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Good Friday, 10th April 2020

Today is Good Friday, the most solemn day.
Our Gospel Reading is John 18.1- to the end of Chapter 19

The Gospel reading today is a long one, and as you sit and read, take time to let the truth of it touch you. It is a hard Gospel to read, and a heartbreaking one.
We offer not particular reflection today but you may want to connect with the resources below. The great work of today though, is to be still, to pray, to read and listen with the heart.

Sing: The hymn- my Song is love unknown- you can find a link here

Look: The picture above by Rembrandt is, for me, a stark place of deflation. It carries the powerful truth of the cross.

Meditate: These powerful reflections are from the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft

Poetry: An extract from The Dream of the Rood
This ancient poem, originally written in Anglo Saxon in the 8th Century, is a profound meditation on the cross

The Rood (cross of Christ) speaks:

“It was long past – I still remember it –
That I was cut down at the copse’s end,
Moved from my root. Strong enemies there took me,
Told me to hold aloft their criminals,
Made me a spectacle. Men carried me
Upon their shoulders, set me on a hill,
A host of enemies there fastened me.

“And then I saw the Lord of all mankind
Hasten with eager zeal that He might mount
Upon me. I durst not against God’s word
Bend down or break, when I saw tremble all
The surface of the earth. Although I might
Have struck down all the foes, yet stood I fast.

“Then the young hero (who was God almighty)
Got ready, resolute and strong in heart.
He climbed onto the lofty gallows-tree,
Bold in the sight of many watching men,
When He intended to redeem mankind.
I trembled as the warrior embraced me.

But still I dared not bend down to the earth,
Fall to the ground. Upright I had to stand.
“A rood I was raised up; and I held high
The noble King, the Lord of heaven above.

I dared not stoop. They pierced me with dark nails;
The scars can still be clearly seen on me,
The open wounds of malice. Yet might I
Not harm them. They reviled us both together.
I was made wet all over with the blood
Which poured out from his side, after He had
Sent forth His spirit. And I underwent
Full many a dire experience on that hill.

I saw the God of hosts stretched grimly out.
Darkness covered the Ruler’s corpse with clouds
His shining beauty; shadows passed across,
Black in the darkness. All creation wept,
Bewailed the King’s death; Christ was on the cross….

“Now you may understand, dear warrior,
That I have suffered deeds of wicked men
And grievous sorrows. Now the time has come
That far and wide on earth men honor me,
And all this great and glorious creation,
And to this beacon offers prayers.

On me
The Son of God once suffered; therefore now
I tower mighty underneath the heavens,
And I may heal all those in awe of me.
Once I became the cruelest of tortures,
Most hateful to all nations, till the time
I opened the right way of life for men.”My prayer for you is that, as our community and nation go through a time of suffering and trial, we may know that our Lord Jesus Christ understands our desolation and joins us in our difficulties with compassion and love which we cannot put words to.
May you know the blessing of God’s love today.

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