Hour at the Cross. A Service for Good Friday afternoon.
April 4, 2010
This Lent, many of us have been following the Diocesan Lent Challenge, reading and meditating on verses and Sunday Gospel readings from the Gospel of Luke.
Today, we continue that Challenge as we hear the story of the Passion of Jesus from the 22nd and 23rd chapters of Luke’s Gospel.
Luke shows us a Jesus who goes to his death calmly and courageously, and continues through his Passion to show love for all, concern for the weak, the sinner and the outsider. He gives Judas a chance to step back from betrayal; he heals the ear of the high priest’s servant; he shows concern for the women of Jerusalem; he forgives those who crucify him, and the penitent thief, promising him a place in Paradise.
As we hear again the familiar story of betrayal, trial and crucifixion, I invite you to focus on the story from three different aspects.
First, on the story of Jesus’ suffering and death, a self-sacrifice which shows us the way to live – and die.
Second on ourselves. Where are we in the story? The one who betrays Jesus? The ones who run away? The ones who deny him? The ones who jeer? The faithful followers, who stand at a distance and watch?
Finally, focus on our world, where the Holy Land is still divided by racial and religious strife, where the innocent still suffer at the hands of the powerful, where there are still rigged trials and unlawful executions. This sermon by an Anglican priest in Mozambique, given during the wave of violence in the 1980’s shows one lens through which the story of the Passion may be viewed.
“I can only face up to the horror of human suffering because of the presence of the Holy One in the middle of all our evil and pain. The agony of our own country is, for me, only bearable, because Christ, the Innocent One, was crucified, hung up to die, while his love remained unbroken and undefeated. This enables me to go on loving, and hoping, and planting new crops. In Christ’s name and in his power, I pray that we shall all find the strength to let love and not hate win the day.”
Music: Introitus. Morten Lauridsen
Stand to sing Hymn 738: When I survey the wondrous cross.
First Reading from the Passion according to Luke.
Luke 22, 39 – 71
Music: Agnus dei. All Angels
For the things we have done which we regret, forgive us.
For the things which we have failed to do which we regret, forgive us.
For all the times we have acted without love, forgive us.
For all the times we have reacted without thought, forgive us.
For all the times we have withdrawn care, forgive us.
For all the times we have failed to forgive, forgive us.
For hurtful words said, and helpful words unsaid,
for unfinished tasks and unfulfilled hopes,
God of all time,
forgive us and help us to lay down our burdens of regret.
Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy on us. Amen.
Stand to sing Hymn 657: There is a green hill far away
Second Reading from the Passion according to Luke
Luke 23, 1 – 31
Music: Jesus, remember me (Taizé)
Thanks be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits you have won for us,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for us.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly, day by day.
Stand to sing Hymn 333: It is a thing most wonderful
Third Reading from the Passion according to Luke
Luke 23, 32 – 56
Music: Dulce Jesus mio: Ex Cathedra
Creator of all the peoples of the earth,
have compassion on those who do not know you
and on those who have hardened their hearts against your love.
May the grace and power of that love gather us together
in your presence.
We pray this in the Spirit of the One who forgave them
for they knew not what they did. Amen
Stand to sing Hymn 151: Drop, drop slow tears
Jesus, Lord of the Cross,
we thank you that you went into the heart of our evil and pain,
along a way that was both terrible and wonderful,
as your kingship became your brokenness,
and your dying became love’s triumph.
We bow down before your cross in wonder and sorrow.
Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal
have mercy on us. Amen.
Stand to sing Hymn 535: O sacred head, surrounded
May the cross of our Lord
protect those who belong to Jesus,
and strengthen our hearts in faith,
in hardship and in ease,
in life and in death,
now and forever
Music: Quanta Qualia. Patrick Hawes