I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
On this Good Friday, Holy One, we recognize all that is not good about our lives, because it stands in such stark contrast to all that is good about you. We guard our own comfort as paramount; but you sent Jesus into a land where he had no place to call his home, no place to lay his head. Our days are spent advancing our own cause—our own advantage, our own security; but you sent Jesus to spend his life for the sake of others. We love ourselves most of all, but you so loved the world that you gave your only Son.
This day is good, Lord, not because of anything we have done, but because of what you have done for us. You became one of us, revealing your love upon the cross. Therefore, we gather on this day to confess our sins, to recommit our lives, and to praise your holy name. May the days ahead also be good ones, as your Holy Spirit works through our lives to demonstrate your love and power to a broken world.
We confess, O God, that this is a fateful day because we have been a faithless people. Too often, we have been like Peter, hailing Jesus as the Christ, but denying the one who suffers. Too often, we have been like Judas, professing love for Jesus, yet betraying him for paltry gain. Too often, we have been like Pilate: finding no fault in Jesus, but leaving him to the mercy of those who do.
As we recall the cross he chose to bear for our sakes, we remember the crosses we have declined to bear for his sake. Forgive us, we pray; and make us better disciples of your Christ. Even as he was faithful to you—faithful unto death—grant us the grace to be faithful unto you in life.
On this Good Friday, Holy One, as we stand at the foot of the cross, we tremble. We are afraid, for we know what it calls us to do. We remember words of Scripture which urge us to be crucified with Christ—to die with him, if we would be raised with him. We consider our own hands, our own feet, and we wonder: where are the nail prints? What is there about ourselves—and about the society we have fashioned—that we would crucify? What would we nail to the cross?
In hope of resurrection, we bring to the cross of Christ:
- Our despair; may it be resurrected as hope.
- Our fear; may it be resurrected as perfect love.
- Our hatred; may it be resurrected as forgiveness.
- Our suffering; may compassion arise from it.
Seeking redemption, to the cross of Christ we bring:
- The scourge of racism; from stifled breath, let winds of justice blow.
- The twin curses of guilt and resentment; by releasing them, let us become agents of reconciliation.
- Our self-righteousness; may our smug certainty be displaced by tolerance and understanding.
- Our hoarded wealth; may anxious greed give way to confident sharing.
God, our refuge and our strength, hear the fervent prayers we raise, and bring to fulfillment your plan for all Creation, in that new world where all tears shall be wiped away; where hunger and thirst are unknown; where the sun will not strike us, nor any scorching heat; where the Lamb will be our Shepherd, and will guide us to springs of the water of life. In his name we ask it. Amen.