A Good Friday Lament

Feel free to use or adapt this for your own settings …

A reader reads the lament, and the people respond with “We hear you …” The lament takes about 5 minutes.


On this day, we lament the heartless cruelty human beings unleashed on the body of Jesus the Christ. We hear you.

Mocking, beating, spitting, piercing with a crown of thorns, whipping, stripping, crucifying … we lament this expression of humanity at its most inhuman. We hear you.

Through the mirror of good Friday, we hear the Christ saying, “Do not weep for me, but for yourselves and for your children,” so we lament the human violence we see unleashed upon the body of Christ in our world today … We hear you.

We see Christ in the body of indigenous peoples whose lands were stolen, who were despised and forsaken rather than honored and loved, and who bore it all with courage and resilience. We hear you.

We see Christ in the body of African peoples of many and diverse tribal cultures who were kidnapped, packed into ships like cargo, and tossed overboard like trash when sick, who, when they arrived on these shores, were bought and sold like Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, and who though buried, kept rising again. We hear you.

We see Christ in the bodies of women who gave birth to us all but whose full dignity and equality is still not recognized in our land, and who resist male exploitation with heroic persistence each day. We hear you.

We see Christ in the bodies of people who are labeled disabled, and in the bodies who do not fit into conventional notions of male and female, and in the bodies of those who will have nowhere to lay their heads tonight, who share Christ’s plight. We hear you.

We see Christ in the bodies of the sick, in the bodies of those whose illnesses have no cure, and in the bodies of those whose illnesses could be cured but are not — simply for lack of generosity, a soul-sickness that our social system shares like a contagious virus. We hear you.

We see Christ in the bodies of refugees, those trapped in camps on the other side of walls, in the frightened children wrapped in foil blankets in cages, in the aching arms of parents from whom those children were torn. We hear you.

We see Christ in the bodies of the poor and unemployed whose numbers are swelling now at an unprecedented rate … and whose eyes show the anxiety of food insecurity, shelter insecurity, job insecurity, and health insecurity. We hear you.

We see Christ in the bodies of religious minorities – Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, atheists, and others — upon whom ignorant majorities project their fear and hate, often in the name of Christ himself. We hear you.

We see Christ in the incarcerated whose first crime was being poor and therefore unable to afford expensive lawyers, and especially in those on death row, the ones who are guilty and the ones who have been unjustly convicted, for on Good Friday, Jesus was crucified with them all. We hear you.

We see Christ in the Earth, this beautiful and fragile planet that has suffered so much for so long … the sacred embodiment of Christ that inhumane economies still mock, beat, spit upon, pierce with crowns of thorns, whip, strip, and crucify … We hear you.

We see Christ in the ice caps as they sweat drops of blood, in the seas into which we have discarded uncountable tons of trash and toxins, in the air that we turn a smoky grey for our casual convenience, and in the terrified animals who fear they will be next to join the list of the extinguished. We hear you.

We see the suffering Christ embodied in trees under stress as the climate changes, and we see the naked Christ embodied in miles of denuded hills dotted with stumps, and we see the buried Christ in the forests and fields that have been paved under subdivisions and strip mall parking lots. We hear you.

We see Christ in one another, and in ourselves, all of whom suffer because of what is wounded and wrong, unhealed and untransformed in each of us as individuals and in all of us as a civilization. We hear you.

We hold all this in our hearts, not to whip ourselves for we are already whipped, but so that we may be cleansed and transformed in the lament of love, joining in solidarity with Jesus the Christ upon his cross, saying, “Father, forgive them all, for they know not what they do.” We hear you.

And we now offer our bodies to be embodiments of the Christ, so that just as we share in Christ’s suffering and death, we may also share in Christ’s inevitable, irrepressible uprising. We hear you.