The washing You move from person to person, winding your way through the twelve. You wash them and encircle them binding them in your servant love. Wind your way through us, Lord, from person to person. Let us feel the cleansing waters on face on hands and feet. Encircle us Lord with your protection in this Upper Room, as you bind us in your Servant Love.
The illustrations are by Helen Siegl, world renown artist and author of Clip Art of the Old Testament and Clip Art: Block Prints for Sundays.
Peter There are many roles you could give me Lord, but let me play Peter. Like him I can be weak and strong and foolish all in a minute. Adventurous enough to walk on water, yet lacking in faith when I must forgive my neighbour. Courageous enough to proclaim: ‘You are the Christ’, but reluctant to follow you all the way to the Cross. Imaginative enough to catch a vision of your glory on the mountain top, but so forgetful on the plain. Like a rock in my defence of you, so that I can raise my sword and cut off the ear of the high-priest’s slave, but ready to disappear at your arrest. Bold enough to follow you into the courtyard of the high-priest, but weak enough to say: ‘I do not know the man.’ Presumptuous enough to proclaim: ‘I shall never desert you.’ Yet weak enough to find the disciples and inform them, that I, Peter denied you three times and experienced your forgiveness. There are many roles you could give me, Lord, but let me play Peter.
Was this your special place Lord,
this Garden of Gethsemane?
A place to which you could escape,
to be alone, to pray, to walk.
A place where you could train your disciples,
explain the Scriptures to them,
plan the mission to towns and villages.
A place of refuge from the day’s work in Jerusalem,
with the pressure building up.
For a moment the air is calm,
then the little breezes in the trees,
then the soldiers.
The garden a wilderness of anxiety and fear.
The calm destroyed by Judas,
and his opposition to your plans.
You Lord, on your way to the Cross:
Judas on his way to disillusionment and death.
We seem unable to make our space a garden of peace,
where people can live in harmony, with self-respect.
Our ideologies divide our cities into rich and poor,
our townships become places of violence,
our homes, dwellings of strife.
Like Judas we lead soldiers into the garden.
We are intent on opposing you
on your journey of suffering Love.
We are intent on opposing
the wholeness you offer to bring us.
In you we see someone seeking only to do God’s will,
to be God’s instrument,
to be God’s servant on the way to the Cross.
Take me with you Lord, just a little down that road.
John 13:18-30; 18:2-9
We have no King but Caesar You see how I vacillate Lord when my life is in danger. I should be shouting ‘Away with Caesar!’ You know how I hate the presence of these overlords, who bring their foreign culture, who militarise our streets, who make us feel so inferior. But when I’m threatened, I must side-step the Truth. I must chant and dance with the crowd ‘We have no King but Caesar.” if I declared myself openly for you Lord, what would it mean? Down which insecure alley will you lead me? I see the Caspirs in the street, the crowd moving away from me. I see the inside of a courtroom, the place of execution, the loneliness of a person on his way to the Cross. And I don’t want to share that loneliness. In the business meeting, the student controversy, the family discussion, the ratepayers’ gathering, the classroom decision. I move to the crowd, and cry… ‘We have no King but Caesar.’ John 19:1-30
Good Friday It’s easy to build a Cross, Lord. Two pieces of wood, some nails and fifteen minutes at a bench. It doesn’t take me long to find someone to put on the Cross. Some poor vulnerable innocent A spectacle for my friends and I to mockingly crucify. it’s far more difficult for me to build houses for needy people. It’s far more difficult for me to paint a picture, creating something of beauty. It’s far more difficult for me to create a sense of community in my neighbourhood. It’s far more difficult for me to be a good committed parent to my children. It’s far more difficult for me to feed the hungry or fight for justice. It’s so much easier for me to be destructive, to build a Cross or to close my eyes and never become involved, to sit back and watch the television. It’s far too difficult for me to Love. Lord, stretched out on the Cross for me stretch me to life and to Love.
The servant When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said to Him, ‘You, Lord, washing my feet?’ Christ, always coming down. From the right hand of the Father to the home of Joseph and Mary. From the mount of Transfiguration to the politics of the plain. Christ, always coming down. From the Sermon on the Mount to untouchable lepers. From the worship of the temple to the village synagogue. Christ, always coming down. From the company of Pharisees to eating with publicans and sinners From the discussion with rabbis to friendship with fishermen. Christ, always coming down. From a mission to Israel to a Syrophoenician woman. From the road to Jerusalem to a blind Bartimaeus. Christ, always coming down. From the garden of solitude to a crowded courtroom. From the head of the table to wash our feet on the floor. Christ, always coming down. From the future of humanity to the present moment. From the right hand of the Father to be the servant Lord for me. John 13:1-6
Good Friday Blessing There is a darkness descending upon our world But deep within a tomb a womb of the earth a light glows with intensity. It is the light of our Salvation consuming the darkness. And so, may the blessing of God Almighty the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you always.