Wrapping the Cross–A Good Friday Service

Last year, my friend Jemma Allen shared something they had done in worship on Good Friday that involved wrapping a cross. I immediately started planning how we would do it this year and wanted to share it. Included is a general order of worship. Feel free to use, adapt, improve, and share how you use the idea. Thanks, Jemma, for giving me the idea!

Good Friday Order of Service

Call to Worship

Song of Prayer 

Hearing the Word         Jesus is mocked           Mark 15:16-20, Psalm 22:1-5

(After these readings, linen cloths are laid on the chancel steps. There are 4 pieces. Each piece corresponds to one arm of the cross. Measure your fabric to allow there to be enough to wrap the arm.)

Song of Prayer 

Hearing the Word         The cross is carried       Mark 15:21-24, Psalm 22:14-21
(the cross is carried into sanctuary and laid down on the cloths. Use the middle seam on the fabric to center the cross on the fabrics. )

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Song of Prayer

Hearing the Word                Jesus is crucified      Mark 15:25-32, Psalm 22:6-8

(After these readings, a King of the Jew sign was nailed to the cross.)

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Song of Prayer

Hearing the Word     Jesus breathes his last     Mark 15:33-39, Psalm 22:27-31

Meditation

Offering
(People were invited to come up the side aisle, place their offering in the basket, and then take a flower or herb and add them to the cross as they return down the center aisle. The offering from tonight’s service will go to a Women and Children’s Shelter. )

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We used lemon thyme, mint, oregano, and something else (It’s late here…)

This is what I said as I invited people up. “Herbs are used around the world for fragrance, for wellness and for healing. Good Friday reminds us of the brokenness in our world – in sin, tragedy, disaster, terrorism. In his death on the Cross, Jesus engages directly with that brokenness. This is God’s most loving action.
Love in action; not just sympathy. In Christ, God offers healing to the world. In this we identify Gods invitation and our hopes for wholeness for ourselves and our world. That healing, forgiveness and wholeness begin with God, and continue as we open our hands to receive it.” (Quoted section from Nigel Hanscamp) Come and stand witness with a concrete act of adding your gift of herbs and flowers to the cross.

 

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I thought people would just toss the herbs and flowers on the cloth, but they carefully placed it all on the cross. It was touching to watch the care with which they added flowers and herbs to the cross.

Time of Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer

During this next song, the four pieces of the cross were wrapped and tied.

Song of Prayer

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After this song, Mark 15:42-47 were read as the cross was carried out of the room.

Benediction

Worshipers exit the sanctuary in silence.

On Easter morning, the empty “grave clothes” and the herbs/flowers will be in the sanctuary without the cross. The scent of the herbs/flowers will remain as we celebrate the empty tomb.

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4 thoughts on “Wrapping the Cross–A Good Friday Service

  1. We are using this as the foundation of our GF service this year. Since we have a cemetery next to the church, we are going to have a funeral recession out of the church and follow the cross to the cemetery. There a bell will toll 33 times. Thanks for your and Jemma’s work on this.

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