First United Church, Wetaskiwin – April 10, 2020 – Good Friday Worship
 
God calls us to create a community of faith where all are welcome and encouraged to participate fully: no matter where you’re from, when you were born, however you self-identify, whom you love, or what you believe.
 
Permission to post the music in this service obtained from One License with license A-605619.

Welcome! We come from many places to this land that many Indigenous people call Turtle Island. People have been coming to this place for centuries in wave after wave of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. We acknowledge the peoples of Treaty 6 and Metis Region 4 upon whose traditional lands we now gather. May we live with respect on this land, and in peace and friendship with its people.

COMING CLOSE TO THE LIGHT
You’re invited to light a candle and breathe deeply of the Spirit’s presence.

 
CALL TO WORSHIP
In our hearts – We gather in the garden with the disciples.
In our minds – We rehearse the judgements.
In our souls – We huddle beneath the cross.
Fascinated and frightened, Waiting and watching,
We enter into this story. In our tears and prayers,
In our silence and our courage, We remember and we shoulder the cross.
 
PRAYER FOR COURAGE [together]
God of endless nights and unwelcome mornings, we wait again in the shadow of the cross. In the presence of violence, You call us to witness to the power of love that will not let us go. Let Your tears wash away our guilt and shame. In whatever wounds we bear, may we know Your healing presence. Be with us in our singing and in our silence, in our remembering and in our denial. Amen.
 
HYMN #614 Voices United “In Suffering Love” verses 1 & 2
In suffering love the thread of life is woven through our care,
for God is with us, not alone our pain and toil we bear.
There is a rock, a place secure within the storm’s cold blast;
concealed within the suffering night God’s covenant stands fast.
 
SCRIPTURE READING Matthew 26:20-22, 26 – 30
Lenten Lament
Betrayal and forgiveness gather at table together and Jesus breathes new meaning into an old promise. The disciples were steeped in God’s promises, remembered each year in the feast of Passover. Proven when God set the people free, and led them from slavery to the promised land. Generations came and went before they learned to trust God’s promise. I wonder what keeps us enslaved? How long till we accept God’s promise for us?
We lament the broken promises in our living; the trust betrayed.
Into Your hands, O God we commend our disillusionment. Three hammer strikes

 

HYMN #133 Voices United “Go to Dark Gethsemane” verse 1
Go to dark Gethsemane, you who feel the tempter’s power;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see; watch with him one bitter hour;
Turn not from his grief away; learn from his to watch and pray.

 

SCRIPTURE READING Matthew 26:36-46
Lenten Lament
Remain here, and stay awake. But their eyes were dimmed by the late hour and their heads groggy with wine. The disciples accompany Jesus to a place of prayer. Jesus asks them to wait and keep awake with him, but they sleep. And alone with his thoughts, Jesus prays to God out of the fear of his own heart. “Let this cup pass from me…” 3 times Jesus asks to be set free. Sometimes we forget that Jesus too was afraid. When we are faced with difficult choices sometimes we are afraid to pray for ourselves. Or we pray, and like Jesus in the garden, it seems that we are alone. That no one, least of all God, hears our prayer.
We lament the times when we have felt abandoned; when we pray to God and silence seems the only answer.
Into Your hands, O God, we commend our loneliness. Three hammer strikes
 
HYMN #78 More Voices “God Weeps” verse 1
God weeps at love withheld, at strength misused, at children’s innocence abused,
And till we change the way we love, God weeps.
 
SCRIPTURE READING Matthew 26:47-56
Lenten Lament
Community: a safe place to raise your kids, friendly faces, a place where we can all grow and be nurtured, where people are accepted without judgement.
Intimacy is both a blessing and a curse of community. People know each other’s business. Sometimes that can be used to support and sustain each other. But sometimes it enables us to be cruel, to zero in on the vulnerable spots and make each other hurt. Jesus lived and taught among the people. He did not hide what he was doing. He even went to temple to worship and teach like any other rabbi. And then some of those same crowds, who listened, who praised and came to be healed, turn up at night, with swords and clubs. Friendly faces turned into an angry mob.
We lament the times communities and churches have turned on one another; neighbour against neighbour, family betraying family.
Into Your hands, O God, we commend our fear. Three hammer strikes
 
HYMN #119 Voices United “When We are Tempted” verse 1
When we are tempted to deny Your son, because we fear the anger of the world,
and we are few who bear the insults hurled, your will, O God, be done.
 
SCRIPTURE READING Matthew 26:57, 58, 63-75
Lenten Lament
We all have power. Pilate had it. Peter had it. The servant girl had it. Jesus had it. How hard it is to claim that power, to put it to good use, when faced with anger and threats. Pilate didn’t want to get involved, didn’t want to lose face before the angry crowds. But Pilate had the power to crush those crowds, to set Jesus free or at the least to guarantee him a fair trial.
We complain about being powerless, about the government or the church or our parents or our teachers or our boss holding all the power. But when we have a chance to make a difference, what do we do? Do we treat our children, our employees, the clerk at the store any more justly or respectfully?
We lament the times we have held power and used it for our own purposes or at the expense of another.
Into Your hands, O God, we commend our insecurity. Three Hammer strikes
HYMN #119 Voices United “When We are Tempted” verse 2
When we are tempted to betray your Son, because he leads us in a harder way,
And makes demands we do not want to pay, your will, O God, be done.
 
SCRIPTURE READING Matthew 27:1,2, 15 – 26
Lenten Lament
They come in the middle of the night, breaking down doors, turning over tables, dragging people from their sleep, disappearing into the night again. Faces hidden, masked in fear. Those lucky enough to survive, wake each day wondering if their loved one is still alive.
Never in Canada, true north strong and free, we sing. Yet during the second world war, Canadians with Japanese ancestry were dragged from their homes, their savings, their businesses, everything confiscated, and then forced to live in tiny cabins in the interior of British Columbia. For decades indigenous children were taken from their homes, cut off from language, culture, and family while non-indigenous people enjoyed the benefits of land and a false history.
All legally conducted by our justice system but just? Or moral? Or ethical? How often have we condemned without asking? believed only what we chose to believe and ignored the rest?
We lament our apathy, our ignorance, our complacency.
Into Your hands, O God, we commend our assumptions, our half truths, our denial.
Three hammer strikes
 
HYMN #144 Voices United “Were You There” verse 1
Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Repeat)
Oh- Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
 
SCRIPTURE READING Matthew 27:27 – 37, 45 – 55
Lenten Lament
Betrayed and denied by friends, the love of God still loves.
Falsely arrested and accused, the love of God still loves.
Punished for the crimes of others, tortured and shamed, the love of God still loves.
Abandoned and alone, the love of God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things endures all things.
We lament the times we have betrayed or denied love. We lament those times we have forgotten or abandoned the call to love.
Into your hands O God, we commend our spirits. Three hammer strikes
 
HYMN #144 Voices United “Were You There” verse 5
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? (Repeat)
Oh- Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

 

SCRIPTURE READING Matthew 27:57 – 66

 

THE LORD’S PRAYER [Whispered] The Christ candle is extinguished.
 
ON THE WAY
It is finished. The light of the world has been put out. May the Spirit hold you close in hope,
May you trust in love, when all else fails. Amen.
 
UPDATES
Staff are still in the building during office hours, but building access is limited, so please call ahead to make an appointment.
 
Worship links for Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday will be posted by those days on this site and Facebook.
Text services will be posted here at least two days ahead.
 
Fundscrip orders will be available from the office after Apr. 13.
 
The office is closed on Apr. 13.
 
First United continues to answer God’s call to be safe and welcome space. AHS continues to be the best site for updates on how to safe-guard oneself and others. We appreciate the current situation around Covid-19 will have detrimental effects in people’s lives. By following recommended protocols, and pulling together, we hope to minimize some of these effects. Please keep those affected in your prayers. We continue to monitor the situation and how it affects the life and mission of First United. Please be safe and take care of yourselves!
 
First United Church, Wetaskiwin – April 5th,  2020 Palm Sunday
Using Google Chrome as your browser, you can use your cursor to highlight the link below and right click;  then click on “go to http:///” and it should take you to the video feed on our Facebook page.]
Apr. 5, 2020 Link
 
https://www.facebook.com/firstunitedwetaskiwin/videos/1061063170932387/?t=0