Come and follow me...
le chemin de Jérusalem
Good Friday - April 22, 2011
The Three-Hour Watch by the Cross
Christ Church (Parish) Church
Westmorland Street, Fredericton
The Reverend Anthony Kwaw
Canon Jim Irvine
download the PDF files
Order of Service - booklet
Meditations - booklet
The Summons - theme hymn
Behold your Mother... Behold your Son.
Will you risk the hostile stare
should your life
attract or scare?
in you and you in me?
We continue our pilgrimage. The path lies before us. If we have courage, we will endure and come to the heart of the matter. Tracing this labyrinthine path will secure our goal: Jerusalem on a darkened day. This is no maze. We will not get lost. There are no false turns, no cul-de-sacs. We turn away by times, only to find that our path to Jerusalem and the heights of Golgotha follows a closer route. We avoid crevasses and ravines but advance inexorably toward not simply a Cross, but Jesus on that Cross.
Each of us has come from different places and for each of us circumstances are different. But for all of our differences, our feet tread a common path. We may travel at a different pace. Some of us need to take the hillside slowly. Others are more sure-footed.
The darkness impedes our advance but it does not discourage it. The closeness of the clouds, dark and angry is threatening. The attendant wind sometimes takes away our breath. But we continue, some solitary, some with someone whose hand we hold tight.
And Jesus’ words are carried again in the dark and on the wind… “Behold… your Mother… your Son…” Those that hear it are alarmed. They look about. Some have not cleared the precipice and cannot see the place Jesus occupies. Those that can, see a veiled woman supported in the arms of a man.
Chilled flesh is shrouded and the visage of the attendants is lost to us. Huddled, High Priest and Temple attendants wrap themselves – protection from the dust and wind, the incessant wind. Soldiers huddle too, wrapped in their capes and turning their faces away from the wind. Mary and John as well huddle together. Conversations are private. And each conversation focuses on the concerns that have gathered here. The fire of each heart burns intemperately. Jesus, struggling with his pain sees his Mother. “Behold your Mother… Behold your Son…”
The elements that provide the weave in this pilgrimage are predicated on love.
And the quality of that love – its depth and character – is best understood as we catch a glimpse of Jesus’ death. This is His “Passion” we say. That which is closest to his heart and that which finds expression is His love. Ever the Rabbi from Nazareth, he has much to teach us and we have much to learn. And Golgotha is a teaching moment – always.
Jesus instructed his disciples that when they prayed, they should address Divinity with the intimacy found in a family. We are drawn into a family of God where we use diminutives that still seem inappropriate and over familiar. But the metaphor is not ours. While we might elect a more formal arrangement in keeping with the grandeur of transcendence Jesus shows us a better way. The immanence of God’s glory allows God to come closer to us than we are willing to be close to Him.
The metaphor is built on a relationship.
And that relationship is wrought on an anvil of love in the darkened smithy of Golgotha. “Behold your Mother… Behold your Son…” Mary and John are no longer acquaintances. Beyond friends, Mary and John are in a familial relationship that provides a pattern for us.
This is a relationship that challenges our current assumptions. This is a relationship that finds its endurance in the patterns we are familiar with from our own experience. We know what parental responsibilities are and what constitutes a relationship with a Father and with a Mother. The relationship is indissoluble – even death cannot overcome the bond of relationship. Distance cannot overcome it either. Whatever the circumstances, the relationship between a parent and a child – of any age – cannot be broken. As the relationship between parents and children cannot be broken, neither can the relationship among siblings be broken. That personal relationship of endurance and recognition is what Jesus invites his followers into.
Standing at the foot of the Cross, accepting Jesus as our personal saviour is shallow when we fail to recognize the relationship in a larger relationship – living out the veracity of the metaphor Jesus engages. How can I say that I love God, we are reminded, whom I have not seen, when I do not love my brother whom I have seen?
Jesus’ brilliance does not dim and the darkness is penetrated as we are drawn by example into a Kingdom. Jesus reigns from a crudely fashioned throne. A nail head fills his palm in place of and orb and in the other hand, in place of a sceptre he grasps another nail head. King of Israel indeed! And in this Kingdom he fashions a relationship.
In this Kingdom, will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
In this Kingdom, will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?
Bless the Lord, fire and heat; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, dews and falling snow; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, nights and days; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, light and darkness; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Song of the Three Holy Children vv 44-48
The Good Friday Series...
2011 Come and Follow Me
Midi Tune: Kelvingrove