One of the things I love about my current job is planning worship services, especially the Holy Week run from Palm Sunday through Easter. It includes my favorite service of the year: Good Friday. For me, it’s the perfect blend of contemporary and traditional, ancient and modern. It’s sensory and participatory.

This year, I think we’ve made some more tweaks and additions to make it even better. Our 2012 Good Friday celebration includes the following:

  • A kick-off video that sets the stage for the service by looking ahead to Easter. It’s actually a nice bookend to the return of the Christ Candle at the end of the service, a reminder that Easter is coming.
  • Several traditional hymns. Sue Brese is absolutely brilliant at choosing hymns that reinforce and enhance the message. So thankful for her ministry.
  • Our traditional procession to the cross, where people get to hang “sin strips” on the cross that’s been in our chancel since Ash Wednesday and will continue to decorate it through Easter.
  • The seven last words of Christ, interspersed with responses from the congregation and music.
  • A gradual darkening of the sanctuary, a traditional mark of the Tenebrae service.
  • A contemporary song sung by Bekah Freed. This year we’re using a Casting Crowns song (check back on Sunday for a taste) during the cross processional.
  • Vinegar scents during the processional. We think we’ve got a good solution for making this more effective this year.
  • A new ending video for the departure of the Christ Candle. No preview, you’ll just have to wait for it. 😉

Of course, the top-secret, behind-the-scenes, insider story for this service is that we’ve got a great team that works on it. This year, it was Sue Brese, Bekah, Sue Steege, Pastor Chuck and myself. Kathy Figini will help with the altar decorations again this year and we’ve got lots of other people who will be participating to make the service powerful. There are some God-ideas in the service this year, and I think you’ll like it.