Over the decades I have celebrated Good Friday. The services where I have joined other Christians have ranged from somber to joyous. Today I will lead a combined churches’ communion time in our service.
Here is a part of the text that will lead into that service:
Today’s communion is the most unusual communion service that can be imagined.
The original communion service, held on what we call Maundy Thursday, took place on the night that Jesus was betrayed.
BEFORE he was betrayed. There was still the lingering possibility in the mind of the disciples that Christ would take on His kingship. Jesus could still become the earthly king of the Jews.
Add a few hours and now Jesus is dead. The hopes of the kingdom are dashed. There is no hope on Good Friday – at least from the perspective of those around the cross. The memories of last night’s meal, of the covenant that should have signaled a new kingdom now lies in ruin.
If you were to take the meal right now, at the foot of the cross – to retake the meal – as we do today, what would it be like? All of the surrounding indications are that this meal is a just a fanciful ritual – not much else. Jesus is dead!
A pastor friend of mine often lamented our happy Good Friday services. He felt we skipped over our sins, and the burden of the cross way too easily – jumping to the resurrection way too quickly. Without the resurrection, we will and we should struggle. He lamented and wept, quite literally, when he walked through Good Friday. How deep is our sin that put Jesus on the cross? How humbled are we that we cannot be our own rescuer? How loving is our God who does not spare His own Son?
Lets hold the bread and retain the cup for a moment. For just a second or so, consider yourself at the foot of the cross.
Can Good Friday truly be a good Friday? All you have left is a promise. We are told our life will come from Christ’s broken body. Our sins will be forgiven through Christ’s shed blood. Jesus came for you! Jesus died for you! That is the promise that you cling to right now when everything looks black.
Maybe you are looking around you today and life is difficult. You are shriveled and struggling with the accusations of the evil one, with the burden of your own infirmities, with a spiritual life that needs revitalized.
Christ can change you! Will you believe?
That’s what this table asks of you. Come believing in Christ’s power and authority. Come believing that His death was for you!
. . . On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. [I Cor. 11:23-26, NLT]