we wait here at the foot of the cross

This is for good friday in the women’s prison – i’ll post the whole service when it’s done, but that won’t be until next week, and I know some people are waiting on it… This is the foundation of the service – 7 candles laid out on black fabric… a series of readings and reflections with pauses for silence in between, and a candle extinguished with each one, music [Johnny Cash – Hurt; Sinead O’Connor – Out of the Depths, that kind of thing…]. I haven’t read it through out loud to see how bad the rhythm is, so i will be changing some of the words in the next few days… If you wanted to shorten it, i’d go with 5 candles and drop out reflections 5&6 – they’re the weak ones. We’re also doing a vigil on the Saturday in the women’s, which will involve stations – I’ll have that up here by friday. Easter Sunday won’t get up until Monday next week…


Reading 1

Mark 15:1-5

Reflection:
You taught us to stand for truth, Jesus
which would see though our arrogance,
and give courage in our uncertainty;
which could break down our defences
and uncover the world’s fear;
which would challenge our judgements
and lay bare our shame.

It isn’t just you who is facing this trial, Jesus.
With you is the truth we need to live.

[extinguish candle]

and we wait here at the foot of the cross…

[silence]

Reading 2
Mark 15:6-15

Reflection:
You taught us to believe in a love, Jesus
that would enter into the pain of the world
with a gift of compassion;
that would break the powers of evil
and transform them with light;
which would know the grief that holds us barren
and could shape it into life

It isn’t just you who will be nailed to the cross, Jesus
With you is the love we believed in.

[extinguish candle]

and we wait here at the foot of the cross…

[silence]

Reading 3
Mark 15:16-20

Reflection
You taught us to live in grace, Jesus –
to trust we are found
when we think we are lost;
to not be held captive
or entangled by judgement;
to hold fast to a promise
that this world will be made new.

It isn’t just you who will be hanging on the cross, Jesus,
With you will be the grace we need to live

[extinguish candle]
and we wait here at the foot of the cross…

[silence]

Reading 4
Mark 15:21-24

Reflection

You taught us to trust in hope, Jesus –
to live as though the world will, one day,
treat the weak with compassion,
offer freedom to the prisoner,
bring comfort to the afflicted
and give peace to the mourning

It isn’t just you who has been beaten by the world, Jesus
with you is the hope we need to live.

[extinguish candle]
and we wait here at the foot of the cross…

[silence]

Reading 5
Mark 15:25-32

Reflection

You taught us to walk by faith, Jesus
to believe the impossible could happen
in every moment and every place
to live as though it would
right here and now

It isn’t just you who hangs here dying on the cross, Jesus
with you hangs the faith we need to live.

[extinguish candle]
and we wait here at the foot of the cross.

Reading 6
Mark 15:33-40

Reflection

You taught us to be people of justice, Jesus
and confront evil that would stifle love
and systems that oppress;
to speak honesty into power
and truth for those betrayed

It isn’t just you who hangs here helpless, Jesus
with you is the justice we need to live.

[extinguish candle]
and we wait here at the foot of the cross…

Reading 7

Mark 15:42-47

Reflection

So we wait here
in the shadow
of all that we once knew;
amid the wreckage of a life
that used to make sense;
holding onto a faith that now lies empty

it isn’t just you who has died on the cross, Jesus
but all we are sure of
and all we learnt to trust.

[extinguish candle]
we wait here at the door of your tomb
wondering how we are to keep faith in you…

3 Comments

  1. I like the uncertainty in this and your other Good Friday stuff I’ve just read.

    We invariably seem so focused on the certainty of the resurrection at Easter – little wonder faith is so often shaken to it’s core when we have a Good Friday experience in our lives and have to await the outcome.

    I’m doing the Good Friday service this year, do you mind if I use some of your stuff?

  2. Hi Cheryl, It’s been so busy, including the lead up to Easter! I used this pretty much unchanged (just one line!) on Good Friday.

    I talked a bit about the them I’d picked – “uncertainty” – first (it needs to be a bit more literal for the oldies). Then went into the readings/reflections broken by a very moving rendition of “If It Be Your Will” (Leonard Cohen) by one of the ladies in the church. The whole thing was accompanied by images related to the readings/reflections and a bunch I took of scenes on my TV (sounds daggy, but it was good!) during the LC song.

    If you’d like to see the images, let me know and I’ll find a way to shrink the 30Mb powerpoint!

    The service was well recieved by all, and a number of people came up to me afterwards and said they were deeply moved.

    Thanks again, it was much appreciated.

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