St. John's & Zion Lutheran Churches

Tenebrae Service for Good Friday

Opening Hymn: “Upon The Cross Extended” (CW 113)

Upon the cross extended, See, world, your Lord suspended;
Your Savior yields his breath.
The Prince of life from heaven Himself has freely given
To shame and blows and bitter death.

How God at our transgression To anger gives expression,
How loud his thunders roll,
How fearfully he smites him, How sorely he requites him –
All this your suff’rings teach my soul.

‘Tis I who should be smitten, My doom should here be written:
Bound hand and foot in hell.
The fetters and the scourging, The floods around you surging,
‘Tis I who have deserved them well.

A crown of thorns you’re wearing, My shame and scorn you’re bearing
That I might ransomed be.
My bondsman, ever willing, My place with patience filling,
From sin and guilt has made me free.

Your cords of love, my Savior, Bind me to you forever;
I am no longer mine.
To you I gladly tender All that my life can render
And all I have to you resign.


Gospel Reading: John 19:17-30

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others – one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


Choir: “Truly This Was God’s Son”

The soldiers gathered ‘round this Man who was sentenced now to die.
“Hail to the King!” they jeered at Him with shouts of “Crucify!”
A crown of thorns placed on His head, they mocked His Deity.
They placed a cross upon His back as he walked to Calvary.
Truly, this was God’s holy Son, convicted and sentenced to be crucified.
Truly, this was God’s chosen One, teacher, redeemer, servant and friend.
Truly, this was God’s Son.

They nailed Him to a wooden cross to die a crim’nal’s death.
They scorned Him in His final hours as He labored for each breath.
“My God, have You forsake Me?” He cried in agony,
And then He breathed a final breath and died upon that tree.
Truly, this was God’s holy Son, convicted, condemned and now crucified.
Truly, this was God’s chosen One, teacher, redeemer, servant and friend.
Truly, this was God’s Son.

The wind grew chill upon that hill, the sky turned dark as night.
God’s plan revealed, salvation sealed by Christ, the crucified.

Truly, this was God’s holy Son, convicted, condemned and now crucified.
Truly, this was God’s chosen One, teacher, redeemer, servant and friend.
Truly, this was God’s Son. Truly, this was God’s Son.


Psalm 2 (read responsively)

Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together
against the LORD and against his Anointed One.
“Let us break their chains,” they say,
“and throw off their fetters.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will rule them with an iron scepter;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

The first candle is extinguished.

Silence for meditation.

Psalm 22 (read by Pastor)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.
But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him — may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn — for he has done it.

The second candle is extinguished.

Silence for meditation.
Psalm 27 (read responsively)

The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

The third candle is extinguished.

Silence for meditation.

Hymn: “Oh, Perfect Life of Love” (CW 138)

Oh, perfect life of love! All, all is finished now,
All that he left his throne above To do for us below.

No work is left undone Of all the Father willed;
His toil, his sorrows, one by one, The Scriptures have fulfilled.
No pain that we can share But he has felt its smart;
All forms of human grief and care
Have pierced that tender heart.

And on his thorn-crowned head And on his sinless soul
Our sins in all their guilt were laid
That he might make us whole.

In perfect love he dies; For me he dies, for me!
O all-atoning Sacrifice, You died to make me free!

In ev’ry time of need, Before the judgment throne,
Your works, O Lamb of God, I’ll plead,
Your merits, not my own.

The fourth candle is extinguished.

Silence for meditation.

Lection: Lamentations 1:1-5

How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave. Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress. The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed feasts. All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, her maidens grieve, and she is in bitter anguish. Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe.

C: (sung)
O sacred head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down
Now scornfully surrounded, With thorns your only crown
O sacred head, no glory Now from your face does shine;
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call you mine.

Lection: Lamentations 1:6-9

All the splendor has departed from the Daughter of Zion. Her princes are like deer that find no pasture; in weakness they have fled before the pursuer. In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction. Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans and turns away. Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. “Look, O LORD, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.”
C: (sung)
My burden in your passion, Lord, you have borne for me,
For it was my transgression, My shame, on Calvary.
I cast me down before you; Wrath is my rightful lot.
Have mercy, I implore you; Redeemer, spurn me not!

Lection: Lamentations 1:10-14

The enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary—those you had forbidden to enter your assembly. All her people groan as they search for bread; they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive. “Look, O LORD, and consider, for I am despised.” “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger? “From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones. He spread a net for my feet and turned me back. He made me desolate, faint all the day long. “My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have come upon my neck and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has handed me over to those I cannot withstand.

C: (sung)
Lord, be my consolation, My shield when I must die;
Remind me of your passion
When my last hour draws nigh.
My eyes will then behold you, Upon your cross will dwell;
My heart will then enfold you —
Who dies in faith dies well!

Sermon Text: But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:11-14)

1. Our Great High Priest Enters A Better Sanctuary
2. Our Great High Priest Offered A Better Sacrifice
3. Our Great High Priest Inspires Us To Better Service

Hymn: “Lamb Of God, Pure And Holy” (CW 268)

Lamb of God, pure and holy,
Who on the cross did suffer,
Ever patient and lowly,
Yourself to scorn did offer.
All sins you carried for us,
Else had despair reigned o’er us:
Have mercy on us, O Jesus!

Lamb of God, pure and holy,
Who on the cross did suffer,
Ever patient and lowly,
Yourself to scorn did offer.
All sins you carried for us,
Else had despair reigned o’er us:
Have mercy on us, O Jesus!

Lamb of God, pure and holy,
Who on the cross did suffer,
Ever patient and lowly,
Yourself to scorn did offer.
All sins you carried for us,
Else had despair reigned o’er us:
Your peace be with us, O Jesus!

The fifth candle is extinguished.

Silence for meditation.


Lord’s Prayer
C: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.


Psalm 51 (read by Pastor)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
The sixth candle is extinguished.
Prayer of the Day

Heavenly Father, you are a just God who accepts nothing less than perfection. All too often we fail to realize how much our sins offend you. We forget that the wages of sin truly is death. We forget that there actually is a hell. Lead us to recognize the seriousness of our sinfulness. Lead us also to admit our inability to make things right with you.
Teach us to look to you as the only one who can make us just and right.
Today we are reminded not only of your justice but also of your love. You did not spare your own Son but gave him as a ransom for each one of us. Comfort us with the knowledge of this great love. Give us the peace that the forgiveness of sins brings.
When we feel our guilt, point us to the cross, where our guilt was washed away in Jesus’ blood.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for paying the debt that we could not pay. We thank you for coming to earth so that we could be with you forever in heaven.
For being our perfect substitute, we thank you, Lord Jesus.
Son of God, you offered up your body as an unblemished sacrifice for sin and commended your spirit into the hands of your Father. Teach us to cast the cares of this brief life on our heavenly Father and commit our bodies and souls to his love.
Give us the courage to face death, knowing that it is the gate to our home in heaven.
Hear us, Lord, as we offer our personal thanks for the forgiveness that you have given us and for the home that you have won for us.

Silent prayer.

The cross was once an instrument of death. It is now a sign of life.
Dear Savior, we humbly kneel at the cross in awe of your power and of your love. Amen.

The Blessing

May Jesus Christ, who for our sake became obedient unto death, even death on a cross, keep you and strengthen you this night and forever. Amen.

Closing Hymn: “Rest, O Christ, From All Your Labor” (CWS 718)

Rest, O Christ, from all your labor;
Sleep within your borrowed tomb.
Foes have crucified and bound you
Fast within death’s narrow room.
Pilate’s guards stand watching, waiting
Where they rolled the sealing stone.
All unseen another watches: God will not forsake his own.

Peace at last from all your anguish,
Wounds in hands and feet and side.
Enemies no longer mock you,
Scourged, abandoned, crucified.
Faithful women gather spices,
Weep for you whom sin has slain.
Though they mourn, the God who guards you
Will not let your death be vain.

Help us keep this solemn Sabbath
As we wait for Easter dawn.
Earth’s dark night of sin is passing;
Death’s long reign will soon be gone.
Christ, in whom the new creation
Rises brighter than the sun:
May we, as we watch for morning,
Trust the vict’ry you have won.

As through parting Red Sea waters
Israel marched to liberty,
So we pass through baptism’s water,
Washed by grace, from sin set free.
Jesus, risen, living, reigning
Now and through eternity:
Grant that, through your life undying,
We may live victoriously.

The seventh candle is extinguished, and the church is left in darkness. After a period of silence, the seventh candle is rekindled in the chancel. The congregation leaves in silence.