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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
April 3, 2015
Good Friday

PRELUDE  

GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you! 


CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
People: Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we account him stricken,  struck down by God and afflicted.

Leader: But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities;
People: upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

— From Isaiah 53:1, 4-5, NRSV

PRAYER OF INVOCATION 


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THERE IS A FOUNTAIN

There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
 lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains,
lose all their guilty stains;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in his day;
    and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.
Wash all my sins away,
wash all my sins away;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream
thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die,
and shall be till I die;
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.

Lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains,
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.


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SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 26:36-68 (NRSV)

36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 40Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

47While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. 51Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”


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55At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

 57Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered. 58But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end. 59Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, 60but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’” 62The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 63But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you,

From now on you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of Power
and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him, 68saying, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?”

Leader: This is the gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to you, O Christ!


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WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS
 
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

CHORUS
Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless your name

See from his head, his hands, his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ever such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

CHORUS

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.


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SCRIPTURE READING
 
 Matthew 27:1-25, NRSV

1When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

3When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. 6But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” 7After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, 10and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

11Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” 12But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. 13Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” 14But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.


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15Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. 19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” 20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 21The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” 23Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

24So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

Leader: This is the gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to you, O Christ!


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HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give his only son,
And make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss!
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon the cross,
My sin upon His shoulder.
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished!
His dying breath has brought me life;
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything:
No gifts no power no wisdom,
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I from His reward?
I cannot give an answer,
But this I know with all my heart:
His wounds have paid my ransom.


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SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 27:27-61

27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

32As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.

45From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.”


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48At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

Leader: This is the gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to you, O Christ!
 
REFLECTION


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SEVEN LAST WORDS & INTERCESSION

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Leader: Loving Father, to whom your crucified Son prayed for the forgiveness of those who did not know what they were doing, grant that we too may be included in that prayer. Whether we sin out of ignorance or intention, be merciful to us and grant us your acceptance and peace in the name of Jesus Christ, our suffering Savior.
People: In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer.

“Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Leader: O Lord Jesus Christ, who promised to the repentant the joy of paradise, enable us by the Holy Spirit to repent and to receive your grace in this world and in the world to come.
People: In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer.

“Woman, behold your son...Behold your mother.”
Leader: O blessed Savior, in your hour of greatest suffering you expressed compassion for your mother and made arrangements for her care; grant that we who seek to follow your example may show our concern for the needs of others, reaching out to provide for those who suffer in our human family.
People: In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer.


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“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Leader: O Lord, as one who was once forsaken by all others, even your own Father, grant that we would approach your throne of grace with in our time of need.
People: In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer.

“I thirst.”
Leader: O blessed Savior, whose lips were dry and whose throat was parched, grant us the water of life, that we who thirst after righteousness may find it quenched by your love and mercy, leading us to bring this same relief to others.
People: In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer.


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“It is finished.”
Leader: O Lord Jesus Christ, you finished the work that you were sent to do; enable us by your Holy Spirit to be faithful to our call. Grant us strength to bear our crosses and endure our sufferings, even unto death. Enable us to live and love so faithfully that we also become good news to the world, joining your witness, O Christ, in whose name we pray.
People: In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer.

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Leader: Father, into whose hands your Son, Jesus Christ, commended his spirit, grant that we too, following his example, may in all of life and at the moment of our death entrust our lives into your faithful hands of love. In the name of Jesus, who gave his life for us all.
People: In your mercy Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.

— Based on Psalm 88; Mark 15:34; Luke 23:34, 43, 46; John 19:26-30

And darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. The earth shook and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.


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BENEDICTION

Minister: May you find in the cross a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven. And may the blessing of God go with you, now and forevermore.

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

Minister: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord! 
People: Thanks be to God!


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ANNOUNCEMENTS

EASTER AT LIBERTI CHURCH
Thank you for joining us tonight. After this time of mourning, we look forward to celebrating Christ’s resurrection together this Sunday, April 5, and we would love for you to join us. Below are our service times and locations:

 Center City - First Baptist Building
17th & Sansom Sts.
9:30 AM - Service
10:45 AM - Coffee Hour

Main Line - Rotwitt Theater
Rosemont College
11:00 AM - Service
10:15 AM - Coffee Hour

Free parking is available at both locations. Click here for further details.

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