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Good Friday

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God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

Almighty God, in your great love for your children you gave your dearly beloved son to die for us upon the cross; grant us a living faith in our redeemer, and a thankful remembrance of his death.

Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which you have given us, for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us. Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day. So grant that our sins may be put away and being nailed to the cross and buried with him. They may never be remembered against us.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in 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, the power and the glory, forever. Amen

The reading

 St Mark 15:22-38

 A thought for today

Good Friday. That is a name that would have seemed strange indeed to the disciples. For them it was a day of unmitigated disaster that had threatened to destroy their hopes and dreams. All that seemed to remain was to return to their homes in Galilee and try to pick up the pieces of the lives they had thought to have left behind for ever.

Sometimes hindsight can be useful. Though we cannot change anything when we look back on the past hindsight can help us to put things in perspective. As we look back on that first Good Friday, we can recognise that what happened on that hill outside the city wall was a necessary step on the road to the resurrection. That was the key that opened the door that liberated Jesus from the physical constraints of the human body and indeed of time.

 That was something the disciples were able to appreciate as events unfolded over the following weeks. They slowly began to understand why Jesus had laid such emphasis on the necessity of his suffering and death. Perhaps that Friday had not been such a bad day after all and could rightly be called Good.

The truth is that this was the day when God’s promise was fulfilled, the day that proved the truth of what Jesus had said to Nicodemus, “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved”.

That is what, with the resurrection that followed on the third day, makes Good Friday good, and turned seeming disaster into God’s triumph.

This is something that matters now as we seek to come to terms with the loss of so many during this last year. Now we know that no matter how painful the death of a loved one might be it is not the end for on the Cross on Good Friday Jesus, by dying destroyed the power of death and opened the gates of the Kingdom.

 He is the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in him though they be dead, yet shall they live and whoever lives and believes in him shall never die.

 A closing prayer

Lord, save us from being self-centred in our prayers and teach us to remember to pray for others.  May we be so bound up in love with those for whom we pray, that we may feel their needs as acutely as our own, and intercede for them with sensitivity, with understanding and with imagination.

Bless the Church as she seeks to proclaim the Gospel to a world that is no longer inclined to listen. Keep her ever faithful to your calling. Uphold your faithful children, guarding and protecting them, especially when they have to face persecution and ridicule for their faith. Make us all to remember that the Lord God, when he calls his servants to endeavour any great matter, grants them also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same, until it be thoroughly finished, which yields the true glory.

We pray for a world that is greatly troubled in so many ways. Lord, make us instruments of your peace; where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon: where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. So may we help to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Before you, Dear Father, we remember those in particular need at this time. Grant healing to the sick, relief to those in pain, hope to those in despair, comfort to the troubled in mind or spirit, and faith to the dying, granting peace and consolation to them that mourn.

We pray too for the hungry and the homeless, the victims of natural disaster and those who suffer from man’s inhumanity.

May God ever bless our families, friends and loved ones wherever they may be, keeping them and us under the protection of your everlasting arms, through Jesus Christ who dared to die for us, who was raised again on the third day, and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for evermore.

The Blessing

 May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us always.

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