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MEDITATION FOR GOOD FRIDAY

Introduction

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.

Reading:

'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)

Meditation

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.

 

Pontius Pilate

Reading:

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 27: 11-26)

Meditation

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.

Prayer

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

Reading:

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 15: 21-22)

Meditation

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?

Prayer

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

Reading:

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)

Meditation

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.

Prayer

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.

Centurion

Reading:

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)

Meditation

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.

Prayer

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 23: 50-53)

Meditation

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.

Prayer

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

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EASTER DAY

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

 

 

Dear All

 

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 Good Friday.

 

Sunday 5th April: Palm Sunday

 

Reading: Matthew 2: 1-11

 

Message

 

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 joining in.

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.

 

Prayer

 

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.

Amen.

 

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.

 

Every Blessing

Canon Dave                                                                       Fri. 4 April

Canon Dave’s Weekly Message