FAST: Good Friday: Today is a major fast of the Church; a time for self-denial and the great focal point of the Lenten season of repentance. In our readings we remember the arrest and death of Jesus at Calvary and spend time considering the sin that caused him to suffer there. Try to take some extra time today for self-examination, perhaps by missing meals and using the time saved for prayer instead. The name ‘Good Friday’ is probably a corruption of the phrase ‘God Friday’ and has been a major event in the Church’s calendar since ancient times.
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
A psalm of David.
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my plea!
Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.
Don’t put your servant on trial,
for no one is innocent before you.
My enemy has chased me.
He has knocked me to the ground
and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.
I am losing all hope;
I am paralyzed with fear.
I remember the days of old.
I ponder all your great works
and think about what you have done.
I lift my hands to you in prayer.
I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. Interlude
Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
or I will die.
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies
and destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back to Pi Hahiroth and to camp between Migdol and the Red Sea. Camp across from Baal Zephon, on the shore of the sea. The king will think, ‘The Israelites are lost, trapped by the desert.’ I will make the king stubborn again so he will chase after them, but I will defeat the king and his army. This will bring honor to me, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” The Israelites did just as they were told.
The King Chases the Israelites
When the king of Egypt was told that the Israelites had left, he and his officers changed their minds about them. They said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites leave. We have lost our slaves!” So the king prepared his war chariot and took his army with him. He took six hundred of his best chariots, together with all the other chariots of Egypt, each with an officer in it. The Lord made the king of Egypt stubborn, so he chased the Israelites, who were leaving victoriously. The Egyptians—with all the king’s horses, chariot drivers, and army—chased the Israelites. They caught up with them while they were camped by the Red Sea, near Pi Hahiroth and Baal Zephon.
When the Israelites saw the king and his army coming after them, they were very frightened and cried to the Lord for help. They said to Moses, “What have you done to us? Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the desert? There were plenty of graves for us in Egypt. We told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone; we will stay and serve the Egyptians.’ Now we will die in the desert.”
But Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Stand still and you will see the Lord save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again after today. You only need to remain calm; the Lord will fight for you.”
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pause for Reflection……
(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)
Almighty God who delivered your people from Pharaoh,
Through baptism in the Red Sea,
And delivered your Bride from Satan,
Through the Baptism of your Cross,
Let the revelation of Calvary flood our hearts,
The death of Calvary mortify our flesh,
And the power of Calvary fill our lives. Amen
Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.
May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.
May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.
Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. Amen
Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved
All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.