This year’s Good Friday reflection at St George’s was given by our Reader Christine. You can read it again here:
I am sure many of us older ones will recognise this picture of Robert Powell portraying Jesus in the TV programme “Jesus of Nazareth”, which was first shown in 1977 and I think just about every year after until recently.
The programme brought to life the story of Jesus to many people and when my children were younger we used to watch it leading up to Good Friday. However, I remember on one occasion we were sitting watching it and the children were very quiet (unusual in itself) and the advert break came just after Jesus had died on the cross. My younger daughter then began sobbing not loudly, but obviously upset. When I consoled her and asked her what was the matter, she said quite firmly, that Jesus couldn’t die, he’s alive!
She had become totally absorbed in what she had seen and become part of the crowd watching, she felt the emotions of Jesus’ mother and disciples. I’m sure many of us have at some time experienced this type of emotion, when we’ve been affected by something we have seen or heard.
However old or young we are, we are all invited to become part of the journey Jesus took through the Stations of the Cross and Holy Week. We are all invited to become part of the crowd, to listen to what was said by the crowd and by Jesus.
The crowd; some of whom were probably just going about their daily business until this commotion began. People shouting, women and children crying, a group of men walking solemnly along, heads bent down and Roman soldiers clearing the way for those to be crucified.
But this feels different – there’s some mystery here, one of the men seems to be different to the usual criminals that are led out to receive their punishment. The crowd is different, it’s not the usual mixture, there are a lot of Pharisees, Priests and more soldiers than usual.
Perhaps we should stop and watch!
As we become part of that crowd, those onlookers, we can feel the pain and helplessness of the disciples as they remember the words spoken by Jesus, telling them about what was to happen, but until then they did not understand. They still don’t fully understand why Jesus allowed this to happen. He’s the Messiah; He’s an intelligent man; why did he let this happen? Why did he allow himself to be taken in this way? Why didn’t he leave before it got to this stage?
We feel the pain of Mary as she watches her firstborn son walking in agony through the streets and being nailed to the cross, dying in agony, struggling for breath. The words of Simeon slowly passing through her mind and becoming a reality, “and a sword will pierce your own soul too”. At that moment, Mary must have remembered those words as her heart was pierced with sorrow.
We feel the confusion felt by the crowd, this type of execution was meant for criminals, ”What has this man done? We’ve seen him heal the sick, raise the dead and speak of love and peace. What has he done to deserve this?”
And as we come to the cross and see Jesus’ suffering he seems to lose his faith momentarily as he calls to his Father, “why have you forsaken me?” but Jesus knows his Father thoroughly. He has the faith he needs to trust in God’s promise of resurrection, so with strength and purpose he follows those words with, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Jesus had to see this through to the end for us to be reconciled to God. Jesus took on his shoulders the sins of the whole world.
For the past sins of the people
- When they turned away from God and followed the religion and culture of their capturers
- When they tested God by complaining and worshipping a golden idol in the desert after he had rescued them from Egypt,
- For his people’s disloyalty and refusal to follow his Commandments and Laws,
- For using his Commandments and Laws for the misuse of power
For future sins of us all:
- For people’s inhumanity to others
- For the misuse of world resources
- For the destruction and pollution of God’s creation
God’s forgiveness and promise of the resurrection gave Jesus the strength and determination to go to the cross willingly and as we come to this day following the way of the cross we remember Jesus of Nazareth, his life, his teachings, his healing, his sacrifice and pray that we too can have the strength to follow in his footsteps. Amen.
Christine Hardy, Reader @
St. Margaret’s Holyrood & St. George’s Simister.