I have compiled the following meditation to help you focus on the events surrounding
that first Good Friday, and using some of the main characters that were part of the
story. It will hopefully be a time of reflection and challenge. May I encourage you
to have a short period of silence between each meditation and to ponder on what it
might be saying to you.
'Now the hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.....
Now my soul is troubled.
What shall I say:
Father, save me from this hour?
But it is for this very reason that I have come to this hour.
Father, glorify your name?
(John 12: 23,27)
We come before the cross – the cross on which our Lord hung to redeem humankind.
As we meditate on the way of his passion let us remember that it was for us that
he was crucified. May it help us to be truly sorry for the times when we have failed
him, and strengthen us to take up our cross and follow him in our lives.
Prayer Lord Jesus, you came from the Father to redeem us.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you showed your love for us on the cross.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, give us your strength to take up our cross and follow you.
Lord, have mercy.
Now Jesus stood before Pilate the governor who asked him, ‘Are you the King of the
Jews?’ Jesus said, ‘You say so.’ But when he was accused by the chief priests and
elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many accusations
they make against you?’
But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was
greatly amazed.....So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a
riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying,
‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’....So he released Barabbas
for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. (Matthew
Pontius Pilate could find no fault in Jesus, but he handed him over to the people
– a weak ruler swayed by a violent crowd. Caught up in a web of political and religious
plotting, it made little difference to Pilate whether one Jew lived or died, and
it enabled him to obtain from the crowd the useful affirmation that they had no king
but Caesar. So Pilate handed him over to them.
We may like to think that we would not be part of this crowd, and yet in each one
of us is the voice which cries “Crucify him!”. For every time we fail Jesus, we join
our voice to those of the angry crowd.
Lord Jesus Christ, faced with difficult decisions so often we tell ourselves we have
no choice, that life has pushed us in to a corner leaving us no alternative as how
to act. But in our hearts we know that isn't so. It may be hard, it may be painful,
it may be costly, but finally there is always a right way if we are prepared to look
for it. Forgive us for all the excuses we make. Forgive us for all the times we have
taken the soft option rather than the one we know to be right.
Simon of Cyrene
They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross;
it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus
to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). (Mark
The journey to Golgotha is on the via dolorosa, the way of sorrows, where Jesus is
led out of the Praetorium where the soldiers had mocked him in the purple robe, crown
of thorns and reed sceptre. They did not know what they were doing, yet these were
strange symbols of regal power and majesty. It was at this point that Simon was drawn
to the cross. He was from distant Cyrene in North Africa, perhaps fulfilling a life's
ambition in coming to Jerusalem for the Passover.
And now he was conscripted by a soldier to this dreadful task. Can you imagine the
horror with which Simon accepted the cross taken from the exhausted Jesus, and laid
roughly on his shoulders by a soldier? Can you see the gratitude he glimpsed in the
eyes of Jesus, through the sweat and blood of his forehead and face? Can you begin
to imagine the awful realisation of where his journey was going to end – for Jesus
and for Simon?
Lord Jesus, you carried your cross for us.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, we are weak and often fail you.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, help us to take up our cross and follow you.
Lord, have mercy.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the
wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom
he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then
he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took
her into his own home.
(John 19: 25-27)
Mary had brought up her son through many hardships, and cared for him as a loving
mother. Now she saw him being led to his death at little over thirty years of age.
Unlike most of the disciples, she did not desert her son in his time of need, but
stood by him to the end. If there is anyone of whom it could be asked, 'were you
there?' it is Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was there! She had been here in imagination
before it happened; she was there in immense sadness and pain as Jesus hung upon
the cross; and she was there continually in the days following, full of heartfelt
joy and radiance as the light which streamed from the cross filled her soul and overflowed
in tears before the risen Christ. But before the joy came the sorrow. Let us ask
that we too may have a faith like Mary, to stand by Jesus whatever the cost.
Jesus, carried in the womb of Mary your mother, bonded by the ties of our physical
humanity, of her flesh and her bone, and thus made one with us. We often lack faith
in you, we often fail to trust in you.
Lord Jesus, help us to love you as Mary did.
Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the
curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the
rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had
fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and
entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with
him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they
were terrified and said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’
(Matthew 27: 50-54)
The New Testament depicts centurions as worthy men, unlike their tyrannical and dissolute
masters such as Herod or Pilate. This centurion witnessed the last three hours with
increasing wonder and awe. It became clear to him that Jesus who acted in life and
death with dignity, calm, courage and fortitude, was not a criminal or a man of treason,
in contrast to the cursing thieves crucified each side of him. As Jesus breathed
his last breath the centurion praises God and acknowledges he was innocent.
Loving God, we recall with gratitude the faithfulness of Jesus – his faithfulness
to the last, his willingness to take the way of the cross, his courage in the face
of opposition, suffering and death. Help us to respond, consecrating our lives to
his service. Help us to be truly thankful for all he has done and continues to do.
Help us to acknowledge him as our Lord and Saviour, and live today as his disciples.
Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the
council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of
Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to
Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb
where no one had ever been laid. (Luke
The body of Jesus was placed in the tomb – but not even the power of death could
hold him. Christ had to die and be buried before he could rise again. In the same
way, we too have to die and be buried with Christ in the waters of Baptism, so that
we too can rise again to new life with him. Let us then try to live that risen life
here on earth, so that when our time comes to die, we may pass through the gates
of death to new and everlasting life with Jesus.
Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
If you would like to read the whole Passion Gospel it can be found in the Gospel
according to St. John chapters 18 and 19
On Easter Day I am sending you a message as usual. As an extra I am also sending
an audio message that you will hopefully be able to download and listen to. Best
wishes Canon Dave
As we continue to watch the news and read the papers during this time of uncertainty
and challenge, I hope you are finding it (if only in a small way) some help to read
the passage of scripture we would normally share in church on Sunday, ponder on the
message and use the prayer.
Please light a candle on Sunday at the later time of 8.00pm when it is darker.
To keep connected with worship you can visit the Church of England website and join
various services: churchofengland.org
You can visit the website of Derby Cathedral and look at the worship they are offering
at derbycathedral.org or Bolton Priory also have pre-recorded services – www.boltonpriory.org.uk/.
At St. Peter's, Edensor during Holy Week, it has been the custom to sing the late
evening service of Compline. If you would like to listen to a service of Compline
on you tube, search - 'Before the ending of the day' (Compline) Guildford Cathedral.
Derby Cathedral are also streaming this service.
Next week, I will be sending a meditation that I have compiled for you to use on
Sunday 5th April: Palm Sunday
Reading: Matthew 2: 1-11
On 16th May 2000, some 40,000 people gathered in Birmingham to call upon the leaders
of the G8 summit to cancel the crippling debts of the world's poorest countries.
It was one of the initiatives of the Jubilee 2000 campaign. At a particular time
it had been arranged that everyone should hold hands to make a circle round Birmingham
and make as much noise as possible for two minutes.
A woman joined in with her whole heart, clasping the hands of those next to her and
shouting at the top of her voice. When the two minutes were up, she turned to her
neighbour and asked, “Can you please tell me what this is all about?” She had no
idea – she had been in Birmingham shopping that afternoon and just found herself
There must have been others like her in that six mile circle of protestors.
There must have been even more like her in the crowds making a lot of noise on that
first Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. People shouting at
the tops of their voices, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
The journey for Jesus was a significant one because it directly fulfilled and Old
Testament prophecy. There had been signs all the time that Jesus was the Messiah,
but this was far more than a sign.
Those who knew their scriptures knew that the king, of David's line, would ride into
Jerusalem on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The crowd went wild, following Jesus, following each other, shouting and chanting
in praise. But there was confusion too – when they reached the city, people started
asking, “Who on earth is this? What's going on?”
We might wonder what was in Jesus' heart as he rode along on the donkey. He knew
the shallowness of much of the praise. He understood that many of the people who
were proclaiming him king in fact just happened to be there that day, and were caught
up in the crowd, like the woman in Birmingham. He also knew that this ride of triumph
was in fact a ride towards his death, and that this same crowd who praised him would
in a few days' time be shouting for his crucifixion, with just the same ignorance
and lack of understanding.
But there was no turning back. His mind was set on what was ahead, for he was motivated
by love. When Jesus looked round at all these people shouting his praise, he loved
them. Every single one of them. Even those who hated him. Love was the reason why
Jesus was willing to walk into the hands of those who despised him so much they wanted
to kill him. Love was the reason why there was no turning back for him.
When Jesus looks around at everyone on this earth, he loves us all, whatever our
race, colour or creed. In all our confusion, in all our weakness he loves us. Even
when people cause him untold suffering with selfish pursuits of material wealth,
which we know can be threatening to the planet itself – he loves us.
As we enter Holy Week, let us take hold of Christ's love, and let it take root in
our hearts, so that as we follow Christ's journey to the cross, we may experience
his true resurrection as we celebrate Easter.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you gave your all so that we might have life;
you counted yourself as nothing
so that we might rejoice in the wonder of your love;
you endured agony of body, mind and spirit,
so that we might receive mercy
and know the peace that only you can give.
Help us at this time to recognise more clearly
everything you did for us,
and so inspire us to give something back to you.
Teach us to walk the way of the cross and
experience the glory of your victory
over sin and death.
Please continue to pray for those infected by the coronavirus, for all in the NHS
who are caring for them, and for those working so hard to find ways of bringing the
present pandemic to an end.