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Holy Week With the Moderator: Friday

Holy Week With the Moderator: Friday

Friday April 19

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev Susan Brown, continues our journey through Holy Week


Friday

Yesterday we left Jesus and his friends outside in the garden. They had gone there after supper.

Can I ask you to take your stone in your hand and to imagine…

Your stone is one that’s been picked up from the rocky dirt of Gethsemane –

Perhaps it’s one the disciples spread their cloaks on

To make sleep less uncomfortable…

Perhaps it’s one that caught Jesus’ tears as they spilled over as he prayed…

Perhaps your stone was one kicked by the marching feet of the army that suddenly arrived…

Jesus had been praying in the garden – his friends had slept.

Then Judas arrived…

In the dead of night…

A carefully chosen moment – read Mark 14:43-50:

Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him. Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

“Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Then everyone deserted him and fled.

Now turn to Luke 22:54-62 to hear what happens next…

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

The stone in your hand…

Is now warm from the fire in the courtyard of the High Priest –

Holding on to it, think of times when you have denied Jesus…

When people have made fun of the church perhaps…

When they’ve rubbished religion

When they’ve asked – how can anyone be daft enough to believe…

And you have said nothing….

and hear the cock crow…


Long story short….. Pilate sat on the Judge’s seat…

In the place called the stone pavement…

A hard place…

And he handed Jesus over

To be crucified…

He was crucified along with two others.

People watching,

spat insults at Jesus –

Going to rebuild the Temple in three days were you?

You can’t even get yourself down off a cross!

The soldiers played dice for his clothes…

Blood stained though they were

Purple fabric was worth something…

Feel again the stone in your hand…

Could it roll like the dice?

Do we ever let our own needs make us turn a blind eye to the suffering of others?

Read Matthew 27:45-54:

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eli, Eli,lema sabachthani? (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

There is no night so bleak as this.

There is no quick answer to its horror,

All we can do is wait…

Wait to see what a stone might lead to.

A stone...

Rolled away.