Is it nothing to you, you passers-by?
If only you would look and see: is there any agony like mine?Lamentations 1: 12
Seven words about life
(a candle may be lit after each one)
- Before the world was created, the Word already existed he was with God, and he was the same as God
The Word was the source of life and this life brought light to humankind
- Just as the Father is himself the source of life in the same way he has made his Son to be the source of life
- I have come in order that you may have life life in all its fullness
- I am the bread of life
Whoever comes to me will never be hungry
Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty
- I am the way, the truth and the life
- I am the resurrection and the life
Whoever believes in me will live
even though they die
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die
- The words that I have spoken to you bring God’s life-giving Spirit
Hymn 380 There is a green hill
All age time (For ages 0-100)
For the symbols of today’s part of the story use any, or all, of a cross/nails/a notice saying ‘Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews’/ a vinegar bottle
The green hill may have been far away -and long ago –
but for us it is here
we stand at the edge of it
watching the awful spectacle of Christ’s crucifixion and death.
Any crucifixion is horrible
any death touches our humanity:
but this death was special.
He was a good man, a caring man
someone who only ever did good for others
someone who gave wise advice
and lived out fully what he said.
Because we know what happened on Easter Day
we cannot fully share the pain and despair,
isolation and desolation
that Jesus experienced
that Mary experienced
that Jesus’ friends experienced;
but we know that without him
our lives are empty and lacking in meaning.
As they felt guilt and remorse for letting him down
abandoning him, and denying him,
in his hour of need,
so we acknowledge our guilt
for all the times that we have abandoned you and your way
denied you, in the way we live our lives
make us truly your own
Through Christ our Lord we pray Amen
Reading John 19: 16-30
Hymn 356 Meekness and majesty
(what Peter may have been thinking as he looking at Jesus on the cross from afar)
As I look at your cross,
as I watch you suffer and die,
as I listen to your last words,
I cannot but think how I would feel
were it me that were on the cross
and not you.
If I were at the very point of death,
suffering unimaginable agony,
every breath, every word an incredible struggle
accompanied by searing, stabbing pain,
I don’t think I’d be thinking so positively,
so trustingly about my God.
If I were in your place,
if I were capable of thinking at all,
I think I would be asking some very hard, and very negative, questions.
“Is this all the thanks I get for trying to do your will?
Just where were you when I needed you?
Why did I bother
spending those long hours healing people,
putting up patiently with their moans and foibles,
trying to teach them the Kingdom’s values?
Why didn’t I just do what I wanted,
and have a more peaceful and painless end?
Why was I ever deluded into thinking that there is a God,
and that your way of service is the answer to all the world’s problems?”
But it isn’t me that is on the cross – it’s you.
Maybe I should be there –
maybe the things I’ve thought,
the things I’ve said, the things I’ve done,
make me deserve to suffer –
but it is you who are on the cross suffering for my sake.
At the end you didn’t doubt
that what you were doing was God’s will –
not the whim of some strange, cruel power,
but a loving, caring God who recognised that,
in order to destroy the power of pain and death,
in order to win us back to be his children,
he had to share in our suffering and death.
Silence and wonder
are the only things we can offer in response.
After all you went through
you still trusted in God:
trusted in his promises,
trusted in his love,
trusted in his power,
trusted that he would break the power of death,
and raise you to new life;
vindicating all that you had said,
vindicating your firm belief that he had called you
to be the Saviour of the world.
No words can express how we feel;
but in response to your faith in God’s love and faithfulness
we ask that we may share that faith and trust.
When we feel down, dispirited, doubting
when we see no hope, no way forward, no point in anything
fill us with your faith and trust
that we may always be able to say,
in life and at its end,
“Father into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Prayers for others
Loving and merciful God
As we reflect on all that you did,
all that Jesus suffered,
from the depths of our being
we seek to respond to you in commitment and faith;
make us aware of your presence and strength always with us;
make us ready to stand with others
to share your love and Good News;
make us ready to bring your hope and new life to your world
we bring to you this evening our prayers for those who are suffering
those whose hearts are full of questions to which they seem to get no answers
those who are ill
those who are grieving
those who struggle to live
those who long for peace and safety
for justice and the righting of wrongs
those who are very much in our thoughts at this time
We bring to you our prayers for people and situations of special concern to us
And we sum up our prayers in the words of the prayer Jesus gave us
Hymn 392 When I survey the wondrous cross
Save us, O Lord, waking,
and guard us sleeping;
that awake we may watch with Christ,
and asleep we may rest in peace
and the blessing of God Almighty
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
rest and remain with you
today, and every day, and for ever. Amen
Seven words from the cross
- Father forgive them. For they know not what they do
- Today you will be with me in paradise
- Mother, there is your son. Here is your mother
- My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
- I am thirsty
- It is finished
- Father, into your hands I commit my spirit