Back to Book of Worship >>

This service may be used either at noon or in the evening of Good Friday. It is preferable that there are no paraments, banners, flowers, or decorations on Good Friday except, perhaps, representations of the way of the cross. The Lord's table, pulpit, and other furnishings should be bare of cloth, candles, or anything else not actually used in the service. The cross remains visible, but it and any permanently fixed images may be veiled. By partly concealing the cross, the veil also calls attention to it. The color scarlet is suggested for a veil over the cross.



Appropriate music may be offered while the people gather, but silence is preferable. The pastor, choir, and other leaders of worship enter in silence.


Christ himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.

That we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

Let us pray.

The following or Good Friday (UMH 284) is said:

Almighty God,
your Son Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross
so that he might draw the whole world to himself.
Grant that we, who glory in this death for our salvation,
may also glory in his call to take up our cross and follow him;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[HYMN *] Suggested from UMH:


Christ's Gracious Life: Passion and Death

626 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence


Because Thou Hast Said

425 O Crucified Redeemer


Canticle of Christ's Obedience

633 The Bread Life for All Is Broken


SCRIPTURE LESSON Isaiah 52:13 –53:12


PSALM 22 (UMH 752)

[SCRIPTURE LESSON]Hebrews 10:16 –25



The Good Friday narrative may be proclaimed in one of several ways:

1) The longer or shorter version of the passion story may be read dramatically as suggested for Passion/Palm Sunday, or a single reader may be preferred. The version used in the Service of Tenebrae (UMBOW 355 ff.)is recommended because it more accurately translates the Greek text and thereby avoids blaming all Jewish people for the suffering and death of Jesus, as some translations may imply.

2) A choral setting of the passion narrative may be sung by the choir.

3) Hymns may be interspersed at appropriate intervals within the reading of John's passion narrative, as on Passion/Palm Sunday or in the Service of Tenebrae.


Ordinarily the Proclamation of the Passion Story takes the place of a sermon, but situations may arise that call for preaching a sermon.




HYMN See suggestions.

If desired, a plain wooden cross may now be brought into the church and placed in the sight of the people.


During Silent Meditation and The Reproaches, persons may be invited to come forward informally to kneel briefly before the cross or touch it.


Any or all of the following reproaches may be spoken, with the congregation responding as indicated below or singing after each stanza, Jesus, Remember Me ( UMH 488) or Remember Me ( UMH 491). A time of silence may be kept after each stanza.

1) O my people, O my Church,
what have I done to you, or in what have I offended you?
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 Savior.

Holy God,
holy and mighty,
holy and immortal One,
have mercy upon us.

(See UMBOW Hymn 215 for a musical setting of this ancient prayer).

2) I led you through the desert forty years and fed you with manna;
I brought you through times of persecution and of renewal
and gave you my body, the bread of heaven;
but you have prepared a cross for your Savior. R

3) I made you branches of my vineyard
and gave you the water of salvation,
but when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar and gall
and pierced with a spear the side of your Savior. R

4) I went before you in a pillar of cloud,
but you have led me to the judgment hall of Pilate.
I brought you to a land of freedom and prosperity,
but you have scourged, mocked, and beaten me. R

5) I gave you a royal scepter, 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 hanged me on the cross. R

6) My peace I gave, which the world cannot give,
and washed your feet as a servant,
but you draw the sword to strike in my name
and seek high places in my kingdom. R

7) I accepted the cup of suffering and death for your sakes,
but you scatter and deny and abandon me.
I sent the Spirit of truth to lead you,
but you close your hearts to guidance. R

8) I called you to go and bring forth fruit,
but you cast lots for my clothing.
I prayed that you all may be one,
but you continue to quarrel and divide. R

9) I grafted you into the tree of my chosen people Israel,
but 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. R

10) I came to you as the least of your brothers and sisters.
I was hungry but you gave me no food,
thirsty but you gave me no drink.
I was a stranger but you did not welcome me,
naked but you did not clothe me,
sick and in prison but you did not visit me. R

A brief silence follows.


The final hymn and Dismissal may be omitted to signify that we are waiting for the coming resurrection and to show the essential unity among the services of the Great Three Days.

[HYMN *] See suggestions.


May Jesus Christ,
who for our sake became obedient unto death, even death on a cross,
keep you and strengthen you, now and for ever. Amen.


All depart in silence, except those beginning a prayer vigil



The Seven Last Words

Services based on the seven last words (phrases) of Jesus from the cross are traditionally developed from harmonies of the Gospel passion narratives. Also known as the Devotion of the Three Hours (from noon on Friday to 3:00 P.M., to remember Christ's hours on the cross), it was first conducted by a Jesuit priest in Peru in the eighteenth century as a service of scripture readings with prayers and hymns interspersed. Over the years it has become popular in Protestant circles in England and North America. The common order of the readings is presented here. Visuals, music, drama, or liturgical dance may be employed imaginatively.

1) Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them.
2) Luke 23:43 Today you will be with me in paradise.
3) John 19:26 –27 Woman, here is your son.
4) Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46 My God, why have you forsaken me?
5) John 19:28 I am thirsty.
6) John 19:30a It is finished.
7) Luke 23:46 Into your hands I commend my spirit.

The Way of the Cross

The Way (or Stations) of the Cross has been a common way of participating in the passion (suffering) of Christ as a part of Good Friday services. The service may be conducted in the church or outdoors with stops (stations) at various locations. Stopping at each station reminds the participant of different moments of Christ's passion journey and encourages reflection and contemplation. Visuals, music, drama, or liturgical dance may be employed imaginatively. A prayer, with kneeling, and hymn may follow each reading. Its inspiration came from the desire to imitate the journeys of early Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, especially to the places of Christ's redemptive suffering. The version offered here differs from traditional ones in that it includes only stations with a biblical basis.

Station of the Cross



1) Jesus prays alone.

Luke 22:39 –44

Take this cup from me.

2) Jesus is arrested.

Matthew 26:47 –56

Have you come with swords?

3) Sanhedrin tries Jesus.

Mark 14:61 –64

Are you the Christ?

4) Pilate tries Jesus.

John 18:33 –37

Are you King of the Jews?

5) Pilate sentences Jesus.

Mark 15:6 –15

Crucify him.

6) Jesus wears crown.

John 19:5

Here is the man.

7) Jesus carries his cross.

John 10:17 –18

I lay it down of my own.

8) Simon carries cross.

Luke 23:26

Simon the Cyrene

9) Jesus speaks to the women.

Luke 23:27 –31

Weep for yourselves.

10) Jesus is crucified.

Luke 23:33 –34

Jesus on the cross

11) Criminals speak to Jesus.

Luke 23:39 –43

Today you will be with me.

12) Jesus speaks to Mary, John.

John 19:25 b –27

Woman, this is your son.

13) Jesus dies on the cross.

John 19:28–34

It is accomplished.

14) Jesus is laid in tomb.

John 19:38–42

There they laid Jesus.

Holy Saturday

Merciful and everliving God, Creator of heaven and earth,
the crucified body of your Son was laid in the tomb
and rested on this holy day.
Grant that we may await with him the dawning of the third day
and rise in newness of life, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Download Word Document

Copyright: “A Service for Good Friday” and “Acts of Worship for Good Friday,” including Dismissal by Don Saliers, Copyright © 1979, 1986 by Abingdon Press; Copyright © 1992 UMPH. Prayer for Holy Saturday alt. from The Book of Common Prayer (The Episcopal Church, 1979), p. 283, Public Domain. Note: Recommendation to use the version of John’s Passion offered in the UMBOW Tenebrae service added 2013 by Discipleship Ministries in compliance with the Resolution “Building New Bridges in Hope” (1996 Book of Resolutions, p. 195).