We gather in stillness today to hear of Christ’s suffering on the cross. As we do, pray for the Church, the world, and for those of other faiths and no faith, remembering Jesus’ mercy and compassion for all the world. 

While we read, scripture from the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John we will extinguish candles as Christ’s closest followers and others along the way abandon Him. The large candle, the Christ candle, is extinguished last, representing the three days in the tomb. We ask the congregation to leave the sanctuary in silence at the end of the worship service.

led by Cynthia

from Isaiah 53
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 the 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.

Surely he has born 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.

verses 1 and 2
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?

Covenant Hymnal #240

Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

L: Let us pray.
All: Lord Jesus, On this day You carried our sins in Your own body on the tree so that we might live. May we, and all who remember this day, find new life in You, both now and in the world to come. Meet with us as we keep tonight’s vigil together, and speak to our hearts as our ears hear the record of Your conquering love.   Amen.

Verses 1, 2, and 4

Kind and merciful God, we have sinned in Your sight,
We have all wandered far from Your way;
We have followed desire, we have failed to aspire
To the virtue we ought to display.

Kind and merciful God, we’ve neglected Your Word
And the truth that would guide us aright;
We have lived in the shade of the dark we have made,
When You willed us to walk in the light.

Kind and merciful God, in Christ’s death on the cross
You provided a cleansing from sin;
Speak the words that forgive that henceforth we may live
By the might of Your Spirit within.

Covenant Hymnnal #358

(During the singing of the hymn, the altar will be stripped and the candles lit.)


Luke 23:26-34
As they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A great number of the people followed Him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for Him. 28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide His clothing.

Psalm 22:1-5, 7-8
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.
Yet You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In You our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and You delivered them.
To You they cried, and were saved; in You they trusted, and were not put to shame.
All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
Commit your cause to the Lord; let Him deliver- let Him rescue the one in whom He delights!

led by Erin and Hannah, congregation sings together
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

CCLI Song # 1558110 Stuart Townend
© 1995 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

John 19:25b-27
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.

Matthew 27:45-54
 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” 47 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This Man is calling for Elijah.” 48 At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to Him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” 50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed His last.[r] 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After His resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this Man was God’s Son!”

Led by the choir, congregation to join on the third verse
O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thy only crown;
How art Thou pale with anguish,
With sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
Which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered
Was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
‘Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
Vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever;
And, should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love to Thee.

John 19:28
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. 


Leader: Lord, we remember the words of the apostle, when he wrote: “Do your best to preserve the unity that binds you together. There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. There is one God and Father of all, who is the Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.”
People: But Lord, we are slow to learn. We dwell on our differences and refuse to see our similarities.
We suffer from a worldly mind that mistakens zeal that fuels religious pride.
Lord, forgive us. Make us one in our eagerness to put aside differences and speak together the good news.
Make us one, in concern for the poor, the hurt, the downtrodden, the lost.
ALL: Make us one in our living Head, Jesus Christ, in our faithfulness to Him, who never fails us, and who will one day come to gather all who claim Him as Lord. Amen.

led by the choir, congregation to join the second time
Christ, we do all adore Thee,
And we do praise Thee forever;
Christ, we do all adore Thee,
And we do praise Thee forever,
For on the holy cross hast Thou
The world from sin redeemed.
Christ, we do all adore Thee,
And we do praise Thee forever.

Luke 23:44-49
 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. 47 When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this Man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. 49 But all His acquaintances, including the women who had followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

SILENCE The Christ candle is extinguished.

John 19:38-42
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.

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.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down;
When I was sinking down, sinking down;
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul;
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

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

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free,
I’ll sing and joyful be,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Covenant Hymnal #226

Jesus Christ, our Lord, was crucified for us all. Until the dawn of Easter morning let us keep vigil by the tomb, in the silence of our hearts, until we too emerge into the radiance of the Resurrection.

Go in peace. May Jesus Christ, who for our sake became obedient unto death, even death on a cross, keep you and strenghten you this night and forever. Amen.

We depart in silence.

We gather together again tomorrow evening at 7 pm for the third part of the Triduum, the Easter Vigil, at Resurrection Covenant Church,
3901 N. Marshfield Ave., Chicago.

We encourage you to join us here at Ravenswood Covenant on Easter Sunday. A full breakfast will be served at 9:30 am, an Easter egg hunt for the children will be held on the church playground at 10:15 am, and at 10:45 am we will gather together in the sanctuary to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." (Mark 4:30-32 NRS)