A Good Friday Meditation Prayer from Rev Julie Lipp-Nathaniel
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?) Matthew 27.46; Mark 15.34
Jesus, Son of God, can it be that you experienced this utter separation from your beloved Father? I can only take your words for it, – and be profoundly and humbly thankful. You know my deepest doubts, my desolation, my fears, for you have been there in your bleakest exposure and abandonment on the cross.
Jesus, I pray for those who in these days are in despair, those who find no comfort or company. May they find trust and solace in you and through others ….
Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23. 34
Jesus, you, who have done no wrong, are subjected to excruciating pain, made a figure for derision, an object of pity. Yet you plead your Father’s forgiveness for those nailing you to the cross. No cry for justice! No plea for mercy? That is superhuman! Surely we cannot be expected to follow this example! And yet, where does it get us: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?
Only the possibility for forgiveness which you show allows for a new beginning. We have that assurance of the new beginning on Easter Day. But you, hanging there on the cross, forgave out of true godly humanity.
Jesus, as forgiven people, may we learn better to forgive….. Bring forgiveness where it seems impossible – between individuals …., between families …., between friends …., between religions …., between communities…., between nations …..
Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise. Luke. 23.43
Jesus, you spoke these words, not to your best friend, nor to one who never failed to believe in you. You spoke them to a stranger, and a criminal at that. You reached out across the gulf between you with love.
Jesus, may we not walk this life in arrogant assurance of our salvation. May we recognize in each other the redeemable person whom you love. During these days when we live through isolation und unreality, may we still find ways to communicate acceptance and welcome.
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. Luke 23.46
Jesus, through all your suffering, your abandonment, the loving hands of your Father surrounded you. In your final moment you trustingly released your spirit into those hands.
Jesus, we bring before you those facing their final moments, many of them untimely, plucked out from the midst of a full, promising and meaningful life. Grant them the mercy of knowing that their spirit is safe in the everlasting arms of God.
He said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ John 19.26,27
Jesus, you saw them there at the foot of your cross, your mother and the beloved disciple; through eyes blinded by pain, you saw their agony. You felt their desolation, despite every nerve in your body crying out for comfort and the relieving touch. Once again your true humanity shines through. Can we even begin to follow that pattern?
Jesus, open our eyes for new, committed and restoring relationships. May we be sensitive and responsive to gestures of love and friendship which build each other up.
I am thirsty. John 19.28
Jesus, you were thirsty like us. You needed water to relieve the most basic bodily need; but instead you were given sour wine.
Jesus, how often our response to someone’s need is inappropriate or even an insult! How often is our response one of relieving our conscience instead of relieving the other’s need?
Jesus, we pray that we don’t make our acts of charity and help cheap. May we be creative in finding ways to help our neighbours and also those separated from us during these days of forced isolation.
It is finished. John 19.30
Jesus, in your death you had the last word over all the evil that had been pitted against you. It was the Word which spoke that the evil in our world has been conquered once and for all. That could only be outdone by death itself being overcome on Easter Day.
Jesus, because you saw it through, – all the humiliation, pain and forlornness of this world – we may glory in your death!
Revd Julie Lipp-Nathaniel 6th April, 2020