have prepared a cross for your Saviour.

Holy God, holy and mighty, Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.
 
I led you through the desert forty years, and fed you with manna: I brought you through tribulation and penitence, and gave you my body, the bread of heaven, but you have prepared a cross for your Saviour.
 
Holy God, holy and mighty, Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.
 
What more could I have done for you that I have not done? I planted you, my chosen and fairest vineyard, I made you the branches of my vine; but when I was thirsty, you gave me vinegar to drink and pierced with a spear the side of your Saviour, and you have prepared a cross for your Saviour.
 
Holy God, holy and mighty, Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.
 
I went before you in a pillar of cloud, and you have led me to the judgment hall of Pilate. I scourged your enemies and brought you to a land of freedom, but you have scourged, mocked, and beaten me. I gave you the water of salvation from the rock, but you have given me gall and left me to thirst, and you have prepared a cross for your Saviour.
 
Holy God, holy and mighty, Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.
 
I gave you a royal sceptre, and bestowed the keys to the kingdom, but you have given me a crown of thorns. I raised you on high with great power, but you have prepared a cross for your Saviour.
 
Holy God, holy and mighty, Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.
 
My peace I gave, which the world cannot give, and washed your feet as a sign of my love, but you draw the sword to strike in my name and seek high places in my kingdom. I offered you my body and blood, but you scatter and deny and abandon me, and you have prepared a cross for your Saviour.
 
Holy God, holy and mighty, Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.
 
I sent the Spirit of truth to guide you, and you close your hearts to the Counsellor. I pray that all may be one in the Father and me, but you continue to quarrel and divide. I call you to go and bring forth fruit, but you cast lots for my clothing, and you have prepared a cross for your Saviour.
 
Holy God, holy and mighty, Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.
 
I grafted you into the tree of my chosen Israel, and you turned on them with persecution and mass murder. I made you joint heirs with them of my covenants but you made them scapegoats for your own guilt, and you have prepared a cross for your Saviour.
 
Holy God, holy and mighty, Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.
 
I came to you as the least of your brothers and sisters; I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me, and you have prepared a cross for your Saviour.
 
O my people, O my Church, what have I done to you, or in what have I offended you? Answer me.
 
Intercessions
 
We bring our prayers to the Eternal One, Everlasting Majesty, Crucified Word and Abiding Spirit.  
 
Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of God’s most holy Name and in faithfulness to God’s everlasting covenant. 

(silence)

Almighty and eternal God, 
long ago you gave your promise to Abraham, Sarah, and their posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray 
that the people you first made your own
may arrive at the fullness of redemption. Amen
 
Let us pray for the Church throughout the world,
that God will grant us peace,
and, as we stand before the Cross, we may work for unity.
As we remember the torture and death of Jesus,
we remember all who suffer persecution and oppression.

(silence)
 
Almighty and Eternal God,
You pour out Your Spirit on the Church,
and call all people to find their fulfilment within it.
Listen to us as we remember the love that drove Jesus to the Cross,
help us to work to end oppression in our world,
especially hatred fuelled by religious fervour.
We pray for the Church, that it might, 
through sensitive evangelism, nurturing worship, 
loving service and credible witness,
be a sign of your coming kingdom.  Amen.
 
Let us pray for those who don’t believe in God,
that by searching for truth and beauty,
for justice and freedom,
they find God at work in their lives.

(silence) 

Almighty and Eternal God,
we confess our failures 
in bearing true loving witness to You; forgive us.
We ask that those who seek You, will find You,
that Your loving kindness will seek out those who yearn for You,
and that we may not be stumbling blocks to belief.  Amen.
Let us pray for all who serve in public office,
that God may inspire them to offer loving service, 
and concern for the common good.

(silence) 

Almighty and Eternal God,
as this day we remember the weakness of Pilate,
we pray for all who hold elected or appointed office in our world,
that they may always seek the common good,
strive for right, administer true justice,
and lift up the poor.
We pray, in particular for the leaders of our nations,
that they may work for sustainable prosperity,
better health, peaceful policies and true freedom. Amen.
 
Let us pray for those in need this day,
those known to us and those known only to God,
that our hearts may be stirred by compassion,
and we may seek to change the world.

(silence)

Almighty and Eternal God,
we pray today for those in agony,
mothers watching their children die,
the earth itself pillaged and polluted yearning to be clean,
those who die this day and those who mourn them,
those who language in prison this day 
and those who work to rehabilitate them,
those on our hearts this day.
 
Give us the grace, Eternal One, to both love this world,
and to seek to change it.  Amen.
 
We join our prayers together as we pray as our Crucified God taught us…
Our Father…

Hymn:   Praise to the Holiest in the Height
J H Newman 1801 – 1890 BBC Songs of Praise recorded at Warwick Road URC, Coventry
 

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
and in the depth be praise:
in all His words most wonderful;
most sure in all His ways.
 
O loving wisdom of our God,
when all was sin and shame,
a second Adam, to the fight
and to the rescue came.
 
O wisest love! that flesh & blood,
which did in Adam fail,
should strive afresh against the foe,
should strive and should prevail;
 
And that a higher gift than grace
should flesh and blood refine,
God’s presence and his very self,
and essence all-divine.
 
And in the garden secretly,
and on the Cross on high,
should teach his sibblings, 
and inspire to suffer and to die.
 
Praise to the Holiest in the height,
and in the depth be praise:
in all His words most wonderful;  
most sure in all His ways.
  
This material is only for use in local churches not for posting to websites or any other use.  Local churches must have copyright licences to allow the printing and projection of words for hymns.

 

Where words are copyright reproduced under the terms of Barrhead URC’s CCLI licence number 1064776,
Some material reprinted, and streamed, with permission under ONE LICENSE A-734713 All rights reserved.
PRS Limited Online Music Licence LE-0019762

 

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