Prayer ∓mp; Meditation for Good Friday

These meditations and prayers have been based on the words of Jesus on the cross as recorded by the Gospel writers. It is tradition in the Christian Church to focus on these words on Good Friday.

Read the Bible Passages indicated and spend a few moments reflecting on each one. Then, use the prayer that follows as a guideline to express your own thoughts.

Father, forgive them . . . (Luke 23: 34)

We have all been sinned against. We have all been effected by the evil in this world. But none more than you, Lord. Our pain can never compare to yours, and yet despite the pain we caused you, you entered into our pain to experience the consequences of our evil from our perspective. Through Jesus, you suffered and died. You experienced death, and yet, when we hammered nails into your flesh and left you to hang on a cross - naked, exposed - when we taunted you and mocked you - you gave us your forgiveness. You, the victim, gave forgiveness without asking for anything in return. We always expect to receive forgiveness before we give it. But you gave before we asked. Instead of demanding that we beg your forgiveness, you gave us your forgiveness. Help us learn to give forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Help us to seek first to give and then receive, not receive before we give. When we do this, we will find healing for ourselves and for our country.

Today, you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23: 43)

Father God, we acknowledge that we have all sinned. We all fall short of your glory. If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves and, we deceive you. We have joint responsibility for the consequences of sin in this world - for all the pain and the suffering - for all the injustice. We have deliberately and consciously hurt others and you. We have also contributed to the pain and suffering by our silence, by not specking out, and by not doing enough to stop the suffering. Like the thief on the cross next to you, we cry out to you for forgiveness and, even though we don't deserve your love and your forgiveness, you give it to us. Help us to accept your forgiveness - your gift of grace given freely to us. Help us to enter into the experience of forgiveness that you promised the thief.

Woman, behold you son . . . (John 19: 26)

We are all equal as we stand before the cross. Your arms, Lord, stretched out link us all - it joins me to each other person who stands before you and, joins them to me. We are responsible for each other. As you gave Mary to John, you call us to give ourselves to each other. Help us to accept this responsibility, especially in this country of ours. As we accept responsibility for one another, and begin to reach out to one another, please bring about healing and reconciliation in our land.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27: 46)

Father, so often it feels as if you have abandoned us. When we look around at the pain and the suffering in this world, we wonder if you are in control. And yet we know Lord, that as you abandoned Jesus on the cross for that moment that he became our sin you embraced all of creation with your love and forgiveness. As the community that is perfect and complete through all time - the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - was broken the community between you and creation was restored. In that, our community can also be restored. Your brokeness brought about our wholeness - our restoration. In that moment of darkness, your light continued to shine through. May your light shine in our darkness. May you bring about wholeness in our brokeness. May we begin to see you for who you really are - a God so committed to healing that you took all pain and suffering upon yourself and destroyed its' power to destroy us.

I am thirsty . . . (John 19: 28)

As you thirsted on the cross, we thirst for more of you in our lives. Your thirst shows us how much you longed for us to be restored. You were willing to engage our sin to such an extent. Help us Lord, to be willing to enter into the pain and anguish of those around us to the same extent. It is so easy for us simply to observe - to engage from a distance. We give handouts so easily, but we are not willing to experience their thirst as you experienced ours. We thirst for you Lord, and we thirst to love as you have loved. We need more than just our daily bread, we need your kingdom to reign in our lives - to transform us - to heal us - so that we can bring healing and transformation to others - to this nation, and to all nations.

It is complete . . . (John 19: 30)

Thank you that the goal has been reached - that the work of salvation is complete. Thank you that your kingdom has come and that we can begin to partake of that kingdom. Thank you that there is nothing more that we can do - you have done it all. Help us not to take this gift for granted, Lord. Help us to live the kingdom and to bring about your kingdom wherever we are and wherever we go.

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit . . . (Luke 23: 46)

When we realise that there is nothing more that we can do, we too, like Jesus commit ourselves into your hands. We commit ourselves to your prefect community. Thank you that through the gift of your son's life, creation is restored. What was in the beginning is now and always will be. Our community with you is restored, and through that, all community can be restored. Help us to be agents of restoration as we commit ourselves to your perfect community. Help us to bring about community here. We give ourselves to you completely knowing that only in you can we find wholeness and healing. We hand our country to you knowing that only in you can our country find wholeness and healing. We hand our world to you knowing that only in you can our world find wholeness and healing. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

© Steven Lottering 2001

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