How to Observe Good Friday

By April 8, 2020 Pastor's Note

Every year Good Friday is an occasion to celebrate eternal life that is made possible by death. Don’t miss the glorious wonder of Christ’s crucifixion. The death of Christ stands at the center of history as the moment when the barrier between God and man was torn in two and access to our Heavenly Father was once again possible. Don’t waste the opportunity to meditate on the necessity of Christ’s sacrifice, the mystery of the atonement, and the wonder of Christ exchanging his innocence and glory for your sin and guilt.

While we won’t have a worship service this Friday there are still several ways you can celebrate Good Friday. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Fast

Fasting is an exceptional measure, designed to channel and express our desire for God and our holy discontent in a fallen world. – Habits of Grace David Mathis (Page 118)

On several occasions Jesus taught his disciples the importance of fasting. (See Matthew 6 and Matthew 9). The implication of these teachings is that Jesus expected his disciples would fast on occasion. That they would forgo some part of the normal life for a period of time for the express purpose of having a deeper desire for God.

Fasting is a way to express your desire for God and a reliance on him above all else. We most often think of fasting as not eating for some period of time. However, you can fast from any number of things. This Good Friday you might consider a fast from something, and spend your time in prayer. Here’s a few ideas of things to fast from:

Food

Whether you forgo all three meals in a day or choose just one fasting from food will very quickly help you see your dependance on food. But as the ache of hunger sits in your stomach pray that you would have a greater hunger for God and more dependance on him.

Netflix/TV

I am afraid to look at the screen time report on my phone this week. As we have continued to follow the stay at home order I have found it easy to turn to Netflix/Disney+/Hulu or any number of alternatives to fill my time. But entertainment and media have a way of taking up every spare second of our lives. Fasting from these forms of media for a day can help us see how much we are crowding out our lives with images on a screen, in turn we can pray and ask God for a renewed interest in reading his word so that we might be like a tree planted by the stream that can flourish.

News

This is an idea for this particular time. Our world is currently awash not only with a virus, but also an unending barrage of news, press conferences, updates, statistics, and stories about that virus. It can feel like the right thing to stay informed so that we know the best course of action to take. But consuming news non-stop can have the effect of creating anxiety as we realize events are beyond our control. Or on the flip side it may give us an increased self-assurance that we are in control, because we are well-informed and knowledgeable on the topic at hand. Consider taking a day without reading a single news story, Spend 24 hours unaware of how many confirmed cases there are in Illinois, the United States, and worldwide. Instead turn to God and trust in his sovereignty and goodness. Acknowledge that he remains in control of all creation. Meditate on the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood offered on the cross and rejoice in that salvation.

Fast with the EFCA

Kevin Kompelin the president of the EFCA has invited everyone in our denomination to participate in a lunchtime fast on Good Friday. EFCA Call to Prayer

2. Read

Good Friday is an excellent times to sit down and read through an entire book of the Bible in one sitting. Most books of the Bible are really not that long and can be read from start to finish fairly quickly.

One tradition that I have participated in for several years is reading through the book of Romans on the morning of Good Friday. There are a couple of reasons that I think Romans is a particularly good choice on this day.

First, Paul tells the entirety of the Salvation story throughout the book. Starting with God as creator, humans as sinful rebels, Christ as savior, and the Holy Spirit as one who brings new life Paul tells the story of the Bible in a compact way highlighting the drama of all that was accomplished on the cross. Romans is such a rich book that we often study it in small chunks but there is also great value in experiencing the book and the line of thinking that Paul follows in one sitting.

Secondly, Romans while longer than other epistles can still be read in about forty-five minutes to one hour. Of course each person reads at different speeds but in the years I have sat with groups to read through the book it takes around one hour, reading aloud, to work through the book. This may be longer than you typically take to read your Bible, but perhaps Good Friday this year is a good time to temporarily change your rhythm and spend more time meditating on God’s word.

3. Sing

Singing is both an expression of worship as well as an act of reminding our hearts of the truth found in Scripture. Perhaps you can set aside 10-15 minutes to sing praises to our God and to rejoice in the mystery and glory of God the Son crucified in our place. Some songs to consider:

  • How Deep the Father’s Love For Us by Stuart Townend
  • Nothing But the Blood by Robert Lowry
  • There is a Fountain by William Cowper
  • Murdered Son by John Mark McMillan

We are developing a liturgy that you can follow in your home built around these four songs and reading from two passages of scripture.

Access Liturgy

Spend this Good Friday worshipping God and reminding your own heart that though you were once a hopeless sinner we have been granted access to God through the blood of the lamb who was slain.

Nothing can for sin atone

Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Tim Schieck

Tim Schieck

Tim serves Our Saviour as an Assistant Pastor. He loves to dig deep into God’s Word and see it transform people. When Tim is not going on long walks on the beach he can be found playing golf.

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