Tuesday, April 26, 2011


(Check out yesterday's post to read about our use of podcasts to prepare folks for Easter.)

Over the years, Bethel has done a lot of different "types" of services for Good Friday. For my first year, we did a Holy Thursday/Seder. Last year, we opted for a very simple Good Friday service. This was definitely a "service of darkness" where we took time to appreciate the great darkness of Christ's death.

This year, we kept pretty much the same form. We opened with a video of Isaiah 53 and then went into a very simple version of the hymn "Near the Cross". We did this with acoustic guitar, piano, bass and percussion. This is the same sort of musical setup we did last year and it is a nice change from our normal Sunday morning full band.

I prayed at the end of that song while three readers took the stage. They did a dramatic reading of Matthew's Passion account and they did a great job. After the reading, the musicians and I led "Lamb of God", which was a nice song to connect after the scripture reading. As we ended that song, Ross got up and preached for about 10 minutes or so.

We then did Communion by intinction. We did this for the first time last year and it was very powerful. While communion was taken, the musicians and I led Matt Boswell's "In My Place". We did this on Easter Sunday as well, so it was a nice time to teach that one.

As the song ended, we dismissed people in silence.

From start to finish, it was about 45 minutes long. It was a good service. I expected more people to be there, but it was still a very engaged, focused crowd.

TAKEAWAY: Now that I've done this service a second year in a row, it's interesting to note that the crowd for this service tends to be a bit older. I think there are two reasons why don't see as many young families: 1) Young families at Bethel traditionally do not come to a lot of weekday services. 2) A lot of our younger families were off doing holiday stuff with extended family.

I think the service was good and I received some positive feedback. It didn't have that "new" quality as last year's first attempt, but I think it was a great service that accomplished what we believe Good Friday should be.

Stop by tomorrow to get an inside peek at how we planned our Easter Sunday service.


Liz said...

I *loved* the Good Friday service. It was a challenge for me spiritually to dwell in the darkness of the cross...the sacrifice & its power. But it was a challenge in a good way. I want so badly to cheer & praise & focus on only what came on Sunday -- but I NEED to dwell at the cross now & then. While I'm amazed, wow'd and generally jazzed by the resurrection in a thousand ways, I NEED to remind myself to sit down & sit still & really FOCUS on the beauty and the pain & suffering of the cross. The loss of life. For ME. For my sins. I need to soak that in over & over...even if it is followed by praise & excitement for what He overcame (the grave), it's good for me to be forced to be quiet & still too. Thank you Ross & Todd & everyone else involved.