It is a day on which many dramatic re-enactments take place around the world of Jesus’ crucifixion. We may take part in our own local procession of the corss. It’s also a day on which quieter, three-hour reflections take place, sometimes with much silence, a few readings and reflective music, and minimal singing. Other churches host concerts of sacred music.
However we mark Good Friday, often it is a day on which worship leaders take particular trouble to match the mood and themes of remembrance, suffering and boundless love with a different style of worship from that which we normally experience.
In addition to our lectionary suggestions, two more ideas come from very different traditions and can be found in the Covenant, Commitment and Dedication section of the hymn book. Both hymns are striking in their simplicity. Both reflect the idea that our only really valid response to the love Jesus demonstrates from the cross is to commit our own lives back to him.
Giving it all to you (StF 551) by Crewe-born Pentecostal singer Geraldine Latty places us quite clearly in front of the cross: “kneeling before your cross, / giving it all to you”. It’s a song that works equally well with a praise band or a solo keyboard accompaniment.
In another of Geraldine’s songs included in Singing the Faith, she is more explicit about the kind of love to which we are responding: “You are beautifully different”, she writes of the God she worships. “You are gracious in your thoughts. / You’re the friend who’s proven faithful, / you are love laid down for us.” (Worship God with the morning sunrise, StF 68).
The repeated musical phrases of “Giving it all to you” are unobtrusively meditative; this is a simple prayer for simple worship. The same can be said of Here am I, Lord (StF 552), which comes from the Northumbria Community.
Here am I, Lord,
I’ve come to do your will;
here am I, Lord,
in your presence I am still.
“Here am I, Lord” works well as a sung response woven into spoken prayers or sung a number of times with periods of silence in between. Singing the Faith offers a simple four part version of the music, but you may wish to try singing the melody line only unaccompanied, or with a simple guitar accompaniment.