St Lucia UC Good Friday Service

10/04/2020 all-day
St Lucia Uniting Church

Holy week is a very special time. I have some extra suggestions for your devotional time this week. These are especially relevant for Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday.

  1. Before you read John 12: 1-8, ‘anoint’ yourself with some beautiful perfume or after-shave lotion.
  2. Spend some time in your garden this week praying for your family, friends, and people you know in need, just as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  3. Before you read John 13: 1-20, prepare a bowl of warm water with some scented bubble bath or foot relaxing crystals. Soak your feet as you read the passage. If you have others in your home, share the washing and wiping of the feet with them. When you have washed another’s feet, your hands will smell of the scented water. It reminds me of Peter’s statement in John 13: 9-10, only now it is when we have washed another’s feet that our hands and head will be washed as well.

Rev Dr Elizabeth Nolan

You will need your Bible and Australian Hymn Book with some page markers for some of the hymns where we sing different verses after a number of the Bible readings

Call to Worship

Good Friday is a day of brokenness – a broken Christ and a broken world. We grieve for our world – its people, the economy, the cultural beauty, the physical landscape and all the friendships and family celebrations locked away. When we face our regrets, acknowledge our faults and shortcomings, and accept the brokenness, we can open ourselves to God to ask for healing and forgiveness, new opportunities and new life. Humans did their worst to Jesus, but he continued to entrust his life to God, and God did not forsake him, even when his friends did.


Jesus Christ, broken and suffering, we come this day with heavy hearts. Centre us in your love that we may encounter grace and compassion even in the midst of suffering. Open our minds to hear your word and our hearts to repent of the ways we continue to hurt and betray Jesus, even in small ways by avoiding the pain of others, or distancing ourselves from the evil done ‘for our benefit’. Like Judas and the Pharisees, Peter and Pilate, High priest and the crowd, we know we have excuses for our behaviours that do not stand up to your Truth. Our behaviour, like theirs, sent you to the Cross to save us by your steadfast trust in God; your commitment to revealing God’s will of forgiveness and reconciliation for all in the world; and your obedience to God’s way, not your human desire to avoid the pain and suffering on the way to the Cross. Challenge us, Holy Spirit, as we read these Scriptures and enter with Jesus, into the Passion.

Hymn: by Robin Mann (TIS 357) When his time was over

  1. When his time was over, the palms lay where they fell

As they ate together he told his friends farewell

Jesus, though you cried out for some other end

Love could only choose a cross – when our life began again.

  1. Secretly they planned it, the money changing hands

In the quiet garden a kiss betrayed their man.

Priests and elders tried him. Soldiers crowned him king.

We were in the crowd that day – when our life began again.


  1. Women wept to see him: he said, “Don’t weep for me”

Many laughed and mocked him: “Forgive them, they don’t see.”

Jesus please forgive me, you know who I am;

I was one who nailed your hand – when our life began again.


  1. There was one who asked you, “Remember me this day”

Jesus when I’m dying, remember me that way.

When my life is over, be with me my friend

Like the thief upon the cross – when our life began again.


Scripture Reading:  Matthew 26: 1-13

HYMN: AHB 257  My song is love unknown vs 1-3

Scripture reading: Matthew 26: 14-16,

HYMN: AHB 257  My song is love unknown vs 4

Scripture reading: Isaiah 52: 13-15; 53: 1-6

HYMN: AHB 266  There is a green hill

Scripture: Matthew 26: 36-46, 47-56

Prayer of Confession

God of brokenness, we confess we are often too tired to stay awake and pray for your work in our world. We distance ourselves from its brokenness and we blame others, or simply deny the problems we see around us, ignoring the ways we could help. Forgive us and turn our minds to your ways of justice and compassion. Help us to challenge the systems that are broken, especially those that bring suffering and abuse to the poor and powerless ones.

Forgive us when we try to use force and violence to get our own way, to keep our own possessions, pretending to protect others when it is ourselves and our comforts we protect.

We confess that we betray you whenever we break our promises to others or betray their friendship and trust. Forgive us, O God, and help us to follow Jesus more closely with courage and love, for we ask in His name, Amen.


Words of Assurance

The Scriptures remind us: He was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, and upon him was laid the punishment that makes us whole. By his bruises we are healed. For all of us he prayed: “Father forgive them.” Live your forgiveness now.


HYMN: AHB 255  O sacred head vs 1-2

Scripture: Matthew 26: 57-75

HYMN: AHB 257  My song is love unknown vs 5

Scripture: Matthew 27: 1-10

HYMN AHB 265  In the cross of Christ I glory vs 1-4

Scripture: Matthew 27: 11-26

HYMN:  AHB 261 Were you there? vs 1-4


Scripture Matthew 27: 27-54

HYMN: AHB 258 When I survey the wondrous cross

Scripture: Matthew 27: 55-66

HYMN: AHB 257 My song is love unknown vs 6& 7

Scripture: Isaiah 53: 7-12

Prayer of Intercession

God of the suffering, Holy One, who knows brokenness, we bring our prayers for the brokenness of the world. We pray for all those places where pain and suffering dominate and love is confined to the cracks of living. We pray for those who know the brokenness of betrayal: for situations where promises are forgotten, and waves of suffering follow poor choices. In brokenness, bring healing, loving God… (Pause)

We pray for those who know the brokenness of abandonment: for people who are left behind by system and policies; those who are neglected by people who should offer care and support. In brokenness, bring healing, loving God…  (Pause)

We pray for those who know the brokenness of violence: for homes that offer no sanctuary, for streets that offer no security, for countries where air suffocates from the devastation war brings. In brokenness, bring healing, loving God… (Pause)

We pray for those who know the brokenness of disease: for those struggling for life, for those fearful of death, for those watching loved ones suffering. Bring healing and hope.

We pray for those who know the brokenness of death: for those who mourn; for those who die unjustly; for those whose death offers no closure and no consolation.

In brokenness, bring healing, Loving God…(Pause)

Hold us in your loving arms, O God of compassion.

Gather up our brokenness with tenderness. Wrap us in grace that we may know the fullness of your gentle loving-kindness, for we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. Pray the Lord’s Prayer now.


HYMN: AHB 183 (TIS 242) I danced in the morning vs 4 & 5


We know the story is unfinished. Death does not have the final word. Go from this time in hope, in peace, to love more deeply those who need you and depend upon you. And the blessing of God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you always. Amen


Resources used in this service include Words for Worship Good Friday year A 10th April 2020 by MediaCom (subscription of Rev Dr Elizabeth Nolan) and The Abingdon Worship Annual 2020 edited by Mary Scifres and B.J. Beu, Abingdon Press, Nashville USA (owned by EN); and Uniting in Worship People’s Book by Uniting Church Press (JBCE) 1988 Melbourne and The Australian Hymn Book multiple copies owned by the St Lucia Uniting Church congregation. Copyright license 217268.



Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.


They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,


Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM

March 13th 2020





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