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Lent, day 35 – Good Friday

Rector’s Evening Prayer for Good Friday & Easter Saturday
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
A Response:
Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us. Amen.

Scripture Reading:
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” The Death of Jesus It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. The Burial of Jesus Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
A Short Reflection
I watched the film ‘The Greatest Story ever told’ at my school Scripture Union in 1985 aged just thirteen. I remember the scene with the centurion (John Wayne) who said in his American accent ‘Truly this was the Son of God’.
To see this strong brave centurion come to the realisation of what had been done to Jesus, who was no ordinary man, made a big impression on me. I have never forgotten that scene.
The legend says that this soldier was Longinus whose sight was restored by the blood of Christ on the cross. Legend also has it that Longinus was the guard who stood watch at the Sepulchre, but he would not lie for the Romans and say the disciples had taken away the body. He was subsequently baptised by the apostles and left military service, returning to his home region of Cappadocia as a preacher. The Jewish elders persuaded Pilate to send a company of soldiers to kill Longinus and his comrades. The martyrs were beheaded and Longinus’ head sent back to Pilate.
Longinus is remembered in the extra-biblical material as one of the earliest martyrs of the faith. So convinced was he that ‘truly this was the Son of God’ that he left military service to become a preacher of Christ crucified.
As we gaze afresh at the narrative of Jesus’ death on the cross, it is my prayer that we are able to say from our hearts ‘Truly this is the Son of God’; such belief should set us on the road of making Christ known!
Silence for Reflection: ‘Truly this man was the Son of God’.
A Response
From bad to good,
From dark to light
From brokenness to eternal delight.
Jesus the light of the world forever shining into the hearts of all who will come to him. Amen.

A Canticle (Truly this man IS the Son of God)
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation; Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel. Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit.
Prayer for the Evening in Passiontide
Lord Jesus, you bled in pain as the nails were driven into your flesh:
transform through the mystery of your love the pain of those who suffer.
Lord Jesus, you died on the cross and entered the bleakest of all circumstances:
give courage to those who die at the hands of others.
In death you entered into the darkest place of all:
illumine our darkness with your glorious presence.
To you, Jesus, our crucified Lord,
To you, Jesus, your lifeless body hanging on the tree of shame,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

O God from whom all holy desires all good judgements and all just works proceed: Give to your servants that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey your commandments, and that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may pass our time in rest and quietness; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

Lighten our darkness, O Lord, we pray and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Grant, O Lord, that the word which we hear this day may so take root in our hearts, that we, living in accordance with your holy will, may ever praise and magnify your glorious name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Night-time Benediction
Grant Lord God that in my sleep I will find rest, until the morning hour is come;
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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