Script for Good Friday Tenebrae Service
Compiled by Roger Martin
Voices: Jesus, Servant Girl, Judas, 2 Others, Peter, Crowd, Pilate, Soldiers 1 &2, Chief Priests, Criminals 1 &2
(Note: Parts can be doubled, even tripled; it is intended to be read simply without blocking.)
*Reading Notes: The entire piece should be read slowly, clearly, in a meditative manner. Lines without a space between represent dialog and should be read as such. A space between lines indicates a break in time and/or setting and so the reader should allow for a substantial pause. A hymn will be sung before the beginning of each section.
(Jesus) “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
(Chief Priests) “But not during the Feast, / or there may be a riot among the people.”
(Judas) What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?
THE ROOM AND TABLE
(Peter) “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
(Jesus) “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
(Peter) “No, you shall never wash my feet.”
(Jesus) “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
Take it. This is my body, broken. . . . This is my blood, poured out for many.
Here with me on the table is the hand of the man who betrays me.
What you are going to do, Judas, do quickly.
(Jesus) You will all lose faith in me this night.
(Peter) If I have to die with you, I will never disown you.
(Jesus) My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.
Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine.
Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
(Judas) The one I kiss, he is the man. Take him in charge, and see he is well guarded when you lead him away.
(Jesus) Put your swords back into place. Leave off! That will do!
Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.
(Judas) I have sinned. I have betrayed innocent blood.
(Chief Priests) What is that to us? / That is your concern.
(servant girl) This man was with Jesus.
(Peter) Woman, I don’t know him.
(someone else) You also are one of Jesus’ disciples.
(Peter) Man, I am not!
(someone else) Certainly this fellow was with Jesus, for he is a Galilean.
(Peter) Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!
(Pilate)Are you the king of the Jews?
(Jesus) It is you who say it.
I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.(Pilate) Truth? What is that?
What am I to do with Jesus who is called Christ? I find no case against him.
(Crowd) Let him be crucified!
(Pilate) Why? What harm has he done?
(Crowd) Let him be crucified!
(Pilate) I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your concern.
(Soldier 1) Prophesy, who hit you?
(Soldier 2) Hail, king of the Jews!
(Jesus) Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children. For the days will surely come when people will say, ‘Happy are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne, the breasts that have never suckled!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’; to the hill, ‘Cover us!’ For if men use the green wood like this, what will happen when it is dry?
(Crowd) Save yourself. Come down from the cross!
(Priests) He saved others, he cannot save himself.
(Criminal 1) Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us as well.
(Criminal 2) Have you no fear of God at all?
(Jesus) Today you will be with me in the kingdom.
Woman, this is your son. Disciple, This is your mother.
My God, my God, why have you deserted me?
(Soldier 1) See if Elijah will come to take him down.
(Jesus)Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
(Jesus) It is finished.
(Soldier 2) In truth, this man was the son of God.