Good Friday: Isn’t Good Friday about love?

Passover Lamb, even in death, You are the fulfillment of the prophecy and the promise of coming redemption. Console us in our grief and do not let our eyes waver from You, in your most precious name.


Worship on Good Friday

Music prelude

Welcome 

Lighting of the Christ candle

Call to worship:

L: Be gracious to me, dear Lord, 
    for I am in distress; 
P: My eye wastes away from grief, 
    my soul and body also.
L: But I trust in You, dear Lord; 
P: I say, “You are my God.”
L: Let your face shine upon your servant; 
P: Save me in your steadfast love.

Song: The old rugged cross    

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best. For a world of lost sinners was slain
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross (rugged cross)
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true

It’s shame and reproach gladly bear
Then he’ll call me some day to my home far away. Where his glory forever I’ll share
And I’ll cherish the old rugged cross (rugged cross)
Till my trophies at last I lay down
And I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

Words: Galatians 6:14; Music: George Bennard, both public domain

Prayer:

L: Passover Lamb, even in death, You are the fulfillment of the prophecy, and the promise of coming redemption. Console us in our grief and do not let our eyes waver from You, in your most precious name.
P: Source of wisdom and understanding, in the midst of our distractions, let us experience stillness. In the midst of competing voices, let us hear your word. Among the many choices that confront us, let us follow your will. In the name of Jesus our teacher and saviour, Amen.

Response: Jesus, remember me

Scripture readings:                                            

Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9  –  New Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16 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 5:7-9  

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,

Solo: I wanna know what love is

I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me (Ooh)
I’ve gotta take a little time
A little time to think things over
I better read between the lines
In case I need it when I’m older
Now this mountain, I must climb
Feels like the world upon my shoulders
But through the clouds, I see love shine
It keeps me warm as life grows colder
In my life, there’s been heartache and pain
I don’t know if I can face it again
Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far
To change this lonely life
I’m gonna take a little time
A little time to look around me
I’ve got nowhere left to hide
It looks like love has finally found me
In my life, there’s been heartache and pain
I don’t know if I can face it again
I can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far
To change this lonely life
I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me
I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
(And I wanna feel) I wanna feel what love is
(And I know) I know you can show me 

Words and music : Mick Jones ©1984 Somerset Songs Publishing Inc

Message: “Isn’t Good Friday about love?”

When I look at the darkness of the black cloths on the two lecterns, and the black table cloth over the Communion Table here in the sanctuary on this Good Friday, it all speaks of the grimness of that Good Friday when Jesus was crucified. What a paradox this is against love. The darkness of black and the natural redness of love hardly go together. But I’ll venture to say that it cost the dark blackness of a crucifixion to show God’s immense love for humanity. 

Leonard Sweet, in a Facebook post, points out how he and his wife, Tia, were looking into the pop culture and pop music of the 80s to see “where Jesus is in all of this.” Then the two of them found a Good Friday song. 

Just to bring you up to speed, in 1984, a mixed bag of European and American musicians, hence “Foreigner”, released a ballad. It was written by one of the singers, Mick Jones, and became a global phenomenon. Backed up by Jennifer Holliday of “Dreamgirls” fame and the New Jersey Mass Choir, “I wanna know what love is” sung by Foreigner, the song was catapulted into the Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame.

The definitive answer to the query “I wanna know what love is” is not in some specific words but the answer lies in a story and an image: Jesus on the Cross. If you really want to know what love is, look at Good Friday Jesus, the Son of God, hanging on the cross, showing us how much God loves each one of us children, even and especially those two thieves who died with him. Mick Jones, who wrote the lyrics, is very clear about it. He said that the song’s lyrics aren’t connected to any specific theme, which is fair enough. They don’t need to. 

However, what we celebrate this morning, culminates in what love really is.

For those who might be tuning in this morning and don’t know the story of the cross fully, we who live that story must “show” and not just “tell” the world what love is. How are we doing “showing” the world what love is? 

This is the crux of this 1980s popular song that Lynn just sang this morning.

We can call to memory the event that unfolded on that Friday before Jesus rose from the dead. It was a gruesome event. The gospel according to John describes the event: “…they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by Himself, He went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them” (John 19:17-18). Jesus suffered a shameful death, by being nailed to a cross, breathing out his last breath, without having any sin.

This too, is what our reading from the letter to the Hebrews refers to. Let’s look at what our reading says. Jesus is depicted as a great high priest, the Son of God. He was the one who could sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tested as we are, yet He was without sin. While Jesus was human like us, He offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save Him from death. Through all of this, the Hebrew-writer says, Jesus became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. We can live now, and live as forgiven people, freed from all the wrong we have done and will be doing in the future.

If this wasn’t an act of sheer love, I honestly don’t know where our faith would ever take us. Jesus’ dyng on the cross showed us how much God loves each one of us children, even and especially those two thieves who died with Him. The imagery in the video of Foreigner singing “I wanna know what love is” points to the immensely heavy burden being carried. You see it in the construction worker carrying a huge steel bar. Before long, the video depicts uplifting scenes. There are moving scenes of people singing, first individuals and then singing communal songs, finding joy in reaching out to one another. 

I know this isn’t explicit, and poetry as in these lyrics, aren’t supposed to be explicit. 

I was deeply moved by listening to this song. Initially, I as a young man in my twenties, I only saw romantic love in the song. Listening to it with fresh ears and eyes, there is a definite quest for real caring love for one another, in spite of geographical and racial distinctions. 

Doesn’t this, dear friends, spur us on to respond with continued love wherever we go? It shows up in acts of love, standing up for those who are oppressed, making sure that life has this one goal of uplifting folks who are bearing unbearable burdens. Love could be seen in a ninety-year-old man taking care of his frail wife who can’t take care of herself. It might be found in a simple call to a lonely person during this pandemic. Small things like brightening up the lives of others with a smile, a caring gesture. It could be in helping one another, and the examples are endless. 

Yes, we can know what love is. God is love. Love is in Jesus who died on a cross for our transgressions and brought life into this world. It is embodied in our own life-giving acts of love, care and kindness. We get to show it. The dark decor of Good Friday starts glowing with red, symbolizing love. Amen

Song: 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.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Words: Isaac Watts; public domain
Music: Psalmody in Miniature, Second Supplement; adaptation, Edward Miller; harmony, Samuel Webbe, the elder, Webbe’s collection of Psalm-Tunes; public domain

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 

extinguish the Christ candle…
recess in silence


10:00 am April 2, 2021

led by Rev. Heinrich Grosskopf

vocalist: Lynn Vaughan


Copyright 2021 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
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