GOOD FRIDAY

FRIDAY HOLY WEEK 2020

Friends, having journeyed all week together from Palm Sunday, we now come to this most Holy Day. A day when we remember just how much we are beloved of God our Father.

So loved that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

A message of hope to all of us in these troubled days.

I am particularly moved by the Saviour’s sacrifice this year, knowing the sorrow of a family bereavement at this time. And think of the words of Psalm 23 which speak so clearly into our situations at this time.

“Even though I walk through the valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are with me”

A reminder that there is nothing we can ever go through, that Jesus has not already gone through before us, and so he knows and understands our suffering and grief. And...........has come through the other side........... And so we simply ask him to continue to walk with us, as we continue to walk with him.

Usually on Good Friday we would be joining together for the three hour service to mark Jesus three hours on the cross. This year is different for we must mark the hours in isolation. It is my hope and prayer that you can set aside the hours to be still and ponder anew the great and powerful mystery of this day.

I offer for your reflection, the last words uttered by Jesus as recorded in John’s Gospel.

Prayer : In the shadow of our suffering, is the suffering of Jesus

In the shadow of our weakness, is the vulnerability of Christ.

In the shadow of our pain, is the God who cried out.

Through his obedience we are never rejected,

We are never abandoned.

They took Jesus away. Carrying his cross, Jesus went out to the place called Skull Hill (the name in Hebrew is Golgotha), where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote a sign and had it placed on the cross. It read:

Jesus the Nazarene the king of the Jews.

Many of the Jews read the sign because the place where Jesus was crucified was right next to the city. It was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. The Jewish high priests objected. “Don’t write,” they said to Pilate, “‘The King of the Jews.’ Make it, ‘This man said, “I am the King of the Jews.”’”

Pilate said, “What I’ve written, I’ve written.”

When they crucified him, the Roman soldiers took his clothes and divided them up four ways, to each soldier a fourth. But his robe was seamless, a single piece of weaving, so they said to each other, “Let’s not tear it up. Let’s throw dice to see who gets it.” This confirmed the Scripture that said, “They divided up my clothes among them and threw dice for my coat.” (The soldiers validated the Scriptures!)

“HERE IS YOUR SON”

So we come to the first of our words from the cross, words spoken to Mary his mother and his beloved disciple, John.

John 19:25-27

While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus’ mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross.

Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.

Reflection

This word from the cross shows us Jesus very human heart and his care for his mother. And, the beloved disciple, John.

These two have come with him all the way, even to the foot of the cross.

Their grief has brought them together and Jesus asks them to care for one another when he is dead.

“Woman, here is your son, son, here is your mother”

In the face of his own death, Jesus is creating new bonds of family and relationship, new levels of interdependence.

From a place of pain, it is Jesus who is seeking to protect and care for his loved ones, to help them to know that they each have a purpose and responsibility to each other after his death.

It echoes his life’s work, of bringing isolated and people together into new communities of care.

“Look after my mum” is a very human response to a terrible situation.

These new relationships are based not on ties of blood and family, but are creating a new family of choice.

A community project can see volunteers coming together, some very lonely, some with disabilities, yet each with so much to give.

A common endeavour and strong sense of belonging can be like a family, creating a basic building block for repairing communities.

When so much is fractured and broken, Jesus longs for us to belong together in International communities of love.

These days of lock down are difficult for many, but every day we see and hear of how in the midst of uncertainty, kind word and actions are making a difference.

Prayer

We take into the silence now, memories of our own loss, grief, and loneliness.

We take thoughts of our own circle of friends and families, and the challenge of where we are being called into new community.

Silence

Be strong, and let our heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.

“I AM THIRSTY” So, we come to the second word from the Cross, Jesus cries out in pain and need.

Reading : John 19:28

28 Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the Scripture record might also be complete, then said, “I’m thirsty.”

Reflection

This word from the cross speaks of real human need, the most basic need of all. In the heat of the sun and wracked by pain, Jesus cries out, “I am thirsty”

I am thirsty, give me a drink. He who is the living water, bubbling up for others to find life, He is thirsty, and these words express that need.

Jesus lived a life of generous giving, he poured himself out for others. But he was not afraid to name and know his own real needs,

He was not afraid to ask for help, In this cry from the cross we see his willingness to receive, and be needy.

In a world of competence, which prizes strength and ability and self-reliance, these words can encourage us to acknowledge our own incompetence and vulnerability, our own real needs.

In these days of uncertainty, It takes a certain level of humility to receive from others; and we don’t find it easy. It is important to learn how to give and receive in good grace.

Prayer

We take into the silence, our own dryness and thirst

Our own deepest needs, and openness to receive

Silence

Be strong, and let our heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.

“IT IS FINISHED” In the final word from the Cross, Jesus knows that the end is near and calls out.

John 19: 29-30

29-30 A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to his mouth. After he took the wine, Jesus said, “It’s done . . . complete.” Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit.

Reflection

“It is finished”

The horror is over, it is accomplished, and the work is done.

In the eyes of the world, this is the moment of absolute failure; but in the purposes of God, this is the consummation of an act of unconditional love for the world.

These words don’t imply a defeated sense of relief that Jesus’ suffering is over, his life is ending.

The words have a strong triumphant ring, “It is accomplished, it is complete”

In hospital, where doctors fight for every moment of life for a patient, death can easily be seen as a failure,

Hospices have reminded us of the possibility of a “good death”, of being able to let go into the ultimate healing of heaven.

We sometimes speak of winning or losing the battle against illness,

The real accomplishment may be the willing acceptance of the disintegration, letting go into death, to find a deeper integration of God’s love.

For Jesus, there is recognition in the words “It is finished” that death comes as the completion of a life lived to the full, offered for others.

As, as we understand this more fully, perhaps it even helps us to face our own death without fear.

We may even ultimately see death as a friend, leading us home.

Prayer

We take into the silence our own sense of mortality,

Our own accomplishments and, and our openness to what lies beyond our horizon.

Silence

Be strong, and let our heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.

Reading

John 19:31-42

31-34 Then the Jews, since it was the day of Sabbath preparation, and so the bodies wouldn’t stay on the crosses over the Sabbath (it was a high holy day that year), petitioned Pilate that their legs be broken to speed death, and the bodies taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man crucified with Jesus, and then the other. When they got to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers stabbed him in the side with his spear. Blood and water gushed out.

35 The eyewitness to these things has presented an accurate report. He saw it himself and is telling the truth so that you, also, will believe.

36-37 These things that happened confirmed the Scripture, “Not a bone in his body was broken,” and the other Scripture that reads, “They will stare at the one they pierced.”

38 After all this, Joseph of Arimathea (he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, because he was intimidated by the Jews) petitioned Pilate to take the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission. So Joseph came and took the body.

39-42 Nicodemus, who had first come to Jesus at night, came now in broad daylight carrying a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. They took Jesus’ body and, following the Jewish burial custom, wrapped it in linen with the spices. There was a garden near the place he was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed. So, because it was Sabbath preparation for the Jews and the tomb was convenient, they placed Jesus in it.

Prayer

Gracious God.

Your hands now bear the wounds, your heart now holds the agony,

Of that appalling cross.

Hold us in your everlasting arms, as we face the little deaths of daily life.

And the great mystery of our own mortality.

May we find you there beside us, light in our darkness night.

Beneath the cross of Jesus I find a place to stand, And wonder at such mercy That calls me as I am; For hands that should discard me Hold wounds which tell me, "Come." Beneath the cross of Jesus My unworthy soul is won. Beneath the cross of Jesus His family is my own Once strangers chasing selfish dreams, Now one through grace alone. How could I now dishonour The ones that You have loved? Beneath the cross of Jesus See the children called by God. Beneath the cross of Jesus The path before the crown We follow in His footsteps Where promised hope is found. How great the joy before us To be His perfect bride; Beneath the cross of Jesus We will gladly live our lives. (CC Kirstin Getty)

God bless you this day.

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Divine Healing Fellowship (Scotland)

Braehead House

Christian Healing & Retreat Centre

Crossford

South Lanarkshire

ML8  5NQ

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