Friday, 18 April 2014

Black - the colour of death

Black (Friday)

Black speaks of death and dereliction,
of abandonment
and betrayal.

Black covered the earth as Christ died,
having endured
the agony of the cross.

Black steals every colour: the green and the red, the purple and the white, all sucked up

absorbed into black.

So, in Jesus’ death
are captured
all the colours of the Passion:
the green of field and palms,
the red of resilience and hope,
the purple of priesthood,
the white of table fellowship
all melding into
the black of death and dereliction.

With such a mix
perhaps it is inevitable
that some of the colours should leech that some should seep through.

But, for now,
black is the colour of death 

The Son of God

Mark 15:37-39
Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” 

"Truly this man was God's Son"
Proclaimed by a centurion 
the agent of the oppressive occupying regime
who oversaw his crucifixion.
Believed by the women
who gathered around the cross
unable to leave Jesus
even though witnessing his agony
was searing their soul.
The Son of God
who had spoken of his impending suffering and death
breathed his last
and died.
And the truth was revealed:
Truly this was the Son of God.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

You also should serve...

John 13:12-15
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

Doing for others 
as our Lord did for us.
Fulfilling our calling
to serve one another.
Lord, you know how hard that is 
You know how exhausting
and draining
and soul sucking it is
to give and give
and give again.
You also know
that we are far from perfect
as you were.
So what's the deal?
When does enough
become too much?
When can we give in
to our weariness
and come and sit by you?
We are not you
Nor do you expect us to be
But it is so hard to discern
where to draw the line
and when we can say:
"Enough already"
And in this Holiest of weeks
when we see you overwhelmed
and when we ourselves are overcome
by the depth of your love
and your sacrifice
we pray for strength
and wisdom
and incredible love
to fill us
uphold us
and nurture us
so that we 
can feed your sheep.
For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

Maundy Thursday

Matthew 26:26-30
The Institution of the Lord’s Supper
 While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Maundy Thursday
White - 
The cloth
thrown over the table
settles and comes to rest 

covering and beautifying. 
Covering up the scratches
of wear and tear
and family use,
transforming the kitchen table                                                                                                                                                 
making it a welcoming space 
not just for family but for visitors too.
A place to greet old friends and make new.
A place to catch up with life and each other.
A place to encourage, persuade and cajole.
A place to listen and console.
A place to celebrate and commiserate.
A place to share food
that nurtures and sustains.

The bread of life, 
broken and shared around a table.
Gathered up
as each gives and takes what they need
and returns to give
and to take some more.

White, the colour of fellowship, a colour of the Passion. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Matthew 27:45-56
The Death of Jesus
 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
 Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Many women were there
Women who had followed Jesus
ministering to him.
Some whose sons were travelling with Jesus
Some who had known the power of Jesus' healing
Some who were touched by his teaching
Some whose lives had been transformed 
by their encounter with the Son of God.
Looking on, from a distance,
they supported each other.
They did not require
an earthquake
to be convinced
that this was the Son of God.
Not even resurrection.
But they were rewarded
by being the first to encounter
the Risen Christ.
Many women were there...

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A woman's dream

Matthew 27:15-23
Barabbas or Jesus?
 Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he realised that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

A disturbing dream
A persistent wife
An indecisive man
A government that wanted to show strength
A fickle crowd that wanted blood
All conspired to a fate sealed
Crucify him!
And so Jesus, called the Messiah
who had haunted the dreams
of Pilate's wife
bought the release of the notorious Barabbas
and signed his own death warrant.
How often are we besieged
by insidious voices
that come to us unbidden
and sway us into decisions
we might not ordinarily have made
if we had been given time
to consider the facts
and not been pressured
by the clamour and the noise
into irreversible action?
"Have nothing to do with that innocent man"
And so Pilate washed his hands
and let the crowd decide.
And a woman's dream 
helped to seal the fate
of our Lord.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The bystanders

Matthew 26:69-75
Peter’s Denial of Jesus
 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant- girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before all of them, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” When he went out to the porch, another servant- girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said:“Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

There are always the observers
and the bystanders
Those who see all
who take it in
who watch
and wait
and weigh
and measure.
There are those who
stay on the fringes,
who hang back,
don't get involved.
And then there are those
who pitch in.
Those who, from the shadows
want to be in on the action.
Those who perceive wrongdoing
and want to make things right.
"He was there"
"That's one of his friends"
Both offered as indictments
not encouragement.
To be identified
as one of Jesus of Nazareth's cohorts
was not a compliment
but a judgment
a risky calling.
The women who served
had noticed.
Call it a woman's intuition
Call it curiosity...
It was the women
who called Peter out
on his friendship
and his loyalty.
The women
who confronted Peter
with his denial.
And Peter wept bitterly...

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