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Today is Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice that took place on the cross. It is also a time to reflect upon our own sin and brokenness and why Jesus’ sacrifice was necessary for our redemption. Our Good Friday service is a bit more liturgical in nature than a normal service and includes readings and congregational responses. The thing I’ve always found amazing is how many references there are to Jesus in the Old Testament. The first couple of Good Friday readings are from Isaiah 53: Leader: We gather to remember the one who was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

Congregation: Christ himself bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

This reading is from Isaiah 53 as translated by Dr. Calvin Seerveld: He was without beauty. He had no dignity. If we looked at him there would have been no comeliness to have attracted us. He was despised, a reject, a man of sorrows who knew grief so intimately you would turn your face away from him; he was so despicable he was not worth looking at. But did you know? It was our griefs he bore. It was our sorrows he carried. We thought he was hurt, wounded, oppressed by God, but he was jabbed through because of our dirty deeds. He was beaten down for the sake of our guilty wickedness. That the punishment lay on him gives us grace! By the welts on his body we are made whole.

Here are some further responsive readings used in Good Friday service:

Leader: O my people, O my church, what have I done to you, or in what have I offended you? Answer me. I led you forth from the land of Egypt and delivered you by the waters of baptism, but you have prepared a cross for your Savior.

Congregation: Holy God, have mercy upon us.

Leader: I led you through the desert for forty years, and fed you with manna: I brought you through tribulation and penitence, and gave you my body, the bread of heaven, but you have prepared a cross for your Savior. Congregation: Holy God, have mercy upon us.

Leader: My peace I gave, which the world cannot give, and washed your feet as a sign of my love, but you draw the sword to strike in my name and seek high places in my kingdom. I offered you my body and blood, but you scatter and deny and abandon me, and you have prepared a cross for your Savior.

Congregation: Holy God, have mercy upon us.

Leader: I came to you as the least of your brothers and sisters; I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me—naked and you did not clothe me; sick and in prison and you did not visit me, and you have prepared a cross for your Savior.

Congregation: Holy God, have mercy upon us. In Good Friday service, we also pray The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. Good Friday is a time to mourn our sin and the death of Jesus, the God incarnate. The deeper we understand what kind of sacrifice Jesus made on Friday, the fuller we can celebrate His victory over death on Sunday.