Reading & Reflecting
John 13:1-17

During the reading a bowl, water jug, and towel were placed on the communion table.

What do these symbols of feet washing say to you?
Who do we say Jesus is because of these?
Living by a different ordering of things,
By a new way.
It’s a vulnerable position to be in
Letting someone wash your feet.
These sorts of things,
Often easier if you don’t know the person…
A new way of being.
One of humility
Of interdependence.
Of being open, not closed, to one another.
And this expression of the divine in Jesus,
Was too much to handle for them.
Is it too much to handle for us?
Being vulnerable, being open,
Living a different way?

Reading & Reflecting:
Mark 14:12-26

During the reading a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine were placed on the communion table.

What do these symbols of bread and wine say to you, today?
On this day?
We hear of friendship and betrayal and of love in which Jesus included his betrayer at his table,
Not without comment!
But still, included…
Eating together,
Across all cultures, throughout all time,
has been a way of bringing people together.
Of new alliances and friendships made
Of differences argued over
Of differences resolved.
People brought together around a table
Participating in generosity
And hospitality.
The Monks of Celtic Christianity would break their periods of fasting, silence and solitude if a visitor
showed up and needed a meal.
Hospitality was more important to them than individual piety.
The sharing of food and a place to stay,
The connecting to one another,
New friends made.
This, more important.
The openness to see the other,
The openness to look for the divine within the other person,
To see that person truly.
To be as equals around a table sharing in the provision of the earth,
Sustaining and nurturing body and soul together in the presence of Christ.
The most important thing.

Reading and Reflecting:
Mark 15:1-39

During the reading a cross was placed on the communion table.

The events of Good Friday have a stench to them.
There is a lingering feeling that death has overcome life,
darkness has sucked away all the light.
The events of Good Friday reveal to us in vivid colour the extent of the human predicament.
The predicament that sees us as being created good yet capable of so much evil.
Good Friday is when we, humanity, crucified the name and face of God in the world.
We crucified this one who showed us a different way,
A way of togetherness
And wholeness
And full potential.
An agenda that didn’t fit with ours.
We wanted to remain in control.
At the crucifixion of Jesus, humanity said to God, ‘we know what is best.’
There are plenty of other examples throughout history where we’ve chosen darkness over light,
or where we have chosen darkness in the apparent name of light…
The crucifixion of Jesus is just one example of the clash between the human potential for good and the
human potential to stuff things up!
An author I read called that a good definition of sin.
Although they used a stronger word than to ‘stuff’ things up…
The human potential to things up.
An apt description.
We share this predicament together.
We all face this.
We have all had betrayal, loss, hurt
Caused by our capacity to make a mess of things.
The effects of these don’t disappear in an instant,
the effects of these stay with us.
We can only wonder what Jesus’ followers and friends must have gone through on that day.
To watch one’s leader, teacher and friend be hauled away completely unjustly,
to watch the unfair trial,
to watch the murderous actions,
to watch, to hear, to feel the experience of darkness taking over.
How could there be a God when all that was known to be good was destroyed?
How can there be a God when we see and experience goodness destroyed around our world each and
every day?
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
Jesus was the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us,
he was the one who was with God,
and who was God,
and through him all that has been made, was made.
Emmanuel, God with us.
Jesus, the symbol of divine meaning and hope.
On this Friday of the destruction of this divine meaning,
something is revealed to us.
If our human systems of power and control often lead to death,
surely this reveals them as utterly empty.
St John of the cross in the 16th century had a helpful thought about this.
He reflected that Jesus achieved more in the motionless silence of death than in the whole of his ministry,
because for him the moment when God’s truth collided with the world’s reality was not a moment that
would be left an ending,
but a moment in which signified a beginning.
It was a moment when God was allowed to be God;
the creation descended back into darkness and chaos,
and made space for the Word to speak again.
The re-creation of the broken world comes from the chaos and the silence just as life had come before.
Our experiences shape who we become.
Sometimes these experiences are of darkness and death,
of loss and betrayal,
a friend gone,
a partner leaving,
a child lost,
hateful words spoken.
Sometimes these linger for us and others to sense and to walk through.
And this is hard, and awful, and not for anyone to go through.
Yet, Good Friday reminds us that it is out of the silence and out of sitting within the darkness that creation
We know this because we are post-Easter people,
we know that Sunday is coming.
Redemption and re-creation are spoken by the voice of God when we are forced into silence and Christ is
allowed to speak again.
What is it that the symbol of the cross means for you?