The Service for Good Friday leads us through the last hours of our Lord Jesus’ life on the day we commemorate his holy death. Beginning with Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering servant through Hebrews’ description of the New Covenant, we finally listen to John’s narration of Christ’s trial and then rise to witness him cruelly crucified at Golgotha.
Our Communion Prayer (Rite 1) gathers and summarizes the motivation of God and the effects of Jesus’ death in this way.
All glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou, of thy tender mercy, didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; …
It is here on the cross that Jesus combines the holy intentions of heaven with the broken realities of earth. Damnation, Judgment, Salvation, Blessing, Justice, Mercy, Death and Life. Grace. The Communion prayer makes petitions based on this“once offered” gift to His Father and his people.
…most humbly beseeching thee to grant that, by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we, and all thy whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion.
In the Good Friday liturgy, we pray the Solemn Collects, ancient prayers that have borne the petitions of weary Christians to their great High Priest for centuries. Each Collect of collected petitions is focused on an area of concern- the church, the world, the hurting, the lost, and the departed. Each specific petition within the Collect may serve as a window through which we might look at our lives and see where God might be invited to apply “all other benefits of his [Jesus] passion.”
Good Friday ends without the pronounced blessing of either bishop or priest. What greater blessing than the redemption of the world and the security of our souls might we seek? We stand in awe and grief and are sated by the abundance of Christ’s generosity. There is no final dismissal, for we are a people waiting for Jesus’ self-specified third day, when the evidence of Christ’s trustworthiness will be revealed.
Throughout Lent, we have sung and prayed the comfortable words as we prepared for Holy Communion. Hear the Word of God to all who truly turn to him.
Come unto me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and
I will refresh you. Matthew 11:28
God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,
to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but
have everlasting life. John 3:16
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
1 Timothy 1:15
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus
Christ the righteous; and he is the perfect offering for our
sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole
world. 1 John 2:1-2
The Good Friday service concludes with a final prayer. In its expansiveness and boldness, we find the faithful response to the Savior’s invitation and accomplishment.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and forever. Amen.
As you prepare for Easter Sunday and its joyful exuberance, we invite you to remember the good work your savior has done for you this day. And the good work he continues to do for us and the world because his Cross-work was not the end, but the beginning.
See you Sunday,