Good Friday Tenebrae Service A Service of Light and Darkness

(With this Good Friday liturgy, we continue our worship that began yesterday and will continue on Sunday with a great celebration of Christ’s resurrection.)

All gather in silence.

P: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

C: We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.

P: We have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.

C: Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Prayer of the Day

P: Merciful God, your Son was lifted up on the cross to draw all people to himself. grant that we who have been born out of his wounded side may at all times find mercy in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C: Amen

Responsive Reading                                         Isaiah 53:5-8, 10

P: But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities;

C: upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

P: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way,

C: and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

P: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;

C: like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

P: By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future?

C: For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.

P: Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;

C: through him the will of the LORD shall prosper.

HYMN                                                                          Jesus, I Will Ponder Now

  1. Jesus, I will ponder now
on your holy passion;
let your Spirit now endow
me for meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith may the image cherish
of your suff’ring, pain, and death, that I may not perish.
  2. Make me see your great distress, anguish, and affliction, bonds and blows and wretchedness and your crucifixion;
make me see how scourge and rod, spear and nails, did wound you, how you died for those, O God, who with thorns had crowned you.
  3. 3 Yet, O Lord, not thus alone make me see your passion, but its cause to me make known and its termination.
For I also and my sin wrought your deep affliction; this the shameful cause has been of your crucifixion.


After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” 5They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus re- plied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

First candle is extinguished.

HYMN                                                                                  Go to Dark Gethsemane

1 Go to dark Gethsemane,
all who feel the tempter’s pow’r;   your Redeemer’s conflict see. Watch with him one bitter hour; turn not from his griefs away; learn from Jesus Christ to pray.

2.  Follow to the judgment hall, view the Lord of life arraigned; oh, the wormwood and the gall! Oh, the pangs his soul sustained! Shun not suff’ring, shame, or loss; learn from him to bear the cross.


12So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in- law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

15Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

19Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23Jesus answered, “If I have spo- ken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Second candle is extinguished.

HYMN                                                    O Sacred Head, Now Wounded  

1. O sacred head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown; O sacred head, what glory, what bliss till now was thine! Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call thee mine.

2.  How pale thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn; how does thy face now languish, which once was bright as morn! Thy grief and bitter passion were all for sinners’ gain; mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain.


28Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defile- ment and to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” 31Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not per- mitted to put anyone to death.” 32(This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indi- cated the kind of death he was to die.)

33Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did oth- ers tell you about me?” 35Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my king- dom is not from here.” 37Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. 39But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 40They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Third candle is extinguished

HYMN                                           O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

3. What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest friend, for this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?
Oh, make me thine forever, and should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to thee.

4.  Lord, be my consolation; shield me when I must die; remind me of thy passion when my last hour draws nigh. These eyes, new faith receiving, from thee shall never move; for all who die believing
die safely in thy love.


19 1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3They kept com- ing up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. 4Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” 5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” 7The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

8Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. 9He entered his headquar- ters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Pi- late therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” 11Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

13When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” 15They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” 16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

Fourth candle is extinguished.

HYMN                                                                                                         Ah, Holy Jesus

1.   Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?  By foes derided, by thine own rejected, O most afflicted.

2.  Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee. ‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

THE PASSION OF ST. JOHN, PART FIVE             John 19:16b-25

16bSo they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

“They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

25And that is what the soldiers did.

Fifth candle is extinguished.

HYMN                                                                           Ah, Holy Jesus

3.  Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered; the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered; for our atonement, while we nothing heeded, God interceded.

4 For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation, thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation; thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion, for my salvation.

5. Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee; think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, not my deserving.

THE PASSION OF ST. JOHN, PART SIX                              John 19:25-30  

25Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

28After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Sixth candle is extinguished.

HYMN                                              Were You There

1 Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

2 Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

3 Were you there when they pierced him in the side? Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they pierced him in the side?


31Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. 32Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35(He who saw this has testified so that you al- so may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be bro- ken.” 37And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.” 38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Seventh candle is extinguished

HYMN                                                                             Were You There

4 Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

5 Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Prayer of the People for Good Friday

P: We seek your saving grace, God of Christ Jesus, for all those who on this Good Friday are lost among their doubts, sins, griefs or fears. O crucified Christ, have mercy on your sisters and brothers.

C: O God of the Cross, deliver us from all evil.

P: For some who are suffering from disease or accident, and the many who suffer be- cause of terrorism and war. For people who bear their suffering alone and unaided, and others who though surrounded by medical personnel and equipment, still find their pain unbearable. O crucified Christ, have mercy on your sisters and brothers.

C: O God of the Cross, deliver us from all evil.

P: For those who suffer abuse at home or at work, and the many children who suffer from the bullying or rejection of their peers. O crucified Christ, have mercy on your sis- ters and brothers.

C: O God of the Cross, deliver us from all evil.

P: For any who suffer a painful, terminal illness, and those loved one whose spirits are this day torn by raw grief. O crucified Christ, have mercy on your sisters and brothers. C: O God of the Cross, deliver us from all evil.

P: For those who in their suffering have no faith to support them, and any who’s once- vibrant faith seems to be ebbing away under stress. For all who in suffering still trust and praise their God, and those who while suffering themselves still give comfort to their distressed friends and loved one. O crucified Christ, have mercy on your sisters and brothers.

C: O God of the Cross, deliver us from all evil.

P: Loving God, we commit into your hands our lives, that in sickness or in health, in joy or in sorrow, we may carry (without grumbling) whatever cross you give us, and always have time and love for those who are falling down under the weight of their hardship. This we ask through Christ Jesus our redeemer.

C: Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.   Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.  For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.


The following dialogue is spoken three times, the congregation echoing the leader.

 Behold, the life-giving cross, on which was hung the Savior of the whole world.

C:  Oh, come, let us worship him.

Hymn                                               What Wondrous Love Is This

1 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!  What wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this
that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse
for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul?

2 When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down, when I was sinking down, sinking down, when I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown, Christ laid aside his crown
for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.

3 To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;  to God and to the Lamb I will sing;
to God and to the Lamb,
who is the great I AM,
while millions join the theme,
I will sing, I will sing,
while millions join the theme, I will sing.

After a brief silence, the minister continues.

P: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

C: By your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

All depart in silence. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: