How Shall We Observe Good Friday?
In addition to the worship practices of singing hymns, reading Scripture, and saying prayers, consider the following:
- Drape or wrap all pictures, statues, and the cross in mourning black. The Book of Worship recommends somber shades of purple or gray.
- Replace the chancel and altar paraments with black.
- Extinguish the altar candles.
- Hold a prayer vigil from the conclusion of the Maundy Thursday service until Easter sunrise.
- Remove shiny objects from the sanctuary.
- Omit flowers.
- Replace your church's regular table cross with a large, rough cross made from the trunk of a real tree.
- Holy Week symbols include visuals: perfume, coins, a whip, a crown of thorns, a torn garment, nails, a spear, a sponge, a broken reed. These may be removed for Good Friday.
- Use a Tenebrae service, a twelfth century meditative service on the passion of Christ that makes use of diminishing light and the gradual extinguishing of candles. (See The Book of Worship, 354, and the Discipleship Ministries' Worship Website for examples.)
- Read the entire Passion story (John 18:1-19:42). This may replace the sermon.
- Use the historic "Reproaches: Christ's Lament Against His Faithless Church" (see The Book of Worship, 363)
- Use "The Seven Last Words" (Book of Worship, 365)
- Use "The Way (or Stations) of the Cross" (Book of Worship, 366)
See The United Methodist Book of Worship for additional suggestions.