April 7

The Crucifixion

Year 1  ( 2022 – 2023 )


Matthew 27:27-61


The passion narrative on Good Friday.

A Service of Lessons and Hymns

The Way of Jesus/The Way of The Cross, According to Matthew

This service outline pairs readings from elsewhere in Matthew’s Gospel with readings from the Passion narrative. The hope is to allow the paired texts to sit in tension with each other – one reminding us of Jesus’ Way as the other shows the way to the cross (the way we too often give.)

Instrumental Prelude

“My Song is Love Unknown”

Prayer of Confession

One: Holy One, the depths of your love are beyond our knowing.
In the midst of our brokenness, you came in Christ
to walk beside us and among us, to show us your Way.
All: You came among us with blessing –
for the poor, for the peacemakers, for the children.
One: You came among us to remind us who we are –
salt and light for the world, made in the image of Love itself,
and meant to love our neighbors and our enemies.
All: You came among us with welcome –
welcoming our prayers, welcoming us to your Table,
and calling us to welcome the stranger.
One: In the midst of our brokenness,
you came among us with Life.
All: Forgive us, Gracious One,
for far too easily, we turn away from the Life you set before us,
and stay captive to the powers of death.
One: We exchange your Truth for lies.
We reject your nonviolent resistance as weakness,
and cling to weapons that wound.
We disbelieve your Love, and put our trust, instead, in fear.
All: You give to us Life and the depths of your Love.
We give to you our cross, and a tomb.
One: Holy One, the depths of your love are beyond our knowing.
All: Come again into the depths of our brokenness.
Heal us. Show us your Way that leads to Life.

Opening Hymn

“My Song is Love Unknown*” (stanzas 1 & 2)

Note: this service makes use of “My Song is Love Unknown” at several points. Various hymnals include different verses from Samuel Crossman’s original seven. I offer the following – which includes alterations to the text that I have made in an effort to refer to Matthew’s Gospel, and to gently update archaic language:

1. My song is love unknown, 

my Savior’s love to me:

love to the loveless shown

that they might lovely be.

O, who am I

that for my sake

my Lord should take

frail flesh and die?

2. He came, his Way to show,

his justice to bestow;

this world that he loved so

would not its Savior know.

But what a friend!

to know our pain,

and through his strain

our wounds to mend.

3. Sunday, we cheered with palms,

and joyful praises sang:

“Hosannas” and glad psalms,

our hearts and voices rang.

Then “Crucify!” 

is all our breath,

and for his death

we thirst and cry.

4. Why? What wrong has he done?

What makes this rage and spite?

He prayed to make us one,

he called us “salt” and “light.”

He spoke of peace,

he loved the least,

and to the feast

he welcomed me.

5. Unheeding, we will have

our dear Lord dragged away,

a murderer to save,

the Source of Life to slay.

Yet steadfast he

to suffering goes

that all his foes

from death might free.

6. In life, no house, no home,

no place his head to lay;

In death, no family tomb,

but one a stranger gave.

What can we say?

Heaven was his home,

but ours the tomb

wherein he lay.

7. Here might I stay and sing,

no story so divine;

Never was love, dear king —

never was grief like thine.

This is my Friend,

in whose sweet praise

I all my days

could gladly spend.

Lessons and Hymns

Seven candles are lit. After each pair of readings, one candle is extinguished. If possible, the space darkens as each candle goes out. The readings from earlier in Matthew may be read by a variety of readers. The Passion readings may be best read by the same reader throughout, to help the listeners track with the story.


Matthew 4:18-5:1 (Jesus calls disciples, leads them up the mountain)

Matthew 26:26-46 (Jesus and his disciples in the Upper Room, and at the Mount of Olives)

Song Suggestions:

 “Stay with Me”


 “Stay with Me, the Night Has Come”

VT 319


Matthew 5:1-12 (Jesus teaches about God’s blessings)
Matthew 26:47-68 (Jesus is betrayed and arrested)

Song Suggestions:

 “Go to Dark Gethsemane”

ELW 347, GTG 220, VT 317

 “Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow”

VT 318

 “You Seize No Sword*”

Text: Adam M. L. Tice

Tune: Charles V. Stanford

Available from Unbound at giamusic.com

*To hearken to earlier points in the year, one might consider pairing this text with WEXFORD CAROL, or TALLIS CANON, if those tunes have been used.


Matthew 5:13-16 (Jesus calls us Salt and Light)
Matthew 26:69-75 (Peter denies Jesus)

Song Suggestions:

 “Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow”

VT 318

 “When We Are Tempted to Deny Your Son”

TPH 86

 “Cloaked in the Dark”

Text: Jacque Jones

Tune: Bernadette Hoke

Available from Unbound at giamusic.com


Matthew 5:38-46 (Jesus teaches about loving enemies)
Matthew 27:1-2, 11-31 (Jesus is questioned by Pilate, stripped, beaten, and mocked)

Song Suggestions:

 “My Song is Love Unknown”

(Stanzas 3, 4, and 5)


Matthew 6:6-13 (Jesus teaches us to pray)
Matthew 26:69-75 (Jesus is crucified, cries out to God, and dies)

Song Suggestions:

 “Calvary (Surely He Died on Calvary)”

ELW 354, OLOFOB 319

 “Were You There”

ELW 353, GTG 228, VT 329


Matthew 6:25-34 (Jesus teaches us, “Do Not Worry”)
Matthew 27:57-66 (Jesus is buried)

Song Suggestions:

 “My Song is Love Unknown”

(Stanza 6)

At this point, one candle remains. The room should be as dark as safely possible. After a time of silence – or a closing prayer – a soloist sings the final stanza of “My Song is Love Unknown” and the final candle is extinguished. The service ends in silence.