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
It is finished.
Will you love the “you” you hide
if I but call your name?
and never be the same?
Drawing away from the Cross we follow a path that leads us to the edge of the height and to the descent. Others have passed this way before. The path is well worn. Included in their number may have been the youth, Isaac, in an earlier day. A Midrash suggests that Isaac descended the mount following a different route from that of his aged father. Relieved that his ordeal was over, the Son of Promise may have breathed a sigh of relief.
As we near the edge we catch a phrase – “It is finished,” we hear on the wind. Turning, we see Jesus on the Cross, less robust – his life draining. The scene mirrors that on the Temple Mount where lambs are being slaughtered for the Passover. We pause and reflect.
Deliverance is the theme of this Day in the month of Nissan. Moses and the Children of Israel sacrificed lambs and with the blood stained doorposts and lintels. Jesus’ blood stained a lintel that held arms wide to embrace a delivered People.
The quickening of remembrance – anamnesis – sustained the Children of Israel year by year and generation by generation. Their deliverance continues as an expression of the efficacious love of God and it continues as a yearly remembrance. Fredericton doorposts and lintels no longer are stained with blood but households keeping Passover are delivered from Egypt. And a past event is operative as a current reality in their observance.
With the faint words, “It is finished,” we hear that the New Covenant has been cut – that it is accomplished. The quickening of our remembrance – anamnesis – will sustain us at every opportunity. Our deliverance is seen as an expression of the efficacious love of God we see in Jesus’ Passion. This is a needful event.
Sheep are herded to the Temple and men wrapped in tallits gather on the Temple Mount exulting in God’s Passover. Priests employ themselves in the sacrifices that will telescope time and bring the past into the present as candles are lighted and bitters herbs are shared and roast lamb is consumed.
And while sheep are herded on one hill, on another hill the Lamb of God – the Agnes Dei – is sacrificed and wood is stained and you and I and countless others gather exulting in God’s Redemption. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?
Children of Abraham gather on the Temple Mount and Children of Abraham gather on Golgotha – we have travelled there this afternoon, telescoping time and placing our feet on a path that has led us on a pilgrimage.
“It is finished.”
We have been incorporated into this redemptive event by our baptism. And while it is finished, it has only just begun. The Covenant has been cut. The Covenant has been made. We have been incorporated into a Promise.
“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
The time has come. The Covenant is made. The Promise is this: forgiven, God will remember our brokenness, our sinful condition no more. We are restored, redeemed, made whole – healed.
Our pilgrimage enables us to remember what many of us have forgotten. Caution, fear and apprehension have clouded our memory. Cautious to enter tomorrow’s fresh opportunities we are fearful and apprehensive to live our lives fully as we were meant to be.
“It is finished,” says Jesus. And while it is finished, it has only just begun. A page turns for us as servants of the Lord. As soldiers and servants to our life’s end – and it’s completion – we are encouraged to love the “you” you hide if he but calls your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Bless the Lord, all wild animals and cattle; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, all people on earth; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, O Israel; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, you priests of the Lord; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, you servants of the Lord; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Song of the Three Holy Children vv 59-63
The Good Friday Series...
2011 Come and Follow Me
Midi Tune: Kelvingrove