At the foot of the cross
A devotion for Good Friday
Using words from A Palm Sunday Service drawn up by Diana Adams
Golgotha, the place of the skull.
The cross of Christ, on which hung the Saviour of the world.
By your hold cross you have redeemed the world.
On the cross Jesus offered himself to the Father for the whole world.
At the foot of the cross, we join our prayers with his.
We glory in your cross, O Lord, and praise and glorify your holy resurrection.
For, by virtue of the cross, joy has come to the whole world.
God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us
That your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.
We glory in your cross, O Lord, and praise and glorify your holy resurrection;
For, by virtue of the cross, joy has come to the whole world.
Hymn: There is a green hill far away
As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”; and to the hills, “Cover us.” For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’
Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us.
Take from our lives, from our souls, from our consciences all that has offended you,
All that has hurt others, and our blindness to the needs of others.
On this day, at this time, we accept deeply in our hearts the only words that can set us free:
The words, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’
And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
Lord, remember us when you come into your kingdom.
Remember us, not for the things which we hope will appear in our obituaries;
Nor for the virtues we occasionally display.
Remember us, as one of the guilty community who hung at your side,
And if life will not let us be in paradise with you today, keep a place for us, we pray.
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
We pray for families, where they are loving and supportive, that their joy might be kept safe.
We pray for families where they are tense, troubled, fragmented,
That they may find a way through pain,
We find ourselves among this fellowship,
Surrounded by people whose journey we have not travelled,
Whose potentials we cannot imagine,
And we know we belong to each other.
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
Lord, by your cry of desperate honesty, rid us of superficial faith, which is afraid of the dark;
Give us when we need it, the courage to doubt, to rage, to question,
until we know we are heard.
We do not ask for easy answers to hard times – we ask for a sense of your solidarity;
That will be enough to let us know that we do not walk or cry alone;
That will enable us to go through the dark and find light again.
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.
Lord, you have made us.
Wee have had these bodies and minds long enough to learn to live with our limitations.
Yet, despite this, something in us yearns, thirsts for something better,
something greater which we know is there.
We sense the disappointment in dashed hopes that deserve to be fulfilled;
In missed opportunitiets which should have led to joy, not frustration;
In people whose potential has been buried or denied, and deserves to flourish.
So much of life demands a resolution.
So thank you for this incompleteness,
Thank you for this yearning,
Thank you for this thirst.
Thank you for giving us enough of you to want more,
And so sense the fullness of eternity within the limits of time.
When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’
Lord, you have convinced us of our sin, and you have forgiven it.
You have convinced us of your way, and have engaged us on it.
You have sown us a foretaste of heaven and have made us members of its commonwealth.
Having overcome the sin of the world, death will be small obstacle.
Just as you foretold that you would be handed over to be crucified, it came true;
Also, you foretold, on the third day you will rise again.
And we will be your witnesses.
Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’
Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, ‘Certainly this man was innocent.’ And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Go … God who before birth called you into being, now calls you back … and we let you go.
Go to heaven, where you will welcome those who die in your faith,
Whose death, with your death, we remember.
Cheered by the prospect of the day when there will be no more death or parting,
And all shall be well, and all shall be one,
May they who have died before us be among the first to welcome us to heaven,
Where, with you enthroned in glory, we shall share the everlasting feast of your family.
Till then, keep us in faith, fill us with hope, deepen us through love, to the glory of your holy name.
Hymn: When I survey the wondrous cross