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Little Falls United Methodist Church 

Good Friday Tenebrae Service

March 29, 2024 – 7 PM


A Service of Tenebrae (Darkness) is based upon a 12th century late night and early morning service of worship and is an extended meditation on the passion of Christ.


Online Worship information is here:



Join in Online Worship Services during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday!

  • Good Friday Service at 7 pm on March 29, Friday at Sanctuary

  • Easter Sunrise Service at 6:30 am on March 31, Sunday in the front yard

  • Easter Sunday Worship at 10 am on March 31, Sunday at Sanctuary




Prepare yourself for Worship! 




Leader: Come, let us gather again in the shadow of the Cross of Christ.

All: We gather to remember the overwhelming evidence of Love’s ultimate sacrifice.

Leader: Who would have guessed that the height and depth, the length and width of God’s love might look like this:  a forsaken savior on a cross?

All: Certainly not us. Not us, who are too often lost amid the world’s distractions and responsibilities. Not us, for whom such love was offered without cost.

Leader: Let us gather again in the shadow of the Cross of Christ  and commit ourselves to remember the price paid. Let us live our lives in a way that indicates why  this Friday is called “Good.”

All: Thanks be to God, who opened the gates of heaven, that we might have the faith, hope, and love, witnessed in Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation.


OPENING HYMN            Lamb of God         TFWS 2113

Your only Son no sin to hide

But You have sent Him from Your side

To walk upon this guilty sod

And to become the Lamb of God

Your gift of love they crucified

They laughed and scorned Him as he died

The humble King they named a fraud

And sacrificed the Lamb of God


Oh Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God

I love the Holy Lamb of God

Oh wash me in His precious Blood

My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God


I was so lost I should have died

But You have brought me to Your side

To be led by Your staff and rod

And to be called a lamb of God


Oh Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God

I love the Holy Lamb of God

Oh wash me in His precious Blood

My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God




(from the Gospel of John, Chapters 18 and 19)




Reading 1:             John 18:1-18 (Arrest and Denial)                     by Pete Dewes


After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 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. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” 5 They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” 10 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. 11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

12 So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

15 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, 16 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. 17 The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 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.


Hymn:                 Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley               TFWS 2112 v1

Jesus walked this lonesome valley;

He had to walk it by himself.

Oh, nobody else could walk it for him;

He had to walk it by himself.


Reading 2:              John 18:19-40 (High Priests and Pilate)  by Xavier Williams


19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 Jesus answered, “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. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

28 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. 29 So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” 32 (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters[c] again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “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.” 37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “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.” 38 Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. 39 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?” 40 They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.


Hymn:                To Mock Your Reign UMH 285 v1,2

To mock your reign, O dearest Lord,

they made a crown of thorns;

set you with taunts along that road

from which no one returns.

They did not know, as we do now,

that glorious is your crown;

that thorns would flower upon your brow,

your sorrows heal our own.


In mock acclaim, O gracious Lord,

they snatched a purple cloak,

your passion turned, for all they cared,

into a soldier's joke.

They did not know, as we do now,

that though we merit blame

you will your robe of mercy throw

around our naked shame.


Reading 3:             John 19:1-16 (Jesus Sentenced to Death)                    by Janet Dewes


Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3 They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

8 Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. 9 He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “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.” 12 From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

13 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. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus;


Hymn:              What Wondrous Love is This                 UMH 292 v1,2

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!

What wondrous love is this, O my soul!

What wondrous love is this, That caused the Lord of bliss,

To bear the dreadful curse, for my soul, for my soul,

To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.


To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing!

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing!

To God and to the Lamb, Who is the great "I AM, "

While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing!

While millions join the theme, I will sing.


Reading 4:             John 19:17-30 (The Crucifixion of Jesus)            by Renee Niccollai 


17 and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 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. 21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 23 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. 24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

“They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

25 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. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29 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. 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Hymn:                 Beneath the Cross of Jesus          UMH 297 v1-2

  1. Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,

the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;

a home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,

from the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.


  1. Upon the cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see

the very dying form of One who suffered there for me;

and from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess:

the wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.


Reading 5:              John 19:31-37 (Jesus’ Side Pierced)                           by Ken Griffin


31 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. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35 (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36 These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” 37 And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

Hymn:       When I Survey the Wondrous Cross    UMH 298

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of Glory died

My richest gain I count but loss

And pour contempt on all my pride


Forbid me Lord that I should boast

Save in the death of Christ, my God

All the vain things that charm me most

I sacrifice them to His blood


See, from His head, His hands, His feet

Sorrow and love flow mingled down

Did e'er such love and Sorrow meet

Or thorns compose so rich a crown


Were the whole realm of nature mine

That were an offering far too small

Love so amazing, so divine

Demands my soul, my life, my all


MEDITATION               For You                  Rev. Jin Kook Kim


One day, a teenager asked me, “Why do we call the day Good Friday?” She would be curious about the title of the day, Good Friday, because it is a sad day that Jesus died on the cross, but we call it ‘Good’ Friday. The word ‘Good’ of ‘Good Friday’ means ‘Holy.’ We also call the day as Holy Friday. However, it is a good day also because it is the day when we are forgiven and have a new life in God through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross although it is sad that our loving Jesus died with pain and suffering for us.


Tonight, on Good Friday, we have gathered here to commemorate Jesus’ death on the cross. After he was arrested, he got through disgrace, insults, pain, and suffering in trials, in standing before the crowd, in carrying his cross to Golgotha, the hill, and on the cross. There was no mercy in the hands of people, the soldiers, the crowds, and the religious authorities when they treated Jesus as a criminal. In their sights, Jesus was just a criminal in society and the religious community. As you and I know, he was innocent, but he had endured everything including the great pain on the cross for us.


He died on the cross for us. He died on the cross to save us. He died on the cross to give us a new life. He died for us to forgive our sins instead of ourselves. Many people, even Christians don’t like the word, ‘sin.’ We would not like to hear that we were sinners and Jesus died because of our sins. We would think that our sins are not as much as Jesus should die for them when we judge ourselves by our own standards. However, we were sinners, and our sins were heavy as much as Jesus died on the cross.


I have read the chronological Bible that encouraged us to read at the beginning of the year. And I read the law of God in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. The law of God is not only about the regulation between God and us, but also the regulations between people, one another. According to the law, if you hurt someone, you commit sins to the person and to God too. So you have to pay it to the person following the law of God and you have to come to God to offer the sacrifice for the event to ask for God’s forgiveness. And God said, “If they don’t do that, let them be cut off from my people, Israel. Cutting off from God’s people means that they are not in God’s household, God’s blessings, God’s protection, God’s provision, and God’s promise anymore. Also, that means death to them. The law was very strict. According to God’s law, we are not free from the law and death at all. For this, we should accept the truth that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.


We usually intend to identify ourselves as good people in the Bible. Not many people want to identify themselves as bad people in the Bible. Are we always good people? Are we always doing the right things? Don’t we hurt others intentionally or unintentionally? Don’t we betray or deny God and God’s will? Last night, we considered Peter’s denial and Judas’ betrayal. Don’t we make the same mistake in our lives? Consider the parable of Jesus that a Pharisee and a tax collector came to God and prayed. The Pharisee prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ Who are we like? Are we like the Pharisee or the tax collector? 


Church family, whether we want or not, whether we recognize or not, whether we feel that or not, we were sinners, and our sins are heavy as much as we have to die. And Jesus died on the cross for us and instead of us, so we are forgiven, we are saved, and we have a new life. Not because of other people but for you and me, for each of us, Jesus died on the cross and gave us forgiveness from the cross. That means that even if you were the only one who was the only sinner, Jesus would choose to die on the cross to save you because Jesus loves you so much, and that much.


Church family, I pray that tonight we come God beneath the cross with the heart of the tax collector as the tax collector knew his sin and asked for God’s mercy. Considering Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, let us give thanks to Jesus who sacrificed himself for us instead of us, and let us ask for God’s mercy with humble hearts. Amen.






Luke 23:34     “Father forgive them.”     

Luke 23:43     “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

John 19:26-27  “Woman, here is your son.” “Here is your mother.”

John 19:28       “I thirst.”

Matthew 27:46  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

John 19:30        “It is finished.”

Luke 23:46       “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”


CLOSING HYMN             Were You There       UMH 288

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. 

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 


Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? 

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? 

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. 

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? 


Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. 

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? 


Were you there when the sun refused to shine? 

Were you there when the sun refused to shine? 

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. 

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?


Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? 

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? 

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. 

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? 


CLOSING SCRIPTURE    John 19:38-42 (The Burial of Jesus)


38 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. 39 Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 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. 42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.



(While traditions differ, tonight the bell is tolled 7 times

in recognition of the last seven last words of Jesus.)


There will be no music or noise of any kind following the chimes. 

Remain in prayer and meditation as long as you like.

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