Friday, April 19, 2019

ECUMENICAL GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE "WE REMEMBER” Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community and St. Andrew United Church of Christ, Sarasota, Florida





Rev.  Paul Werner and Bridget Mary Meehan  ARCWP Co-preside at Ecumenical Good Friday Service at St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota, Florida











ECUMENICAL GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE
GOOD FRIDAY: “WE REMEMBER”

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
and
St. Andrew United Church of Christ

An asterisk (*) indicates to rise in body or in spirit.


PRELUDE                                                                 Bruce Ensinger


GREETING                                                               Rev. Paul Werner

We come here this evening to remember a man. A man…
who had dreams,
who had those dreams shattered,
who needed time to think and pray,
who knew he was likely to die for what he believed…

A man of extraordinary religious insight.
A man who did die—a cruel death.

This evening we look at the cross, and we remember…
the betrayal of friendship and its consequences,
the casual cruelty of Roman authority and execution,
and how unreliable others proved to be in a crisis.

This evening may we also remember
that religious bigotry, cruelty, and unreliability
are still a part of our everyday lives.

This evening, then, may we learn some new precepts for living:
Do not avoid contact with suffering,
or close your eyes before suffering.
Do not maintain anger or hatred.
Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest,
or to impress people.
Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature…

This evening we remember.

OPENING SONG          We Remember by Marty Haugen (refrain only)

We remember how you loved us
To your death,
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.


REFLECTION 1

Bishop Bridget Mary:  Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the realm of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
(Mark 1:14-15)

Reader 1:  Let us remember a man who dreamed of what might be: that people would be set free from religious ideas and images that degraded them; that people would believe that through their everyday acts of human kindness, they are intimately connected with the sacred; that people would be empowered by his words and actions.

All:  We remember Jesus, a person driven by dreams!

RESPONSE

We remember how you loved us
To your death,
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.


REFLECTION 2

Rev. Paul:  They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
(Mark 1:21-22)

Reader 2:  Let us remember a man who had his moments of breakthrough, when it must have seemed his dream was being realized; times when people really listened and responded; times when women and men were prepared to walk with him and support him; times when he spoke better and more convincingly than other times.

All:  We remember Jesus, a person inspired by successes!


We remember how you loved us
To your death,
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.


REFLECTION 3

Bishop Bridget Mary:  Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison … and had John beheaded in the prison. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.
(Matthew 14:3, 10, 12-13)

Reader 1:  Let us remember a man who learned about the cruel death of his cousin. He got into a boat, seeking a lonely place where he could be with his friends, to absorb the shock, to grieve quietly, to calm his feelings of powerlessness, of frustration and of fear for his own future. I wonder what he prayed about that night. I wonder what helped him leave that lonely place and go forward to confront life rather than retreat into isolation and safety.

All:  We remember Jesus, a person driven by convictions!


We remember how you loved us
To your death,
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.


REFLECTION 4

Rev. Paul:  And after Jesus had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.
(Matthew 14:23)

Reader 2:  Let us remember a man who found quiet places to pray and think about things; a man who had to live by faith; a man who had to search for answers; a man who had to think about which path to follow; a man who had to look to his friends for support and understanding.

All:  We remember Jesus, a person very much like us!

RESPONSE

We remember how you loved us
To your death,
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.


REFLECTION 5

Bishop Bridget Mary:  From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
(Matthew 16:21)

Reader 1:  Let us remember a man whose dream was shattered; who broke down and cried over what could have been; who knew the pain of failure and powerlessness; who knew what it was like to feel broken and terribly alone.

All:  We remember Jesus, a man who experienced his emotions!


We remember how you loved us
To your death,
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.


CHORAL MEDITATION

Till He Comes Again by Jack Schrader
St. Andrew UCC Choir


REFLECTION 6

Rev. Paul:  When the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the realm of God.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the realm of God comes.” Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
(Luke 22:14-19)

Reader 2:  Let us remember a man who knew he was going to die; who gathered with his friends, knowing it was for the last time; who spoke to them about what he really believed; who wanted them to remember him and to keep his dream alive.

All:  We remember Jesus, a testament to love!


We remember how you loved us
To your death,
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.


REFLECTION 7

Bishop Bridget Mary:  At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
(Mark 15:34)

Reader 1:  Let us remember a man crucified. He was seen as a failure, abandoned by his friends—taunted, despised, enduring a shameful and agonizing death. There was no consoling or heartfelt presence of his Creator God to help him.

All:  We remember Jesus, a man whose faith in all he believed was tested to the limits!


We remember how you loved us
To your death,
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.


REFLECTION 8

Rev. Paul:  Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with Jesus. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Creator, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your realm.” Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Creator, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.
(Luke 23:32-34, 39-43, 46)

Reader 2:  Let us remember a man who forgave, not just once, but over and over; a man who embodied the generosity and limitless outpouring of the source of all life; a man whose life and death point to another dimension of what it means to be human. No power on earth—nothing—could move this man from what he believed.

All:  We remember Jesus, a man who inspires us by the way he lived and died!


We remember how you loved us
To your death,
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.


REFLECTION 9

Bishop Bridget Mary:  Jesus said, “Believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship God neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Creator in spirit and truth, for God seeks such as these to worship God.” Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.”
(John 4:21, 23, 39)

Reader 1:  Let us remember a man of extraordinary religious insight, a man utterly convinced of the connection between human love and the source of all; a man determined to give people personal authority in their relationship with the God they believed in; a man who wanted to set people free from fear of the unknown; a man who set his heart on breaking down barriers between people.

All:  We remember Jesus, a man who set us free!

RESPONSE

We remember how you loved us
To your death,
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.


TIME FOR SILENT REFLECTION

How do we, as followers of “The Way,” live faithfully and not lose hope, especially during times of pain, struggle, and darkness? In the past year, has there been someone you know who showed extraordinary courage in facing their life situation(s)? In the past year, how have you responded to your own personal difficulties, struggles, and sufferings? Suffering is part of being wholly human. Loving in the face of suffering makes us whole and holy.


PRAYER

All:  O Holy One, we give thanks for Jesus, who knew the longings and pains of being human and who inspires our faith journey. Like Jesus, may we listen to the voices whispering to us, calling us to follow close lest we leave ourselves behind, calling us to walk into evening shadows one more time. Like Jesus, may we live beyond the fears that close us in and have the courage to walk past horizons that we know. May we grown in faith and courage to act justly and love extravagantly as we seek to make your realm a reality in our world. Amen.


*SONG OF REMEMBRANCE

Creator, Forgive Them by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
Tune: ADELAIDE


*A BENEDCTINE BLESSING

Rev. Paul:  May God bless us with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
All:  So that we may speak truth boldly and love deeply.
Bishop Bridget Mary:  May God bless us with a holy anger at injustice, oppression, and all exploitation of people,
All:  So that we may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.
Rev. Paul:  May God bless us with the gift of tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish,
All:  So that we may reach out our hands to comfort and transform their pain into joy.
Bishop Bridget Mary:  May God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we really can make a difference in this world,
All:  So that we are able, by God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done. May it be so, this day and evermore. Amen!

*CLOSING SONG                 Holy Darkness by John Michael Talbot

Refrain:
Holy darkness, blessed night,
Heaven’s answer hidden from our sight.
As we await you, O God of silence,
We embrace your holy night.

I have tried you in the fires of affliction.
I have taught your soul to grieve.
In the barren soil of your loneliness,
There I will plant your seed.

Refrain

In the deepest hour of the darkness,
I will give you wealth untold.
When the silence stills your spirit,
Will my riches fill your soul.

Refrain



DEPART IN SILENCE

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