Jesus is condemned to death +
his hands of innocent blood
Pilate condemns Jesus to death.
World leaders wash their hands of innocent blood:
unfortunate victims of friendly fire.
forgive your people.
Bring those who have died into the light of your presence
enfold them in your eternal mercy and love.
Jesus receives the Cross +
upon himself the burden of unwarranted suffering
Jesus shares the
lot of all those who are overburdened.
So many were already burdened with poverty and illness
and now have the burdens of fear of death or severe injury
fear of what will happen to loved ones
what will happen to their future.
you share the burdens of those who are overwhelmed by fear and anguish
Show us ways in which we can share their burden
to be in solidarity with them
our brothers and sisters.
Jesus falls for the first time +
burden of the cross becomes too great and Jesus falls.
People scrabbling for food but not strong enough to get to the front
of the queue.
They are pushed aside the children the weak the frail
They fall and the food disappears into the hands of the strong
or those who will sell it to them
at extortionate prices.
Their strength is further sapped
their weakness increases
in the dust they despair.
our brothers and sisters fall
too weak to stand up to the strong.
Help us to support them through the work of agencies
who can work alongside
protecting the weak
raising the lowly.
Jesus meets his mother +
else can a mother be? Drawn to the suffering of her child Mary meets
So many mothers watching children die from cancer
with no access to
drugs to alleviate their suffering.
Mothers cowering over their children
using their own bodies to try
to protect them from bombs and bullets.
Pregnant women who are killed before meeting their unborn children.
you looked into the eyes of your mother
and saw how your suffering increased the anguish of her heart.
Yet she would not leave you
she would not abandon you.
May her mothers heart reach out in love to all the mothers
whose hearts are broken or filled with fear for their children.
Simon of Cyrene helps to carry the cross +
Jesus increasing weakness Simon of Cyrene is pressed into helping to
carry the cross.
A man in the crowd who did not even know Jesus
forced to share
How many men whose names we may never know are tonight sharing
the burdens of suffering?
Soldiers become brothers
sharing the fear the grief for fallen comrades
striving to fight for peace
trying to show a human face in an inhuman war.
you needed the strength of another man to share an intolerable burden.
Bless those men who are using their strength to defend the weak
those who are sharing the burdens of those unable to carry them alone.
Strengthen their sense of purpose
temper their determination to succeed with compassion for those they
seek to liberate.
wipes the face of Jesus +
woman overwhelmed with pity comes from the crowd and wipes the face of
Women wiping the tears of those who are broken-hearted
tending the wounds of those who are injured and in pain
going into places of danger to love and serve those in great need.
the tenderness of Veronicas gesture
simple and loving
reflected in countless simple gestures of loving service.
Bless those who show the courage to come forward and be seen
protect them as they show mercy and compassion for your people.
Jesus falls the second time +
burden of the cross again overwhelms Jesus and he falls a second
How often can we pick ourselves up and start again.
A people dominated by fear
oppressed and afraid
knowing the fate of those who tried to take a stand before them.
Where do they get the courage to believe in their future
and to act in that belief that this time
this time it will succeed?
the people enduring conflict are bruised and battered
and some are without hope.
Raise their eyes to a new future
give them confidence in their own strength
and belief that they can make a difference
for their future.
women of Jerusalem mourn for Jesus +
weeping wailing keening
the sound of grief that fills homes streets hospitals and
Rachel weeps again for her children
and cannot be comforted.
you told the women of Jerusalem to weep not for you
but for themselves and their children
in Jerusalem - in Baghdad - in Haifa - in Lebanon - in so many places -
and now they do.
Words spoken here cannot bring consolation
but take our love and our prayer
add it to your own
and let the little we can offer
be of some comfort and support to those left distraught and broken.
Jesus falls for the third time +
beyond endurance Jesus falls for the third time.
There will be some who will be overcome with despair
whose souls are ground down into the dust
for whom the prospect of rising to new challenges
is beyond their strength
beyond wildest hopes.
you know the depths of utter fatigue
the sense of utter failure.
Infuse your love and hope into the hearts of those who despair of
for whom future happiness is glimpsed only through the awareness of pain
yet to come.
Help us too to believe that we can make a difference
when all seems darkness despair and repeated failure.
Jesus is stripped of his clothing +
people has been stripped of everything
their dignity lost in years of sanctions
their hope by years of oppression
and their grief their suffering shown on prime time TV
their wounds visible for the world to see.
Some view with compassion
others with idle curiosity
and from a few unwholesome gloating that this is the price of
a people stands naked before the worlds gaze.
Let that gaze be compassionate
may their suffering evoke in us a desire to ease their suffering
and the will to fight for peace with justice in the whole of the Middle
in the whole of the earth.
Jesus is nailed to the cross +
of great cruelty inflicted on rivals
and random killings of those who disagreed.
People living with deep, cruel scars
minds haunted by memories too fearful to share.
Nails driven through minds and hearts
pinning them to terror to fear to despair.
we cannot begin to imagine the pain you endured
but your pain makes your compassion real
for those who have suffered unimaginable agony.
Pour your healing love over them
enfold them in your mercy.
Give them a sense of security
so that the wounds inflicted on body, mind and spirit
can slowly be healed and, like yours,
become signs of glory
of witness to the triumph of good over evil.
end Jesus dies on the cross +
some swift and unexpected
some slow and lingering.
Death no respecter of age
killing the elderly and frail
men and women in the prime of life
children and babies yet unborn.
death feels final.
Sudden death leaves us stunned and reeling
our hearts bleed for those who
suffer long, slow decline.
We entrust the souls of all who have died in war to your mercy.
We ask you, who walked through the veil of death,
to be there to meet them
and lead them home.
end Jesus is taken down from the cross +
mother holding her dead child.
Friends standing in disbelief that the one they have loved has died.
Long moments of weeping sighing
longing to bring them back to life
but not to the suffering
never back to the suffering.
those moments of loss
as the reality that the one we love is no longer there.
The hand we touch is cold the heart is still.
May those who mourn find comfort in the love of family and friends
may the love of your mother who held you in her arms
bring them comfort
may our compassion transcend the distance that separates us
and in the solidarity of humanity
touch their souls with our love.
end Jesus is placed in the tomb +
final glimpse of the one who has been so loved.
A last touch and then the end.
A hasty burial with mourners.
A lonely cremation in a burnt-out tank.
The moment when death becomes reality
the moment of parting
the moment of walking away
to try to pick up the pieces and rebuild a life.
so many people are standing by gravesides
wondering how to rebuild life without the one they love.
May they find hope in the midst of their grief
a conviction that their loved one did not die in vain
and that they are safe free from pain and fear
at rest in God for ever.
beginning Awaiting resurrection +
the rubble and carnage of war what hope can we find?
In the suffering and despair of humanity how can we believe in the
In the face of death how can we believe in resurrection?
at times like these
our faith can be tested to the full.
We share the desolation of people torn apart by suffering
and wonder whether life really is stronger than death.
Yet you have walked through death to new life
your family and friends bore witness to your resurrection.
We trust your word and their witness
and look to the future with confidence
that the cause of all the pain in the world is sin
but all shall be well
and all shall be well
all manner of thing shall be well.
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