Tag Archives: The Cross

Discipleship and vulnerability: A prayer for Maundy Thursday


This prayer was one I wrote for Epiphany Sunday 2013 (see here).  Christine Jerrett very kindly suggested I reblog it on Maundy Thursday – a night of shadows. Christine writes (among other things) her own beautiful prayers that are challenging, life affirming and encouraging. You can find her blog here.

I pray that this prayer will help your meditation on this night of brokenness, denial and betrayal. Thanks Christine.

Lord we love to offer you our successes,
our strengths and our achievements.
But what are they compared with your glory,
your majesty, your power?

Yet you come to us tonight, not in victory but in vulnerability.
You come in weakness, as the baby revealed to the wise men,
as the saviour on the cross who could not save himself.
You come with broken body and tormented soul.

In awe and in wonder, we gather round your table tonight.
We receive your brokenness,
and we offer to you, and to each other, our brokenness in return.
As we touch your wounds tonight, and you touch ours,
open our hearts to the wonder of your love,
and the saving power of your brokenness.

For we acknowledge that, while we may never pull a trigger in anger,
we are made of the same stuff as every other sinner:
the same fears drive us, the same selfishness, pride and greed;
We are as full of insecurities and mistrust as every sinner.

Help us to embrace our own vulnerability, our own brokenness,
so that the fruit of your love may become the fruit of our lives:
a feast for our family, our community and our world.

Amen

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Filed under Lent, Prayers and Meditations

Tenebrae: the shadows gather


Click on picture for more informationThe shadows gather around you.
The crowd has forgotten its hosannas;
They are learning a new song: Crucify!
Not my will, but yours be done.

The knowledge of what is to come
lies heavy on your shoulders.
There is the crowd, of course;
And there is (how do we begin to imagine it)
There is the cross.
Not my will, but yours be done.

But there is also the betrayal—
You knew it was coming.
You knew about the denial, too.
You knew they would desert you.
Not my will, but yours be done.

How could you possibly go ahead
If your very disciples were going to leave you?
You loved the world;
Your death would save the world.
But who would ever know?
What if the world was never to find out?
Not my will, but yours be done.

That’s the point, isn’t it?
“Not my will, but yours be done.”
Ours are human questions;
The human Jesus could not face the cross
With these questions swirling through his head.

Not my will, but yours be done.
“Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
For me, for every one of us,
You held the Father’s hand
And walked to Calvary.
You walked through the betrayal,
The denial, the desertion.
You took my sin and walked to the cross.

And the darkness was complete.

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Lent Diary 2012: Easter Saturday and Handel’s Messiah


“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.” (Based on Revelation 5: 12-13)

If you could take one human-made thing to heaven, what would it be? But what if, in all of heaven, there was to be only one thing that had been made on earth.  How do we choose something precious and meaningful for everyone: for kings and rulers; for sporting legends and movie stars; for shopaholics and the poorest of the poor; for empire builders and environmentalists?

Someone has suggested that there is one set of human-made items in heaven.  They are objects of intense worship. They bring the wearer power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing.  None of us would have chosen to bring them to heaven; none of us is proud to find them there. But it wasn’t our choice; it was God’s.  The only human-made things in heaven are the wounds of the nails in the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

It is significant that the glory of the Christ is not in his majestic position or his power, but in his wounds.  He may well be the Lion of Judah but in heaven he is glorified as the Lamb of God, who was slain.

Here on earth, this Easter Saturday, as we ponder the events of Good Friday, we can only kneel in shame and recognition that our sins (yours and mine) caused those wounds.  But it was no accident.  “The Lamb was slain from the creation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)  Our sin and the only solution were known to God from the beginning; his love made it inevitable. His wounds are not marks of shame but evidence of God’s extravagant love.  That is why, in heaven, they are worshiped, and why, even on Easter Saturday, we can join in the heavenly chorus, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!”

Prayer
Lamb of God, our sin led you to the cross, but your cross frees us from our sin.  Thank you for taking on our shame so that we can share in your glory.

This was my contribution for Easter Saturday to “The Lent Diary”, a devotional project of Prestbury Methodist Church to which some 40 different people contribute each year.  This year the meditations were based on the readings used in Handel’s Messiah

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Sour Dough: Hot Cross Christians


Hot Cross Buns!

Hot Cross Buns! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had no idea that hot cross buns were such a sacred part of our Christian Easter heritage with such significant theological symbolism.  Christians in South Africa have complained that Woolworths has placed a Halaal certification sticker on their hot cross buns.One satirical headline put it, “Woolworths shoppers foil Islamist hot cross bun terror plot.”

The food chain apologised for the upset and said it would release separate buns in future: non-Halaal certified hot cross buns and Halaal certified spiced buns.  It sounds incredible, but comments posted onto online news articles reflect the anger and the arrogance of the Christians(?) who started the furore in the first place.

I remember a Hindu friend who said, “But Christmas is for everyone.”  I say, “Amen” to that.  And so is Easter and everything else that is of Christ.  And if putting a Halaal sticker on hot cross buns ensures that a Muslim (or anyone else) might eat one and (who knows) maybe think about the One who died for us all, how cool is that?

Our reaction to the sticker however has just ensured that, if the bun doesn’t stick in his throat, he (or she) will only be interested in the taste.  There will be no interest in anyone or anything associated with such arrogant exclusivism.  How sad is that?  Have we become the very people who put Jesus on the cross?

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The Cross and the Flood


A prayer written for the sermon, Into the Flood: Priests First

Flood of June 2006
Image by marnanel via Flickr

Almighty God, our Father,
The raging flood terrifies us and we tremble at its edge.
We are paralysed with fear and we cry out to you.

You tamed the raging waters of creation,
When your Spirit brooded over the deep.
You split the Red Sea and held back the waters of the Jordan
You brought your people through on dry ground. 

Father, we too stand at the edge of the flood.
We cannot overcome the poverty that grips us;
We cannot defeat the sin that lures us;
We are twisted by years of criticism and negativity,
Trapped by bitterness and hatred,
Held back by our guilt and our shame.

The water threatens to sweep us away.
And in our despair we cry to you, O Lord,
We are powerless before the flood,
Yet you make a way for us.
You plant your cross and a crown of thorns;
Your broken body breaking the water’s power. 

Open our eyes to your cross, O Lord.
Help us see only the dry ground.
And, holding firm to the cross, help us bring others home. 

Amen

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