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What Is Truth? A 21st Century Africana Resource for Good Friday, Year A

by The Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman Davis

Prayer:
Faithful God, we stand in the dim shadows of a cross, longing for Resurrection. But today we pause to remember the pain of the cross and the pain of the crosses we've faced. We pause to cry for the Sudan, for Rwanda, for more than one-third of the African continent suffering from full-blown AIDS. As the disciples wept on that fateful day so long ago, we weep for the savior and for the tree — and all the trees that one represented — from which he hung. We cry for our ecology: birds slick from oil, forests decimated causing mudslides and runoff, air polluted from our disdain for the creation that cries with us. As those first disciples wondered whether that fateful day was the end of their dreams, we admit we are afraid that our dream of a just, nonviolent world is fleeting and in peril of death. Help us, God, as we live in the tension between this death and your seeming silence, the time after the crucifixion and before the Resurrection. In the name and pain of the Crucified One, Amen.

Litany (based on John 18:1-19:42)

One Voice: When Jesus finished praying in the garden, he went to meet his future — a certain death, a certain betrayal.

Many Voices: All around Jesus, people ask: "What is truth?"

One Voice: He was met by soldiers and false accusers.

Many Voices: All around Jesus, people ask: "What is truth?"

One Voice: Judas kissed away the meals and the miles they had shared together.
Many Voices: All around Jesus, people ask: "What is truth?"

One Voice: Peter tried to protect him from an inevitable and foretold end.

Many Voices: All around Jesus, people ask: "What is truth?"

One Voice: When he couldn't protect him, Peter's fear led him to deny him.

Many Voices: All around Jesus, people ask: "What is truth?"

One Voice: From hall to hall and heart to heart, they led him in the dark of night to broken justice and false witnesses.

Many Voices: All around Jesus, people ask: "What is truth?"

One Voice: Pilate questioned his statement: "I came to testify to the truth. I came to be on the side of truth."

Many Voices: All around Jesus, people ask: "What is truth?"

One Voice: What was Pilate to do since he saw the truth with his eyes, but did not have courage to free it?

Many Voices: All around Jesus, people ask: "What is truth?"

One Voice: "Crucify him" still rings across time, because truth unrecognized always goes punished.

Many Voices: And still we're asking, "What is truth?"


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Valerie Bridgeman Davis, Ph.D., Biblical Studies (Hebrew Bible), teaches preaching and worship at Memphis Theological Seminary. Dr. Bridgeman Davis is a consultant for the 21st Century Africana Worship Resource Project.

"21st Century Africana Worship Resources for Good Friday" Copyright © 2005 The Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman Davis. Used with permission.

Categories: 21st Century Africana, 21st Century Liturgy, Lent - Easter - Holy Week, Holy Week