Friday, March 31, 2006

day twenty-eight moment

"whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you
remember Christ crucified and be silent"
John of the Cross

today I think of Mary
of her life as Jesus' mother
and simply wish to be with her at the cross
as she sees her son crucified

"woman behold your son"
John 19:26

although cloudless
the Jerusalem sky darkens
the weight of the air settling on those remaining
along with a sense of inexplicable dread

slowly strangling by the air he cannot exhale
can only pant

there is one who captures his gaze
who captivates his heart
this one leaning on John

what does he feel
as his eyes lock
with those of this woman
who bore him in her own body

does his heart break

crying quietly
reaches toward his face
refusing to take her eyes from her son

"woman, behold your son"

and to John

"behold your mother"

and the eyes of Jesus close

brought into the world with the shame of illegitimacy
taken from the work with the shame of crucifixion

darkness descends
demons begin their premature celebration
God's chosen vessel suffers her own unique pain

give me the courage to pray as your mother did
"be it done unto me according to your word"
and when I waver
let me remember nothing I can suffer
can ever compare with the agony you faced on Golgotha's hill.

day twenty-seven moment

"when the true meaning of the crucifixion dawns upon us
then the whole sordid bloody painful death
shall make us tremble before its glory"
Ben M Herbster

"Jesus hath now many lovers of his heavenly kingdom
but few bearers of his cross ........
many follow Jesus unto the breaking of bread
but few to the drinking of the cup of his passion"
Thomas a Kempis

drunken soldiers
pious priests
sordid onlookers
the One is quiet

the sky starts to swallow the midday sun

one of the three feels hope slipping away
and terror closing in
the other speaks the Name
and the One speaks the reassuring words
"today you shall be with me ......."
opening the door to the garden of God's presence
to let one sinner in

the sky grows gray
the crowds begin to leave
the soldiers settle into their drunkenness
the priests remain proud, haughty
filled with righteous contempt for the One
hanging near death

awakening moment

it is amazing
that on this day
March 31
I have been able to work in the garden

carefully picking up the dead
and uncovering life

and it is so very good
to see the abundance of life

even the pond has resurfaced
after kicking off its blanket of ice

one dead fish came floating up
but all in all
I am strengthened by the newness
the green
the awakening

and I recall that it was March 23, 2003
in the lane by the church
the one
who lost her way

and thinking she was warm
lay down in the snow
to sleep
and never awaken

and it was at that time
I put some words on paper
in her memory

her name meant
beloved of the cross

and I am reminded again of
how it was the thinking she was warm
and thus safe
that enabled her to sleep

and how deceived she was

words in scripture
tell of the lukewarm church
and how they were deceived
in their warmth

there is an importance
of not being deceived
into thinking I am in a place of safety
in a position of warmth

and all this brings me strength
to take the step
that needs to be taken

Jesus marked the path
with drops of His blood

The Hand of the Gardener

I began to stir in the pulling
the uncovering
by a Hand so gentle

at first I did not welcome the awakening
in the cold I had fallen asleep
lulled into feeling warm
I slept in iciness

hidden under a blanket of hopes and dreams
that had slowly
like the used up leaves of fall
dropped one by one to the ground

until in my nakedness
with nothing left to offer
I slept
into death
then the Hand of God
pulling at the covering of what had been
frozen in the tears of not understanding
encrusted with scars of rejection

eyes swollen shut in silent anguish
fists clenched in the pain of despair
feet bloodied from traveling stony ground
muscles cramped in the smothering of tradition

I tried to withdraw
to sink deeper into my sleeping death
only to be thawed in a shower of His tears

fearfully, hesitantly
daring to stretch from beaten down to erect
I began to grasp at the warmth of the Son
as icy death melted in the heat of His breath

roots dormant for so long
in the darkness of this drawn out season
and reached towards Life

things are not as they seemed
what was dead has life

for such a time as this
March 23, 2003

Monday, March 27, 2006

figuring it out moment

at last
I think I finally have an analogy
that I can wrap my head around

there is a divorce
the dad
the head of the family leaves

although lots of whispering
and wondering
no one is allowed to ask any questions
talk about what happened
or even about what led up to it

the family is still together
just no dad around the table

a visiting "uncle" arrives
just for awhile
to help bring some stability to this floundering family

the visiting uncle
has moved in
unpacked his bags to stay
and it is evident this never was a visit

and the family feels somewhat duped

still no one is allowed to ask questions

now uncle is dad
and the new dad introduces into the family
his plans
his dreams
his goals
but also his pains
past wounds
past failures

and the family starts to feel the pressure
of unfamiliar hands reshaping them
in an unfamiliar way

and I guess I am just one of the daughters
in this now blended family

I still love this family
but the blend doesn't feel quite so comfortable

I don't understand the desire to go bowling
as opposed to sitting 'round the table
and touching one another

and perhaps it is not good to be too comfortable in any case

and perhaps it is time this daughter moved out
and found another table to sit around

the family will still be the family
there will be visits and hopefully hugs


I need to start packing my stuff
and look for open arms
and an open door .........

it is not all that easy to pack up
and I must be careful not to take along anything
that I should leave behind

it is important to travel lightly
with open hands
and a soft heart

and I realize I am very tired of moving
I do not like being a vagabond
I think there could be some danger in being a vagabond

Sunday, March 26, 2006

day twenty-six moment

today I seek in some way a new revelation of the glory of this Savior
who lay down his life in love.

mocked by the priests
and the elders
Jesus is silent

what can he say
what words would change the evil in the hearts of men
who glory in his humiliation

like a roar
the scorn at Golgotha
reaches the portals of heaven

the savior of the world will not save himself
and let man be damned
to the hopelessness of hell

what kind of love is this
that he would choose to endure each moment of torment

God and Lamb
the great I AM

Saturday, March 25, 2006

day twenty-five moment

"Age by age the Lord Christ is crucified
and we too have crowded eagerly to Calvary
and nailed him to the cross
and laughed up into his face
and watched him die
and gone our way well pleased
and much relieved
that we have hustled him out of the way"
A.J. Gossip

"those passing by were hurling abuse at him
wagging their heads
and saying
if you are the son of God
come down from the cross
Matt 27:39-40

rejected by men
precious in the sight of God

mid day
the sun beating down
the Son sweating profusely
shaking with chills
trying to rise up to get air
only to fall down heavily

dislocating a shoulder

tortuous pain

mocking laughter from those gathered 'round
their words like arrows piercing his heart

does he hear them
does he long for a touch of kindness
from someone

the One is silent
fighting for every breath

and how often do I too
in my selfishness
stand with the mockers
and completely miss
the eternal significance of his impending death

Friday, March 24, 2006

day twenty-four moment

"above his head
they put up the charge against him
which read
Matt 27:37

for a moment
it is quiet
the eyes of the soldiers close as they rest
the eyes of John and the women are on the face of Jesus

his feet press together
in his struggle to raise up

he gasps for air like a drowning swimmer

and then dropping back down
the weight of his body
drags on his outstretched arms
and his face contorts with pain

the priests gather to argue about the words inscribed above Jesus' head


Jesus is dying
a slow death

the hands that once fashioned the world
now pierced
and nailed to wood

and I can only kneel
bow down
and wash his feet with my tears

what more can I do

Thursday, March 23, 2006

day twenty-three moment

"though broadly embraced as a religious icon
the cross descends like a brooding storm
T. Rhodes

I wrestle with the wounds of Christ
until they become a balm
for my tormented heart
for the smoldering ruins of the holocaust
in my own soul

and can it be
that he
should die
for me

this man Jesus
on the cross

all around him life goes on
some stop and stare
some curious
some disturbed
some entertained
yet all oblivious

but for one man and a few women
huddled in silent grief


the soldiers
haggling over his clothes
even to the seamless piece


and then

Father forgive them

slips from his swollen lips

and God, the Father nods his head

and yet it is I who stand at his feet
with the soldiers
and the priests
in desperate need of compassion
for I too sealed his fate with my sins

and his voice descends like a gentle rain
on the desert of my heart
held so tenderly
in those nail pierced hands

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

day twenty-two moment

lifted up to die

when they came to the place called The Skull
there they crucified him
Luke 23:33

4 soldiers approach
the One
stripping away all his clothing
pulling blood and flesh with it

led to the cross beam
Jesus voluntarily lies down
placing his arms across the rough wood
pressing the thorns deeper into his head

open wounds filled with the dust of the journey
the Son of God lays down his life


nail pierces through flesh into wood
Jesus moans


the 2nd nail
the other wrist

now the wood is lifted up
leaving this man Jesus suspended in mid air
and he is carried thus to the empty stipe

snapped into place
left foot grabbed
placed over the right foot


the third nail pierces flesh

searing spasms
tortuous pain

this death is not easy
and will not come quickly
the price is not yet paid for the sins
of a dying world.

hanging in the wind and sun
wounds too many to count
and I am irresistibly drawn to his side
I cannot turn away
not now
not ever

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

day twenty one moment

"I want to recover the truth
that Jesus was not crucified on an altar between two candlesticks
but on a garbage heap
at a crossroads of the world
where soldiers gambled
and cynics talked smut."
George McCloud

they brought him to the place Golgotha
which is translated
place of a skull
Mark 15:22

2 criminals begin to climb the small hill outside Jerusalem's Gennoth gate
the One is still at the bottom
trying to muster enough strength

who named this place

what is this man Jesus thinking as he stumbles the final steps to his death
is there fear of what is to come
is he lonely
is he wondering ............

even so he refuses to drink fully of the offered cup
of sour wine mixed with myrrh
to mask pain and dull the senses

barely a trace passes his lips before he hands it back

does he remember the garden
when he accepted and drank that whole cup

the blood of the lamb soon to be spilled
on an altar fashioned before the foundation of the world.

Jesus suffers outside the gate

how can I ever truly fully appreciate all he endured

for me

and I breathe deeply the aroma of his death
so that it might permeate my heart of hearts

Monday, March 20, 2006

day twenty moment

"when we look at his cross, we understand his love
his head is bent down to kiss us
his hands are extended to embrace us
his heart is wide open to receive us"
Saint Augustine

my heart open
my shoes off
I wait for God to speak

"and they took Jesus therefore
and he went out bearing his own cross"
John 19:17

the road narrow
the city filled with pilgrims

3 prisoners
only one of whom has been beaten and whipped
one in searing pain
walking with blistered feet

collapsing on the street
the wood landing heavily on top of him

Simon, simply one of the crowd
ordered to help
the remainder of the way to Golgotha

an ordinary father
now assisting the Son of another Father

the chilling cries of women fill the air
weeping and wailing for the one who cannot carry his own cross
who are these women Jesus summons enough strength to address
"don't weep for me - weep for yourselves and your children"
the crowd is hushed in their struggle to understand

what does Jesus feel towards those who mourn
and yet will not repent

the pharisees with their phylacteries containing the sacred words of scripture
flank the procession on either side
and the living word of God moves outside the city gates
with only a hill left to climb.

if I were in that street
would I offer to carry his cross
would I wail with the women
would I kneel and offer him a drink
would I look into his eyes and tell him of my sorrow about his suffering

I mourn and wail
at the sight of his mutilated back
and pummeled face
knowing I am the reason for his journey
down the via dolorosa
knowing it is the weight of my sin
not the weight of a wooden beam
that hurls him to the ground

I mourn
for what else can I do

Sunday, March 19, 2006

day nineteen moment

Jesus walked in penetrating awareness of his death
using his final meal as an object lesson
on the significance of what he was about to do

heaven: a continual exaltation of Christ crucified

the wondrous mystery that
before Jesus burst from the grave
to prove his power
he laid down his life
and poured out his love.


"at the head of the procession of life is a thorn crowned man
his pains healing our pains
his wounds answering our wounds
his love taking our sin"
Earl Stanley Jones

contemplating the cross

they led him out to crucify him
Mark 15:20

there is a hush as Pilate enters
and sees

the prisoner

staring blankly at the ground
rivulets of blood coursing down his face
bruises covering his body
the borrowed cloak ripped from his back
a wooden plank placed across his shoulders

already near death
fights to stay alive
his hands lashed to the wood
each step causing the wood to rub
into the open wounds on his back

rough wood
raw flesh

accompanied by the priests

the journey that began in the heart of his father
before creation
has only 650 yards to go
yet for the One whose body screams in pain with every step
it spans an eternity of torment
whose end cannot even be fathomed

surrounded by the sounds of ordinary life
barely able to move
bent under the weight of the wood
led to the slaughter

every day you bleed
wounds festering
body falling
while I pay bills and clean house
you take one lonely step after another
while I make phone calls and go shopping
crash through my callous oblivion
pierce my busyness with pangs
of brokenhearted love

Saturday, March 18, 2006

day eighteen moment

"thorns it seems always accompany visits to glory.
no one who has walked in Christ's presence
will ever be allowed to strut".
Jamie Buckingham

"............ so his appearance was marred more than any man
and his form more than the sons of man"
Is 52:14



Barabbas moves toward freedom

Jesus moves toward Golgotha

crowned with thorns
draped in a captain's robe


blood dripping into his eyes
and running down his battered face

thorns pounded deeper into flesh


who is this man Jesus

day seventeen moment

"the passion should only be written about in tears"
Raniero Cantalamessa

as I silence sounds of the day


echoes in my heart
and bounces off the walls of eternity

Pilate again brings Jesus to the platform
in full view of the crowd
this crowd now infected with the gangrene of rumors

and what is this man Jesus thinking
about his accusers
about Pilate and his personal struggle

Pilate literally washes his hands of the outcome
as the mantra of the crowd rises to a fever pitch

"his blood be on us and our children"

your blood is upon me, Jesus
you invite me to come and be cleansed
your blood be on me and in me and over me ....................

Thursday, March 16, 2006

day sixteen moment

there is a yearning in my soul
to understand these open gaping wounds
on the back of this man Jesus

this mangled looking man
who can now barely stand

a sobering symbol of religion's power to destroy

Pilate again inquires as to the wishes
the heart
of the crowd


fills the air

weakened by the loss of so much precious blood
Jesus staggers under the onslaught of those words

Pilate questions

Jesus' words in answer are few
each one a truth

no one can take his life
he will lay it down

every moment pre ordained by the father
every moment chosen by the son
to bring honor
to the father

Jesus considers the cross an honor

how can I ever understand this love

for me

elusive moments

there are secrets inside my heart
ponderings and words of thought
private paintings of grace and beauty
secret colors that none can see

Holy things
things meant only for You to see

there are songs no one else will hear
I try to catch them
but they disappear

elusive moments of great wonder
passing beyond me

sounds of silence
in the still of the night

symphonies of great delight

fleeting glimpses of a time
that still is beyond

there are secrets inside my heart
Holy things between You and me

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

day fifteen moment

prepare my heart Father
to study the scourging
of this man Jesus

to watch a fountain of blood pour forth
to walk in communion with Jesus through these sufferings

all covering removed
pushed naked to his knees
arms tied above his head

2 soldiers

2 whips
leather straps embedded with sheep bone
lead balls hanging at the end of each strip

and with the crack of whip against flesh it begins

the first soldier tires
the second carries on

skin now broken
blood flowing

and this horror only stops at the hurried sudden order of Pilate

Jesus collapsed
silent in the ropes

forced to stand
once again on the platform
too disfigured now to look at

Pilate challenges the crowd to look
to see

demons dance

Father weeps
for although He could, He won't

bearing grief
carrying sorrow
esteemed not


and I see myself through the gaping wounds on His back

it is not so simple
so easy
to know the fellowship
of the sufferings
of this man Jesus

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

day fourteen moment

Jesus now pushed up the steps
onto the platform

the battered prisoner
in a royal robe
positioned so everyone could see him

compromising to appease the priests
Pilate proclaims Jesus innocent
yet orders him scourged before being released

this causes a stirring from within the crowd
a rumbling roar

two men
this man Jesus
and Barabbas

Pilate asks of the crowd
which one

the crowd decides

Barabbas is a free man

Jesus stands alone
deserted by those who promised
they would never leave him
never deny him
and Pilate sends Him to the floggers

the prisoner
deserving of death
set free

while the One
innocent of all crimes
prepares for the cross

Monday, March 13, 2006

day thirteen moment

it is yet morning
and this man Jesus
now has not slept for at least 24 hours

does his head throb from the night's beating
do his feet falter
is he tired of the pushing and prodding
of the noise of the crowd

and as he approaches Herod
does he think of his cousin John
beheaded to appease this man's incestuous wife

and Herod
what des he think when he sees this man Jesus

Herod peppers Jesus with questions

Jesus is silent

again it is the priests who call out the charge

the robes of a king are draped over the bloodied shoulders of Jesus

Herod soon becomes bored
and passes Jesus back to Pilate

mocked and ridiculed
Jesus remains silent

how did he do it
what sustained him
what was he thinking
what was he feeling

he didn't perform
and so was scorned

and how often have I disdained his presence
for something more tangible
something to satisfy my senses
rather than sear my soul.

day twelve moment

"you do not understand Christ
until you understand His cross"
P.T. Forsyth


the streets filled with worshipers
some of whom stop and stare
and once again
Jesus is a spectacle
some even forsake worship
to satiate their lust for the bizarre

whose faces does Jesus see
and what does He see on those faces

when he catches their eye
do they offer silent support
or turn away embarrassed

Caiaphas calls for Pilate
Pilate tries to turn away
rid himself
and yet is curious

who is this man Jesus

from the mouth of Jesus
"I came to speak the truth"

from the mouth of Pilate
"what is truth anyway"

and Pilate passes Jesus on to Herod

the Lord of the Sabbath
physically weak
again silent

where are his defenders
the disciples

where would I have been

where religion instead of worship is given free reign
its end is always murder

lessons learned moment

two things I learned Sunday
yesterday ......

one - never put off cleaning your oven
two- the beauty of receiving a touch

Saturday afternoon
while thinking of our Sunday gathering 'round the table
and baking the bread for communion
I noted my oven needed cleaning .......
but thinking that no one but me would see it
planned to deal with this particular monster later .......

as it turned out
I was not able to be around my own table
and it was others who saw my dirty oven .............

and it was still others
who literally held my hand for hours
rubbed my feet
sang over me
prayed for me
during the medical efforts
to ease the effects of the earthquake in my body

I have known now for a long time
the beauty in being able to touch
but now I know the life that is birthed
when receiving a touch

and so
although somewhat different
I learned much in "church" yesterday

tumbling moment

even before one eye opened
I could feel it

but when awake

was unprepared for the total madness of it all
all in one
and it would not stop

intensity of pain

the what’s
and the why’s

nothing to hang on to

please Jesus
make it stop

if I can only find and touch
the hem ………..

like a sledge hammer

where You my God?

and even yet
it lingers ………

like the haunting echo
of a nightmare

Saturday, March 11, 2006

day eleven moment

"you will understand that spitting scene
the night when God lets you
see your own heart."
Alexander Whyte

every event leading to the cross
revealed a letting go of something that was rightfully His

"he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross" Philippians 2:8

Caiaphas confident
Jesus weary
Caiaphas calling for testimony
Jesus silent
Caiaphas demands an answer
Jesus' response: I AM

chaos ensues
spit lands on the face of God

those who would strike Him
cover His eyes to strike in that darkness


and the silence of Jesus
screams throughout eternity


Judas tries to return the silver that burns his hands
no one will relieve him of the thirty pieces

although still breathing
now dead
he hangs himself
from a tree

while another tree
awaits this man Jesus

I can only be silent in my sorrow
as I ponder what it must be like
spit upon
face swelling with each slap

yet not uttering one word

my heart is filled with the salt of unshed tears
as tears are too trivial for the torment He endured

Friday, March 10, 2006

door moment

all that many ever find
is only a wall where a door ought to be
they creep along the wall like blind men
with outstretched groping hands
feeling for a door
knowing there must be a door
yet they never find it

so I stand by the door

the most important thing I can do
is take hold of one of those blind groping hands
and put it on the latch

people die outside that door
others live on the other side of it
live because they find it, open it, walk in and find Him

so I stand by the door
and watch for the frightened, the blind
the ones who have not yet found the door
or the ones who want to run away

and I am content

to stand by the door

day ten moment

"at Calvary the naked truth is staring down at us all the time from the cross
challenging us to drop the pose and own the truth"
Roy Hession

John, the beloved, dares to draw close
sees the tightening ropes
the bleeding lip
the swollen face

in blind denial
tries to blend in with a crowd
loyalty abandoned for personal safety
and yet still desiring to be near
he seeks the shadows

but there is a moment
while dragged to Caiaphas
the eyes of Jesus lock onto the eyes of Peter

Peter's denial burns in his heart
like the kiss of Judas burned the cheeks of Jesus

and I consider
is it always easy for me to return the gaze of this man Jesus

how often do I too follow
only at a distance

how many times have I denied
causing tears of regret to fall like a curtain
between my eyes and His

Thursday, March 09, 2006

day nine moment

was there no one
not one
in the mob who looked at him
really looked at him

did no one see His eyes brimming with tenderness
or the lines of sorrow etched on his face

Jesus dragged into town
in the darkness
to the gates of the impressive looking Castle Antonia

so representative of our form of religion
the rules and regulations that have replaced relationship

once again
it is the priests who scream all the demands

taken before Annas
passed onto Caiaphas

pulled by a rope around the neck like a dog
as entertainment for the religious elite

there was never a moment
when this man Jesus did not choose his own path

my ears fill with the echo of each stinging slap
I stagger under his pounding heart
his swelling cheek
knowing that I, too, am one pulling on the rope
my sins slapping his beautiful face

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

day eight moment

Matthew 26:56
"then all the disciples left Him and fled"

and my prayer for this day is:
Jesus, nail my heart to your feet

Jesus touches the face of Judas saying
"friend, do what you came to do"

religion is always found at the very front of the mob
and the mob always gathers under the cover of darkness

Judas recoils, confused by the permission to betray

the disciples, stunned, shocked

Peter slices the air and an ear with his sword
his weapon of choice

Jesus kneels and restores
then looks into the eyes of his friends
searching for a sign they understand
that they realize this is the way it must be

it is the priests who give the order to grab and bind

then it is his friends
who leave him and run away

once again
he is alone

although used to solitude
this time is very different
this time
it is the end

and I ponder what it is to be alone
truly alone
no one to call
no place to go
abandoned by those I love

Jesus must walk through this valley of shadows alone

and I feel the pain of his abandonment in my gut

it is the cross that carved the love of this man Jesus on my heart

nail my heart to your feet, Jesus.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

day seven moment

"Even so, with the meekest of gestures,
has the war for the world been engaged with a kiss.
And the kiss has a tooth.
And the snake that struck the Lord has a back of fire
and a body of human opinion."
Walter Wangerin

to betray someone is to be false or disloyal

have I been false
to God
to another

what is my day to day capacity to betray Christ

in the dark of the night
at the front of the crowd
urged on by ...........
the priests

Jesus reveals Himself
offering the one who would betray
a chance to quietly walk away

he kisses
one cheek
and then the other

is there a particular burn to that kiss

did Jesus kiss Judas back
did He
just for a moment
hold Judas close

Judas could have simply pointed a finger
but he drew near
and then was pierced by the question

"Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

how would it feel to be betrayed with a kiss

and how often have my lips burned that same face
with disloyalty

how many times have I reached for His touch
and yet held my heart at a distance

how I long to say I will never betray You

He knows my heart

the road away from His side is a desperate one
even then
He holds me close

who is this man Jesus

Monday, March 06, 2006

day six moment

a death more painful than the physical death on the cross -
the death of the will

Matthew 26:46
"get up - let us be going

the one who betrays me is at hand"

and it was with these words He awoke those who were asleep
His friends who were unaware of the blood soaked earth in the garden

and I hear these words
and consider not the actions of those who were there
but my response were I there -
my response to those words today

will I follow Him all the way to that final hill
how close will I stay
will I turn away or turn back
will I at any point deny

first moments

yesterday there were a few firsts

a first time in many years attending a different fellowship
not as a speaker
or simply to encourage
or having been asked to "do" something
but simply attending

looking for a place
to listen to my God

and then with our 'round the table community
we all joined in our first tenebrae service

we came together mid day as usual
worshiped, ate, laughed, cried,
worshiped, ate, laughed, cried
all centered on and rooted in the Word

because of the numbers now
eating in shifts is the norm
and so it is that there is constant worship
constant laughter
constant conversation
constant touching

and we were blessed by the sounds of a new instrument
and also by the one who sat quietly with her paints at an easel

and as the outside light faded
we joined together in a tenebrae service

tenebrae is a latin word meaning shadows
the purpose of a tenebrae service to recreate the emotional aspects of the passion

it is not a happy service: the occasion is not a happy occasion

sometimes this service takes place on Good Friday
but as we had determined as a community
to discover and experience deeply over forty days
the passion with its surrounding events
this was our way of entering this season

we had communion together
then turned out all the lights

30 readings from scripture had been prepared
and distributed during the week -
these scriptures had all been meditated upon
different ones chose a reading ........

in our centre was the table
with 30 candles surrounding a large white burning candle
all lit

as each one read their passion scripture
a candle was extinguished
until only the one white center candle was burning

then Psalm 22: 1-18 was read
and the remaining candle put out

leaving us in darkness

not a word was spoken
not a note was sung

in deep deep silence
people left one by one

the purpose of the service fulfilled
recreating the betrayal

and agony of the events

leaving it unfinished
because the story is not over
until the tomb is emptied

Sunday, March 05, 2006

day five moment

immersed in a sea of sorrows
and also in a sea of love
deep suffering
unfailing devotion
"if we are looking for a definition of love,
we should not look in a dictionary, but at Calvary"
John R Stott
weakened by the battle in the garden
Jesus sees his friends asleep
and still he loved them
knowing their confusion and fearing in the days to come
in the midst of his agony, he thought of them
and still he calls
watch and pray
moment by moment
day by day
watch and pray

Saturday, March 04, 2006

day four moment

"organized religion has domesticated the crucified Lord of Glory
turned him into a tame theological symbol.
Theological symbols do not sweat blood in the night"
Brennan Manning
his face pressed into the soil of the garden he once breathed into being
his body shaking in the violence of the struggle
pleading for some other way
and yet
loving his father
fighting the darkness in his desire to obey
his father's outstretched hand holding a cup
a cup filled with a nauseatingly filthy poison called sin
the stench overwhelming
churning through the garden like a tornado
churning the body, soul and spirit of this man Jesus
causing his blood to stain the ground
his father watches
his friends sleep
the world cares not
and what would I see of myself
if I dared to look deep into that cup

Friday, March 03, 2006

day one, two and three moments

March 01, 02, 03

Gethsemane has a powerful effect on me ………

I am stunned by a God who can break down like me,
a God pleading and almost losing control

I am assaulted and unsettled by Christ’s agony in the Garden
it is much easier to rush pass this and rejoice in the
“not my will but yours”
there is blood oozing from the pores of this man Jesus
He is in agony
deep trauma takes place in the garden
he is terribly terribly alone

the garden was a familiar place to Jesus
(Luke 22:39 …………as was his custom)
the olive trees heavy with fruit
during harvest season these olives are crushed until the oils are released

this is a place of crushing

Jesus will soon have his breath pressed from him

but this night he is alone …….

His friends sleep

a lost and dying world totally ignorant of his struggle
unaware of the price soon to be paid

consumed by sorrow

this man Jesus is deeply grieved
to the point of death
(Mark 1:34)

God struggling with a pain that threatens to undo him
a pain that causes his body to shake

God smothering in sadness

waves of emotion crash into Jesus
threatening to drown him

he mourns
while life goes on around him

for the first and only time
he asks for help
from his friends

he asks for so little
yet they cannot give it

they cannot stay awake for one hour

twice he asks
twice they fall asleep

and he is left with his father
it is only his father who is awake
only his father shares the impact of his lonely pain

and what is my role in his loneliness
how often have I fallen asleep

he asks so little of me
simply to love him

in my spirit this night
I offer him a shoulder
upon which to weep

as I choose to remain
and keep watch

struggling moment

once tasting and then forever after desiring sobornost
a restlessness grows within
a continual looking
a holy dissatisfaction
a wondering
in the seeking the path where there is no trail
and discovering once again
the importance of being whole
the necessity of packing light for the journey
taking the time to forgive
and seek forgiveness
to listen
to touch
to discern
drawing very close to the One
whose footsteps lead the way
there is a wounding that can come in deep disappointment
there is a sadness in the wondering why
and to be completely honest
some fear in the thought of even trying again
and in the angst of all this
I am reminded:
"When we have been wounded by the church,
our temptation is to reject it.
But when we reject the church
it becomes very hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ.
When we say, "I love Jesus, but I hate the church,"
we end up losing not only the church but Jesus too.
The challenge is to forgive the church.
This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness,
at least not officially.
But the church as an often fallible human organization needs our forgiveness,
while the church as the living Christ among us continues to offer us forgiveness.
It is important to think about the church not as "over there"
but as a community of struggling, weak people of whom we are part
and in whom we meet our Lord and Redeemer. "
Henri Nouwen

and a wondering if
it is I who must offer forgiveness
to the church
for having unfair expectations
of the church
if it were not possible
why would Jesus cry for it
and my heart is filled with the salt of His tears

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

toe stubbing moment

usually a time of giving something up

already committed to a 40 day fast
I have been pondering the giving something up
and have come to the conclusion that it will not be a giving up
but more an allowing to happen that has been chosen for me this season
and in that allowing to happen
there will be a giving up

it is interesting that this is the season that is centered around the cross
a season where there must be death
before there can be life

a season when Jesus laid down His will
for the will of Another

there is a particularly unpleasant jarring jabbing pain in the stubbing of a toe
and for a few years now I have been stubbing the toe of my heart
against a door that is trying to shut

I believe it is time for me to remove my toe and allow the door to close
I have not been enjoying the pain
but until now have felt the pain of a stubbed toe
was preferable to the pain of the closed door

there is a fearful wondering in my heart how the sound will feel as the click is heard
in the knowing that it is pressure against a door
a deliberate action
that causes the shutting

there is a whooshing, a pushing of air, as a door is shut
I must carefully position my heart so that I will not stumble or fall in the whoosh

but I am tired of stubbing my toe

one walks with a limp with an injured toe
making it difficult to keep balanced
making it easy to lose sight of the path
because all attention is focused on the pain of the injury

I am tired of stubbing my toe

the pain of it has become too familiar