Dancing in the Dark

In Awe of Grace

Good Friday, Year A

How do you preach on this day? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you simply tell the story. Read the Passion story, extinguish the candles one by one, and leave the sanctuary in darkness.

The task of the liturgy on Good Friday is deceptively simple – tell the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. Whether you read the story from one Gospel interspersed with prayer and song, or structure the service around the seven last words of Jesus, or use the Service of Tenebrae from the Book of Worship, the goal is to remember and remain present to the story of our Savior’s crucifixion and death. Yet, on the day we remember how humankind crucified the One who came to save us, we also recall that God’s love for us never fails, not even on this day. Our work for this day, then, is to somehow hold in tension the darkness of crucifixion with God’s life-giving dance that never ends. Consider then, how can you lead your people into the tension between “it is finished” (John 19:30) and “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it” (John 1:5)?

Call to Worship

En el nombre de Cristo nos reunimos en este dia de Viernes Santo para revivir de nuevo la lucha en la cruz y la victoria final.

Contigo, Señor, queremos estar.

Caminemos juntos hasta la cruz, miremos el rostro ensangrentado de Jesús, escuchemos su voz pidiendo de beber y pidiendo perdón para quienes le herían sin piedad.

Oh, ¿Cómo retener las lágrimas ante tanto dolor? Y aune n aquellos momentos nos enseñaste a amar.

Cuando el dia se oscureció y las tinieblas parecieron apoderarse del mundo, creimos que todo había terminado.

Pero en medio de las tinieblas vimos tu luz.

Porque fue alli cuando el sol se oscureció y el velo del templo se rasgó, que escuchamos tub oz, “Padre, en tus mano encomiendo mi Espiritu.” Y entonces hubo paz.

En medio de las tinieblas d la vida, también llega la paz cuando confiadamente nos entregamos a ti, amado Señor nuestro.

Pues en aquella hora de tinieblas y dolor, tu luz resplandeció cuando el centurion exclamó, “Verdaderamente este hombre es el Hijo de Dios.”

Contigo, Señor, queremos estar.

In the name of Christ we gather on this day of Good Friday to remember anew the struggle of the cross and the final victory.

With you, Lord, we wish to remain.

Let us walk together to the cross, see our Lord’s suffering, hear his voice pleading for drink, and asking for pardon for those who tortured him mercilessly.

O, how to hold back the tears in the midst of so much pain? And even then, you taught us how to love.

When the day darkened and it seemed to envelop the whole earth, we thought all was lost.

But amid the darkness, we saw your light.

It was there when the sun darkened and the temple veil tore in half that we heard your voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Then there was peace.

In the midst of life’s darkness, peace also comes when, with complete confidence, we offer ourselves to you, beloved Lord.

Because in that hour of darkness and pain your light shone brightly when the centurion exclaimed, “Truly this man is the Son of God.”

With you, Lord, we wish to remain.

Written by Yolanda Pupo-Ortiz, translated by Raquel Mora Martínez in Fiesta Jubilosa (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2022), 122.

General Prayer for the Day

Merciful God, we gather to recount and recall the injustice, pain, and suffering your Son endured on the cross at the hands of sinful humanity. Grant us awareness as we enter the story of Christ’s Passion, that in not shirking away from Christ’s suffering, we would be surprised by grace, because even in humiliating and shameful death, your love never failed. Train our hearts on the Light that is the life of all people, that as the darkness encroaches, we might remain tenacious in hope and persistent in love. Amen.

Written by Dr. Lisa Hancock, Discipleship Ministries, September 2022.

Prayer of Confession

In the Name and Pain of the Crucified One

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 [violence against Black, brown, and disabled bodies merely because they do not fit into cultural norms and for food, water, and housing insecurity in impoverished neighborhoods created and exacerbated by the neglect of elected officials and community leaders.] 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 death and your seeming silence, the time after the crucifixion and before the Resurrection—in the name and pain of the Crucified One, Amen.

Adapted from Valerie Bridgeman Davis, The Africana Worship Book Year A (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2006), 231.


As you go, carry with you the tears of sorrow, the humility of questioning, and the silence of waiting as we sit at the tomb of Jesus, our Savior. May your tears, humility, and silence be blessed and bound together with hope that cannot be extinguished. Amen.

Written by Dr. Lisa Hancock, Discipleship Ministries, 2022.

In This Series...

Palm/Passion Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Maundy Thursday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Good Friday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Holy Saturday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Easter Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes


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In This Series...

Palm/Passion Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Maundy Thursday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Good Friday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Holy Saturday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Easter Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes