The Good Friday service commemorates Jesus’ arrest, his trial, his crucifixion, and his death and burial. Taken out of context, we might not think about these events as “good.” However, if we understand them in terms of a “sin offering” or sacrifice; if we understand them in light of the resurrection and the saving work of Jesus, these events are indeed good.
The service begins with readings from scripture describing the agony of Christ’s crucifixion. These end with the dramatic reading of Jesus’ passion. We then pray for “all sorts and conditions of men,” remembering that Jesus took everything that we are praying for to the cross with him. Since communion is a celebration of thanksgiving, it is not observed on Good Friday. Good Friday is a day not of celebration, but of mourning, both for the death of Jesus and for the sins of the world that his death represents. Although Friday is a solemn time, it is not without its own joy. The veneration (adoration) of the cross will give us an opportunity to reflect on the true blessing of the cross and to thank Jesus for his sacrifice.