Good Friday – the Last Hour

Please take a moment, maybe to light a candle and to settle your mind

Music: Arvo Part        De Profundis Psalm 130

Poem – It was on the Friday                 

It was on the Friday
that they ended it all

Of course
they didn’t do it one by one
they weren’t brave enough
all the stones at the one time
or no stones thrown at all

          They did it in crowds….
in crowds where you can feel safe
and lose yourself
and shout things
you would never shout on your own
and do things
you would never do
if you felt the camera was watching you

It was a crowd in the church that did it
and a crowd in the civil service that did it
and a crowd in the street that did it
and a crowd on the hill that did it

And he said nothing

He took the insults
the bruises
the spit in the face
the thongs on the back
the curses in the ears
he took the sight of his friends turning away
running away 

And he said nothing

He let them do their worst
until their worst was done
as on Friday they ended it all….
and would have finished themselves
had he not cried
‘Father, forgive them….’


My Song is Love Unknown

My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I,
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh, and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed-for Christ would know:
But oh, my Friend,
My Friend indeed,
Who at my need
His life did spend.

 Gospel: Mathew 27: 29 – 44
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!  In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.  He saved others, they said, but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.  He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’  In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

Poem – Good Friday  St Melito of Sardis

                    Thou hast given thyself for redemption
Soul for soul
Body for body
And blood for blood
Man for man
And death for death

                    O strange and unspeakable mystery
The judge was judged
He who loosed the bound was bound
He who created the world was fixed with nails
He who measures heaven and earth was measured
He who gives creatures life died
He who raises the dead was buried

                    What is this new creation?
The judge is judged and silent
The invisible is seen on the cross and is not ashamed
The infinite is contained and does not complain
The impassible suffers and does not seek vengeance
The immortal dies and says nothing
The king of heaven is buried and endures it
What is this strange mystery?


Music: Arvo Part De Profundis Credo

 Scripture: Isaiah 53; 1-6:
Who has believed what we have heard?  And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.  Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

My Song is Love unknown

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!”
Is all their breath,
And for His death
They thirst and cry

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they save,
The Prince of life they slay.
Yet cheerful He
To suffering goes,
That He His foes
From thence might free.

Descent into Hell from the Lamentation at the Tomb             

Thou who art the life waist laid in a tomb, O Christ
And the hosts of angels were amazed
And glorified thy self-abasement
O life, how canst thou die?

How canst thou dwell in a tomb?
Yet thou dost destroy death’s kingdom and raise the dead from hell

The whole creation was altered by thy passion
For all things suffered with thee
Knowing, O Word, that thou holdest all in unity

To earth thou hast thou come down, O Master, to save Adam
And not finding him on earth
Thou hast descended into hell, seeking him there

Of old the lamb was sacrificed in secret
But thou, longsuffering Lord, wast sacrificed beneath the open sky
And hast cleansed the whole creation

Adam was afraid when God walked in paradise
But now he rejoices when God descends to hell
Then he fell, but now he is raised up

Music        De Profundis Arvo Part – Kyrie


Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow
which was brought upon me,
which the Lord inflicted on the day of his fierce anger.
Holy God
                    Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us. 

                    O my people, O my Church,
what have I done to you,
or in what have I offended you?
Testify against me.
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 Saviour.
Holy God
                    Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

                    I led you through the desert forty years,
and fed you with manna.
I brought you through tribulation and penitence,
and gave you my body, the bread of heaven,
but you prepared a cross for your Saviour.
Holy God
                    Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us. 

                    What more could I have done for you
that I have not done?
I planted you, my chosen and fairest vineyard,
I made you the branches of my vine;
but when I was thirsty, you gave me vinegar to drink,
and pierced with a spear the side of your Saviour.
Holy God
                    Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

                    I went before you in a pillar of cloud,
and you have led me to the judgement hall of Pilate.
I scourged your enemies and brought you
to a land of freedom,
but you have scourged, mocked and beaten me.
I gave you the water of salvation from the rock,
but you have given me gall and left me to thirst.
Holy God
                    Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

                    I gave you a royal sceptre,
and bestowed the keys of 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.
Holy God
                    Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

                    My peace I gave, which the world cannot give,
and washed your feet as a sign of my love,
but you draw the sword to strike in my name,
and seek high places in my kingdom.
I offered you my body and blood,
but you scatter and deny and abandon me.
Holy God
                    Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

                    I sent the Spirit of truth to guide you,
and you close your hearts to the Counsellor.
I pray that all may be one in the Father and me,
but you continue to quarrel and divide.
I call you to go and bring forth fruit,
but you cast lots for my clothing.
Holy God
                    Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

I came to you as the least of your brothers and sisters;
I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was a stranger and you did not welcome me,
naked and you did not clothe me,
sick and in prison and you did not visit me.
Holy God
                    Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.


Julian of Norwich                

God showed me
that we should not feel guilty
because of sin
for sin is valuable

Just as truth answers every sin
by pain
so also is happiness given to the soul
by love
just as different sins are punished
with different pains
according to their seriousness
so also will these same sins
be rewarded with different joys
in heaven
according to the amount of pain
and sorrow they have caused the soul
on earth

For we are all precious to God
and God would never have us come there
without rewarding us for our failing

Laying down of our burden: Stones   

Stones are what people wanted to throw at Jesus during his life
stones are what also surrounded him in the tomb
and through them he pushed his way
back to life on the third day

Could we, as we remember our Lord’s death
and see how he was crucified
by the action or the apathy
of people like ourselves
remember what it was for our sins he died?

Let us remember the wrong things in our lives
which burden us
threaten each other
and offend God

After we have recognised
what these things are
let us give them to God to take away
for Jesus is the one
who said, ‘give me your burdens’
and Jesus is the Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world

Music: Arvo Part, De Profundis; And one of  the Pharisees (Luke 7: 36 – 50)

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.’ Jesus spoke up and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Teacher,’ he replied, ‘speak.’ ‘A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the greater debt.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’ Then turning towards the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’

My song is Love Unknown

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death, no friendly tomb,
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say?
Heav’n was His home;
But mine the tomb
Wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King,
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend,
In whose sweet praise
I all my days
Could gladly spend.

Gospel Mathew 27: 45 – 50
From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’ At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’ Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.

Concluding prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the living God,
set your passion, cross and death
between your judgement and our souls,
now and in the hour of our death.
Grant mercy and grace to the living,
rest to the departed,
to your Church peace and concord
and to us sinners forgiveness,
and everlasting life and glory;
for, with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
you are alive and reign,
God, now and for ever.


Created by Revd. Alison Massey and colleague and shared with permission.