Sunday, March 27, 2016

Youth-led Good Friday - Seven Last Words of Christ

For Good Friday, our youth at United in Christ, Lewisburg, PA, designed a service of darkness focused on the seven last words of Christ.  The older youth divided into pairs and wrote sermonettes on each of the themes which they preached as dialogues with each other.

The First Word:  Forgive
Luke 23:32-34

The Second Word:  Paradise
Luke 23:39-43

The Third Word:  “Woman”
John 19:25a-27

The Fourth Word:  “Thirst”
John 19:28

The Fifth Word:  “Forsaken”
Matthew 27:45-46

The Sixth:  “Finished”
John 19:29-30

The Final Word:  “I Commend My Spirit”

Our younger youth read the biblical passages.

Our seminarian Felicia Swartz and I worked with the youth to write these sermons, and choose music to perform with the youth and our guitarist, BJ Koch. And we came up with ideas for the banners which were then created by Felicia and other adult volunteers with help from the youth.

After the opening hymn, the sanctuary was darkened.  We had a battery-powered spotlight on each banner which was turned off after each sermon, increasing the darkness as the service progressed.

Finally, the only light that remained was the final candle, as the youth led the congregation in whispering the Lord's Prayer.  A thundering drum roll signaled the earth shaking and thunder in the darkened sky as the cross was carried by the youth out of the sanctuary.

This service was prepared over the course of five weeks during the season of Lent.  It is a great way to have youth involved in the planning and leading of worship during Holy Week.  A dedicated group of parents and adult volunteers is a must, but the format for the service is fairly straightforward.  And it is very effective.  Many parishioners noted how much they were moved by the students' reflections, and how meaningful the service was for them.

To request the service outline and sermon samples to give you ideas for how to do this in your own congregation, post a comment to this blog post for more information.


  1. Sounds awesome Leah. I'd love to know more.

    1. Thanks, Serena - great to hear from you! Send me an email at and I'll attach a copy of the service and samples of some of the sermons.

  2. Thanks, Serena - great to hear from you! Send me an email at and I'll attach a copy of the service and samples of some of the sermons.

  3. What a great idea! I'd love to the service outline and samples.

    1. Wendy - Thanks for your comment. You can see a sample of a sermon on this post:

      And for a copy of the service bulletin, send me an email at


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