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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Home Worship for Good Friday

Home Worship for Good Friday

April 10, 2020

Watch the Livestream at

Friday at 5:00 p.m. (or anytime afterward)


I am posting this worship service online because we at St. Matthew's Church in Savannah are unable to gather together in person this week. The Governor of Georgia and President of the U.S.A. have declared states of public health emergency due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak. Public health officials recommend avoiding large gatherings of people to avoid spreading the illness to more vulnerable people. Therefore, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia has ordered all parishes in our diocese to suspend in-person worship.

At 5:00 p.m. on Friday evening, I will broadcast the following worship service using Facebook Live at After the service concludes, you can re-watch it at any time.

Today’s service is a “Liturgy of the Word,” very similar to the first part of the Holy Eucharist from The Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer. In keeping with church tradition, I will empty the Tabernacle of all the Reserved Sacrament (the Body and Blood of Christ among us). This symbolizes Jesus' death for us between Good Friday and Easter morning. The Tabernacle will remain empty until the Easter Vigil on Sunday at 6:00 a.m.

With the exception of receiving communion, you may read these prayers together in church or at home, as individuals or in small groups, while watching the live stream video or at another time. You do not need a clergy person present to say these prayers. Page numbers from The Book of Common Prayer are listed in parentheses after each section heading using the abbreviation “BCP." The written text of my sermon is included below.

May God protect you from this virus and protect the most vulnerable among us. May we be God’s hands and feet of compassion and service to all in need during this time. Amen.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

The Proper Liturgy for Good Friday

The Collect of the Day (BCP, p. 276)

Blessed be our God.

Forever and ever. Amen.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (52:13-53:12)

See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at him--so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals--so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.

Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Psalm 22 (BCP, p. 610)

Read responsively by half-verse.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? * and are so far from my cry and from the words of my distress?

2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; * by night as well, but I find no rest.

3 Yet you are the Holy One, * enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4 Our forefathers put their trust in you; * they trusted, and you delivered them.

5 They cried out to you and were delivered; * they trusted in you and were not put to shame.

6 But as for me, I am a worm and no man, * scorned by all and despised by the people.

7 All who see me laugh me to scorn; * they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,

8 "He trusted in the Lord; let him deliver him; * let him rescue him, if he delights in him."

9 Yet you are he who took me out of the womb, * and kept me safe upon my mother's breast.

10 I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born; * you were my God when I was still in my mother's womb.

11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, * and there is none to help.

12 Many young bulls encircle me; * strong bulls of Bashan surround me.

13 They open wide their jaws at me, * like a ravening and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water; all my bones are out of joint; * my heart within my breast is melting wax.

15 My mouth is dried out like a pot-sherd; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; * and you have laid me in the dust of the grave.

16 Packs of dogs close me in, and gangs of evildoers circle around me; * they pierce my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones.

17 They stare and gloat over me; * they divide my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing.

18 Be not far away, O Lord; * you are my strength; hasten to help me.

19 Save me from the sword, * my life from the power of the dog.

20 Save me from the lion's mouth, * my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls.

21 I will declare your Name to my brethren; * in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

22 Praise the Lord, you that fear him; * stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel; all you of Jacob's line, give glory.

23 For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty; neither does he hide his face from them; * but when they cry to him he hears them.

24 My praise is of him in the great assembly; * I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.

25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and those who seek the Lord shall praise him: * "May your heart live for ever!"

26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, * and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.

27 For kingship belongs to the Lord; * he rules over the nations.

28 To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; * all who go down to the dust fall before him.

29 My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; * they shall be known as the Lord's for ever.

30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn * the saving deeds that he has done. 

A Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews (4:14-16; 5:7-9)

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. … In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

LEVAS #37: “Were You There?” (Verses 1-3 only)

1. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

2. Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

3. Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. John (18:1-19:42)

Specific roles are assigned to different people, the congregation taking the part of the crowd.

NARRATOR: Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them,

JESUS: "Whom are you looking for?"

NARRATOR: They answered,

PRIESTS AND POLICE: "Jesus of Nazareth."

NARRATOR: Jesus replied,

JESUS: "I am he."

NARRATOR: Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, "I am he," they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them,

JESUS: "Whom are you looking for?"

NARRATOR: And they said,

PRIESTS AND POLICE: "Jesus of Nazareth."

NARRATOR: Jesus answered,

JESUS: "I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go."

NARRATOR: This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, "I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me." Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter,

JESUS: "Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?"

NARRATOR: So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people. Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter,

WOMAN: "You are not also one of this man's disciples, are you?"

NARRATOR: He said,

PETER: "I am not."

NARRATOR: Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself. Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered,

JESUS: "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said."

NARRATOR: When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying,

POLICE: "Is that how you answer the high priest?"

NARRATOR: Jesus answered,

JESUS: "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"

NARRATOR: Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him,

POLICE: "You are not also one of his disciples, are you?"

NARRATOR: He denied it and said,

PETER: "I am not."

NARRATOR: One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked,

SLAVE: "Did I not see you in the garden with him?"

NARRATOR: Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed. Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate's headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said,

PILATE: "What accusation do you bring against this man?"

NARRATOR: They answered,

PRIESTS AND POLICE: "If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you."

NARRATOR: Pilate said to them,

PILATE: "Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law."

NARRATOR: The Jews replied,

PRIESTS AND POLICE: "We are not permitted to put anyone to death."

NARRATOR: (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.) Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him,

PILATE: "Are you the King of the Jews?"

NARRATOR: Jesus answered,

JESUS: "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?"

NARRATOR: Pilate replied,

PILATE: "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?"

NARRATOR: Jesus answered,

JESUS: "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here."

NARRATOR: Pilate asked him,

PILATE: "So you are a king?"

NARRATOR: Jesus answered,

JESUS: "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

NARRATOR: Pilate asked him,

PILATE: "What is truth?"

NARRATOR: After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them,

PILATE: "I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?"

NARRATOR: They shouted in reply,

CROWD: "Not this man, but Barabbas!"

NARRATOR: Now Barabbas was a bandit. Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying,

SOLDIERS: "Hail, King of the Jews!"

NARRATOR: and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them,

PILATE: "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him."

NARRATOR: So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them,

PILATE: "Here is the man!"

NARRATOR: When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted,

CROWD: "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

NARRATOR: Pilate said to them,

PILATE: "Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him."

NARRATOR: The Jews answered him,

CROWD: "We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God."

NARRATOR: Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus,

PILATE: "Where are you from?"

NARRATOR: But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to him,

PILATE: "Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?"

NARRATOR: Jesus answered him,

JESUS: "You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."

NARRATOR: From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out,

CROWD: "If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor."

NARRATOR: When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge's bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews,

PILATE: "Here is your King!"

NARRATOR: They cried out,

CROWD: "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!"

NARRATOR: Pilate asked them,

PILATE: "Shall I crucify your King?"

NARRATOR: The chief priests answered,

PRIESTS: "We have no king but the emperor."

NARRATOR: Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.

(At the mention of Golgotha, all stand as able.)

NARRATOR: There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,

PRIESTS: "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'"

NARRATOR: Pilate answered,

PILATE: "What I have written I have written."

NARRATOR: When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another,

SOLDIERS: "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it."

NARRATOR: This was to fulfill what the scripture says, "They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots." And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother,

JESUS: "Woman, here is your son."

NARRATOR: Then he said to the disciple,

JESUS: "Here is your mother."

NARRATOR: And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture),

JESUS: "I am thirsty."

NARRATOR: A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said,

JESUS: "It is finished."

NARRATOR: Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. [Silence] Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, "None of his bones shall be broken." And again another passage of scripture says, "They will look on the one whom they have pierced." After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

The Sermon

"Crown of Thorns" by Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and striking him on the face.” (John 19:1-3, New Revised Standard Version [NRSV])

According to church tradition, the crown of thorns that these soldiers put on Jesus’ head was made of branches from the jujube tree (Ziziphus spina-christi, which is translated “The Christ’s thorn jujube”). Jujube trees are evergreens that are very common in and around Jerusalem and “reach heights of fifteen to twenty feet” (Logue & Logue, 167). The branches are crooked, with thorns that grow in pairs, one straight out and another that curves into a hook (Ibid., 167). These sinister-looking thorny branches would have been very painful to place in a ring around someone’s head. The hook-like spines can dig into skin and cause deep wounds.

From the outside, this tree seems like it can only cause harm. But, if you look past the thorny exterior, the jujube tree is actually very useful medicinally. According to Frank and Victoria Logue, “Different parts of the tree are known to help with chest and stomach problems, bone fractures, hair care, and the reduction of boils and abscesses” (Ibid., 167-168). The jujube tree was used to make balm and creams that you would rub on bruises or injuries to speed up recovery. It’s one of nature’s hidden secrets that the nastiest-looking plants can often have the gentlest properties.

That bring us to a great irony and tragedy: “The crown Jesus was forced to wear in order to mock him and cause him physical pain could also have been used as a balm to relieve that pain” (Ibid., 168). Instead of hurting him, the soldiers could have healed him. But, like many people, when faced with an opportunity to do mercy and kindness, they chose violence. In this way, the crown of thorns, made from the jujube tree, is a perfect symbol for Jesus’ crucifixion.

The Prophet Isaiah writes, “It was certainly our sickness that he carried, and our sufferings that he bore, but we thought him afflicted, struck down by God and tormented. He was pierced because of our rebellions and crushed because of our crimes. He bore the punishment that made us whole; by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5, Common English Bible [CEB]).

If we interpret Isaiah’s words in light of Jesus, it all starts to come together. The jujube tree was used to inflict violence when it could have brought healing. Likewise, Jesus was the Great Physician, the Healer of the world, but people didn’t accept him. Instead we rejected him, beat him, pierced him, and killed him. He didn’t do anything to deserve that—quite the opposite. His contemporaries looks down on him and thought that God had struck him down and tormented him. But God didn’t cause Jesus to suffer. Sinful humanity did. He accepted punishment for our crimes and took on our sickness, but never faltered. He never sinned. He bore it all with love in his heart and his body. And “by his wounds, we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, CEB).

Jesus experienced the absolute worst that humankind could offer. He didn’t just live; he died. He didn’t just die; he suffered. He didn’t just suffer; he was mocked. The crown of thorns was meant to shame him for foolishly accepting the title “King of the Jews.” From the human perspective, on the ground, he didn’t deserve that title. Kings don’t get crucified. But from God’s perspective, “God highly honored him and gave him a name above all names, so that at the name of Jesus everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11, CEB).

Jesus is not just King of the Jews, but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is our suffering servant, our Messiah and Savior. He is able to take the suffering and humiliation of the cross, the embarrassment of the crown of thorns, and invert them. Instad of being defeated by our cruelty, he heals us with it. “By his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, CEB). The great spiritual refers to the Prophet Jeremiah (8:22; 46:11) when it says of Jesus, “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul” (Lift Every Voice and Sing II, #203).

The Solemn Collects (BCP, pp. 277-280)

Dear People of God: Our heavenly Father sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved; that all who believe in him might be delivered from the power of sin and death, and become heirs with him of everlasting life.

We pray, therefore, for people everywhere according to their needs, reverently kneeling.

The biddings are read by a person appointed. The Celebrant says the Collects after each moment of silence.

Let us pray for the holy Catholic Church of Christ throughout the world:

For its unity in witness and service; For all bishops and other ministers and the people whom they serve; For Scott, our Bishop, Frank, our Bishop-Elect, and all the people of this diocese; For all Christians in this community; For those about to be baptized;

That God will confirm his Church in faith, increase it in love, and preserve it in peace.


Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us pray for all nations and peoples of the earth, and for those in authority among them:

For Donald, the President of the United States; For the Congress and the Supreme Court; For the Members and Representatives of the United Nations; For all who serve the common good;

That by God’s help they may seek justice and truth, and live in peace and concord.


Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquility your dominion may increase, until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray for all who suffer and are afflicted in body or in mind:

For the hungry and the homeless, the destitute and the oppressed; For the sick, the wounded, and the disabled; For those in loneliness, fear, and anguish; For those who face temptation, doubt, and despair; For the sorrowful and bereaved; For prisoners and captives, and those in mortal danger;

That God in his mercy will comfort and relieve them, and grant them the knowledge of his love, and stir up in us the will and patience to minister to their needs.


Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray for all who have not received the Gospel of Christ:

For those who have never heard the word of salvation; For those who have lost their faith; For those hardened by sin or indifference; For the contemptuous and the scornful; For those who are enemies of the cross of Christ and persecutors of his disciples; For those who in the name of Christ have persecuted others

That God will open their hearts to the truth, and lead them to faith and obedience.


Merciful God, creator of all the peoples of the earth and lover of souls: Have compassion on all who do not know you as you are revealed in your Son Jesus Christ; let your Gospel be preached with grace and power to those who have not heard it; turn the hearts of those who resist it; and bring home to your fold those who have gone astray; that there may be one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us commit ourselves to our God, and pray for the grace of a holy life, that, with all who have departed this world and have died in the peace of Christ, and those whose faith is known to God alone, we may be accounted worthy to enter into the fullness of the joy of our Lord, and receive the crown of life in the day of resurrection.


O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Veneration of the Cross (BCP, pp. 281)

The ministers will carry the cross to the front of the Church, reciting the following Anthems. All then pray silently. The people are invited to come forward to kneel before, touch, or kiss the cross as an act of prayer and reverence.

Anthem 1

We glory in your cross, O Lord,

And praise and glorify your holy resurrection;

For by virtue of your cross joy has come to the whole world.

May God be merciful to us and bless us,

Show the light of his countenance, and come to us.

Let your ways be known upon earth,

Your saving health among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;

Let all the peoples praise you.

We glory in your cross, O Lord,

And praise and glorify your holy resurrection;

For by virtue of your cross joy has come to the whole world.

A Period of Silence

LEVAS #38: “The Old Rugged Cross”

1 On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,

The emblem of suff’ring and shame;

and I love that old cross where the dearest and best

For a world of lost sinners was slain.


So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,

Till my trophies at last I lay down;

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

And exchange it some day for a crown.

2 Oh, that old rugged cross so despised by the world,

Has a wondrous attraction for me;

For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above,

To bear it to dark Calvary.

3 In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,

A wondrous beauty I see;

For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,

To pardon and sanctify me.

4 To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,

Its shame and reproach gladly bear;

Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,

where His glory forever I’ll share.

The Confession of Sin

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.


  • · In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bishop of Georgia has determined that our parishes should remain closed until at least Easter Day (April 12, 2020). Below is the worship schedule for Holy Week (via Facebook Live):

  1. Holy Saturday (4/11): Morning Prayer & Holy Saturday Liturgy @ 9:30 a.m.

  2. Easter Day (4/12): Sunrise Easter Vigil with Holy Communion @ 6:00 a.m.; And/or

  3. Watch Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry preach an Easter sermon from the Washington National Cathedral at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, 4/12/2020 at

  • Many people are already feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, including the church. We still need your support to pay our staff, pay our bills, and provide for these online live streams. If you pledged a donation in 2020, please continue making those contributions. If you have not pledged, please consider donating to St. Matthew’s now and in the future. There are several ways to give, but the simplest are these: (1) Mail us a check or money order at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 1401 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd, Savannah, GA 31415; OR (2) Make a secure online gift to St. Matthew’s and/or automate future gifts at:; OR (3) Text “stmattsav” to 73256 to make a secure online donation through your phone.

The Offertory (BCP, p. 376)

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)

Make a secure online gift to St. Matthew’s at:

Offertory: Hymn #168 – O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded (vv. 1-3, 5)

1. O sacred head, sore wounded, defiled and put to scorn;

O kingly head, surrounded with mocking crown of thorn:

What sorrow mars thy grandeur? Can death thy bloom deflower?

O countenance whose splendor the hosts of heaven adore!

2. Thy beauty, long-desired, hath vanished from our sight;

thy power is all expired, and quenched the light of light.

Ah me! for whom thou diest, hide not so far thy grace:

show me, O Love most highest, the brightness of thy face.

3. In thy most bitter passion my heart to share doth cry,

with thee for my salvation upon the cross to die.

Ah, keep my heart thus moved to stand thy cross beneath,

to mourn thee, well-beloved, yet thank thee for thy death.

5. My days are few, O fail not, with thine immortal power,

to hold me that I quail not in death's most fearful hour;

that I may fight befriended, and see in my last strife

to me thine arms extended upon the cross of life.

The Lord’s Prayer

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name, your kingdom come, your 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, for ever and ever. Amen.

Communion from the Reserved Sacrament & Emptying of the Tabernacle

LEVAS #30: “At The Cross” (vv. 1-3, 5)

1 Alas! and did my Savior bleed,

and did my Sov’reign die?

Would He devote that sacred head

for sinners such as I?

2 Was it for crimes that I have done,

He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity! Grace unknown!

And love beyond degree!


At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light,

and the burden of my heart rolled away;

it was there by faith I received my sight,

and now I am happy all the day.

3 Well might the sun in darkness hide,

and shut its glories in;

when God, the mighty maker,

died for His own creature’s sin.

5 But drops of tears can ne’er repay

the debt of love I owe;

Here, Lord, I give myself away;

’tis all that I can do.

The Concluding Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life and glory; for with the Father and Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

All leave the Church in silence.

Note: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer (1979), The Hymnal 1982, and Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (1993). The Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.

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