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
I commend my spirit.
Will you use the faith you’ve found
to reshape the world around,
in you and you in me?
We are approaching the end of our journey. For the darkness, the path is familiar – we have passed this way before. We retrace our steps as we continue to reflect on the journey. Some of us a weary. Others of us find our spirits energized. The return path seems shorter somehow – perhaps because of the familiar landmarks.
Our steps seem more deliberate somehow, more pensive. Another phrase finds us out – “I commend my spirit.” The task begin, the task is ended. From the beginning to the ending Jesus was steadfast. He may now rest.
The veil of the Temple is torn and as though scales fall from our eyes, we see with clarity that alarms us. That which was kept from us is now disclosed. That which was hidden is now revealed. The epiphanies of the Passion of Jesus reveal such love as we have never seen.
The needfulness of Golgotha in the redemption of God’s people has been carried in our hearts to Jerusalem and back. Our hearts have been examined. Our terrors and our fears have been displaced. As Jesus was lifted up indeed we were all drawn to him. Assurance has birthed conviction that has encouraged us, given us heart. Jesus now breathes his last and speaks for the last time into the darkness of an oppressive Day – “I commend my spirit.”
For all of his God forsakenness, Jesus knows that there is no other end. For all of the confusion that beset him as he drifted in and out of lucidity, his restlessness can only find quiet in God. The prayers and accusations and blasphemies of Golgotha brought redemption to a furnace that enabled salvation to be wrought on an anvil established from the foundation of the world.
Where else do we have to turn in our darkest moments when fears begin to erode our resolve? In the silence of the dark night of our soul we know by our pilgrimage today that we are not alone. What darkness there is need not cripple or paralyse us. Jesus entered a darkness that enveloped him and that darkness did not overcome him.
We have been rescued from Hades and saved from the power of death. We exult in a deliverance that reaches beyond Egypt, beyond slavery, beyond be a stranger in a strange land. Jesus has accomplished his task. Our fear of the darkness is transformed into exultation.
Our response is enduring thanksgiving. The pilgrimage we have made today is a beginning. Thankful at all times and in all places, we are challenged to exit the Labyrinth and this Nave and enter a world that lies before us, with enduring thanksgiving. Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around? Will you be a blessing to others who are lepers and unclean? Will you touch lives too fearful to enter this holy place – who will never rub elbows with others in a pew? Will Jesus’ sight on Golgotha and touch and sound in you affect lives needful of the assurance we have witnessed this Day?
With Jesus, we commend our spirits, turning a page and finding a new beginning. All that we accomplish we find as the fruit of our enduring thanksgiving. We seek not success but to reflect the compassion of God that will displace the apprehension in others’ lives.
Our best is only the superlative of our good and we know that no man is good… even Jesus disdained the honorific. Those that know that they are holy exult Jesus in his redemptive activity. Those who are humble in heart sing praises.
Bless the Lord, spirits and souls of the righteous; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, you who are holy and humble in heart; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever. For he has rescued us from Hades and saved us from the power of death, and delivered us from the midst of the burning fiery furnace; from the midst of the fire he has delivered us.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever.
All who worship the Lord, bless the God of gods, sing praise to him and give thanks to him, for his mercy endures forever.
Song of the Three Holy Children vv 64-68
The Good Friday Series...
2011 Come and Follow Me
Midi Tune: Kelvingrove