For our Good Friday reflection this year, we’d like to invite you to use eight views of our Church to remind you of Jesus story to the cross. Each look has a reflection, a reading, a prayer and an activity. Use these to help you reflect on the Good Friday story.
Stop before you enter the North Door, imagine it being the door to a prison or court room.
“Christ is condemned to death”
Reading: John 19:1-16
Sent to death by a crowd. Imagine the chaos of the scene. No jury or judge. No formalities of court. This was a court shouting for blood. Many of them may have welcomed Jesus with Palm branches the week before. Maybe Jesus just wasn’t the sort of King they wanted. How do you react?
Lord, when you were misunderstood, You silently forgave: but we so often respond in anger, Lord have mercy. Amen
Take a moment of silence. Offer forgiveness in your heart to anyone you need to.
As you enter St Mary’s Church notice the large stone pillars and handcrafted chairs.
“Jesus is flogged and then the Cross is laid upon him as he begins his journey”
Reading: Matthew 27:27-31
Jesus’ journey begins with a cross. One made by human hands. A cross made from tools and materials created by the Father. The cross wasn’t His. He was innocent. This was our cross. This was the cross of me, you and all those you see, each day, around you.
When you were already hurting, You embraced the cross. Thank you Jesus. Amen
Walk over to a chair to sit down. Consider in these short steps the journey Jesus took on our behalf.
Sit down in the Church looking towards the Chancel arch
‘Christ falls for the first time’
Reading: Philippians 2:1-11
Traditional Stations of the Cross meditations have Jesus falling three times. It’s hardly surprising. The weight of the cross. A night of punishment and torture. The pain he’s already enduring. The agony to come. Imagine how it felt to fall.
Lord you embraced and shouldered Your cross, but Your body was weak. Your Body is still weak: Your people shrink from the weight of suffering. In our weakness, Lord, we pray. Your will be done. Amen
Be conscious of the chair taking your weight. As you take the weight off your feet, realise He didn’t have this option. What a gift rest feels. How do you feel about the perseverance he showed just to get to Calvary ?
Look to the back of the Church and the enclosed, dingey ringing chamber
‘Simon of Cyrene is forced to carry the cross’
Reading: Luke 23:26-31
The streets of Jerusalem were tight and close. Rammed with people. Imagine how it felt to push your way through. Simon was given the cross to carry. Here was our Lord needing help. In pain. Tortured. His cross carried. And we reflect Jesus carrying us. And he calls us to pick up our own cross. To carry others.
As Simon took the weight of the cross from Jesus, You have taught us that we must bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. May we carry your cross. Amen.
Noticing the enclosed space, wait in silence. Ask God to speak to you.
Notice the clothes you are wearing.
‘Jesus is stripped of his garments’
Reading: Mark 15:24
He was left with nothing. Naked before the world.
Lord, for our sake You left the riches of heaven and became poor. You came within our reach. May we be open to You, and to each other. Amen.
Recall when you obtained the clothes you are wearing. When we need clothes we can get them. How do you feel ?
Find a cross in the church to look at.
‘Jesus is crucified’
Reading: John 19:16-27
God crucified. Read the words. Let them sink in. Shocking. Incredible.
Father, what love is this of His ? What love is this of Yours that His dying love reflects ? Your forgiveness for me, as we gaze upon His sacrificial death, is as truly an undeserved gift as the pardon He spoke of to the dying thief. It is mine if I will only receive: He was wounded for my transgressions. Amen.
This was God’s way. Death for our life. Do you remember the story of the woman who anointed Jesus with perfume. Jesus said she was preparing him for his burial. Spices for death. Remember smells you associate with Easter – perhaps roast lamb, hot cross buns, chocolate eggs, or Simnel cake. The death we celebrate today is sweet as well as bitter. Reflect.
Notice a candle or tea-light burning.
‘Jesus dies on the cross’
Reading: Luke 23:44-49
How can God die? How can the Son of God breathe his last. Another wonder. Another miracle.
There should be some tea-lights on a table. If you would like to, light one by placing it near to another candle or tea-light, whilst being careful not to get burned! Reflect. If you’d rather not light one, spend some time reflecting on where Jesus’ journey has brought him.
Leave the church through the South porch and look at the graves outside.
‘Jesus is laid in the tomb’
Reading: Luke 23:50-56
Jesus was laid in a borrowed tomb. It was sealed with Roman guards ensuring the disciples didn’t try anything. The Jewish leaders thought this was the end of the story. We know it as the beginning of a new chapter. To those who loved him it must have felt like the end.
When all is dark, and Hope is buried, it is hard to trust His words that promised, before the pain: He died that I might live. Amen
Find a spot in the churchyard where you can sit, or stand. Reflect on the story. Worship and give thanks.
May God bless you with his peace and his presence today and this Easter.
(Adapted from material on 24-7prayer.com )