Dead Man Waiting theme 1

This is the basic liturgy we used for Saturday’s worship. It was made up of 5 meditations, each preceded by the same Bible verse – John 16:7. “But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone I will send the Spirit to you.” One person read the Bible verse, another read a meditation after it, then we left a few minutes space before the next set of readings. After all five themes, we invited people to move to different spaces to reflect on each of the meditations.


The soundtrack was some very ‘nothing-ish’ ambient music from Labradford, we just adjusted the volume up and down as people were speaking. We used a couple of songs at different points – Johnny Cash singing “Hurt” after the second set of readings, “O God, where are you now” by Sufjan Stevens, which we used to bring people back after the response time, and U2’s “Wake up Dead Man”, which we used right at the end.


Easter Saturday is a day when the church traditionally doesn’t worship, because all it knows of God has died.

It’s a day when we enter, again, the pain, disbelief, disintegration and loss of the followers of Jesus. All they knew of God had died on a cross in front of them.

And we stand alongside them, and wait.

Theme 1:

John 16:7

Spoken meditation:

You think this is what’s best for us?
They humiliated you on a cross.
And we’re humiliated too, because we put our trust in you.

No wonder Peter denied you.
Maybe it wasn’t out of fear, but out of sheer, bloody rage
that this is how the dream ended.

How can you think this is what’s best for us?

We put everything we had into you.
Our trust.
Our belief that you were the one who could save us.

You offered us a taste of welcome,
a hint of grace,
a touch of freedom.

For a moment we glimpsed a new world,
and you promised an eternity of that.

And we trusted you.

We’re left wondering which is worse
– that it ended like this

or that you knew it would end like this
and you took us with you anyway.

We set up the response space with a funeral wreath on the table and the following instructions:

The death of Jesus shattered every belief his followers had about who God should be.

Take a flower from the wreath.

As you pull the petals from the flower, think of the beliefs you have about God that the cross forces you to confront…

Let each petal symbolise one of these.

Leave them behind when you walk away.