Good Friday at Kununurra

This article is from Issue 19 of “On The Move,” a publication of new learning possibilities for churches, at one time published by The Joint Board of Christian Education of Australia and New Zealand.
Although some ideas and liturgies may appear somewhat “dated” in style, concept, imagery or language, they may nevertheless offer a spring-board for new ideas among people who find themselves leading worship, perhaps in a new context, and with some trepidation.
Reproduced by permission. May be reprinted for use in local congregations only.

GOOD FRIDAY at Kununurra
Since Kunnunurra first began as a service town for the Ord Irrigation the churches have worshipped together on Good Friday. Anglicans, Catholics and United Church of North Australia people have always enjoyed warm cooperation, and this particular worship service sums up their acceptance of one another at the time of the central festival of Christianity.Since the worship is held in the local Civic Centre hall, considerable flexibility of form is possible.

The hall is almost square, and equal numbers of chairs were placed in each corner, dividing the congregation into four quite separate groups. Before each set of chairs lay what appeared to be a free form shape made of polyurethane foam. The four shapes could quickly be fitted together to form a cross at the appropriate time in the worship.
As people arrived the hymns, which were not well known, were practised, and four members were asked if they would take part in the foot-washing ceremony. It was thought that some might be embarrassed if they were not forewarned of this ceremony, but we found that people were very willing to take part spontaneously when the actual time arrived.

The service
One individual from each group was invited to bring the free form shape forward and fit it into the cross.
The Erection of the Cross and the Upheaval of Gods People were very effective. The noise was considerable but the symbolism carried the point.

Many requests for more of this style of worship came in after the service. Comments like “…felt more involved”, “…the movements made sense of the cross…”, “it didn’t matter that we were Catholic and Protestant”, “The foot-washing really got to me about humility”, were recorded. “Too informal”, was the only adverse comment heard. Our aim was to use simple and meaningful symbols as vehicles to involve people in worship and to add meaning to the Word of God and Good Friday. We feel the aim was achieved.


Opening hymn:

Introduction: There are many good things in our society – but there are many things wrong with it too. And this because there are many things wrong with all of us who make up this society. Sin is a sickness that weakens us all. Sin is infectious, it spreads rapidly. This morning we seek healing for ourselves. This morning we ask forgiveness of those we have infected by our personal sins. Our loving God is very near.

Reading: Isaiah 57: 15-19

Call to confession: I invite now confession of sins from the fragmented people of God, a confession that will bring us to the Father through Jesus.

Erection of the Cross and Upheaval of Gods People: When Jesus is lifted up he will gather all to himself. He will present all of us, as one people, to the forgiving Father. Let us come together beneath the cross. Pick up your chairs; move in closer. Let the noise, the disorder, the confusion happen – it can remind us that when the cross is raised in the world it will always cause upheaval among people, among families, in our own hearts. The cross forever confronts and disturbs our sinfulness.
Let us now listen to the healing word. God speaks to us through Jesus from the cross. He accepts us. If we listen, his word will make us whole.

Reading of the Passion


The washing of feet: This ceremony tells us of the concern we must each show towards one another; we who have been selfish and unconcerned turn away from our sins towards our brothers and sisters. We ask their forgiveness. We see Christ alive in them. We wish to kneel before them, as Mary Magdalene knelt before Jesus, and wash their feet with our tears of sorrow. They do not turn away from us, as perhaps they might, but they welcome us, accepting our sorrow and forgiving us the wrong we have done them. We celebrate and rejoice for we are brethren together.
All: Where there is charity and love, there the God of love abides. God our Father hear our prayer which we ask of you. Make us one in loving you. Draw us all together. By this will all men know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.
Worship Leaders: In the name of Jesus we come to you to wash your feet.


Let us celebrate Jesus, our life and our hope, present with us all.
It is good for us to be here together!
Let us celebrate Jesus alive in our hearts.
It is good for us to be here togyt her.
Let us celebrate the good things in one another, and accept the faults.
It is good to be here together.
Let us celebrate the privilege of being able to share the goodness of God with one another.
It is good to be here together.
Let us celebrate our families, our friends, our whole town.
It is good to be here together.
Let us celebrate the Spirit of God present in our land.
It is good for us to be here together.
Let us finally celebrate the Father in the words our Saviour taught us…

The Lords Prayer…

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