Led Reflections – Maundy Thursday

In their final evening together Jesus knelt before his friends and washed their feet. Though he was about to go to the cross he still loved and served his friends. May we too have strength to love those near to us in these difficult days.

A quiet meditation for Maundy Thursday.

Lead Prayers – Mary Anoints Jesus

This Holy Week I’ve recorded some reflections for people to participate with. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday I’m going to post one here each day for the next 4 days.

Each one features prayer, scripture and poetry or story and are accompanied by images by dear artist friends. They are about 20minutes long.

They are designed to be done in silence and reflection and could be integrated into your prayer practice. If you are new to reflective practice I encourage you to find a quiet space free from distractions and see it as a new way of praying. The music quality in this one is not great so maybe have a song cued that you can listen to during that part.

They are not without (many) imperfections. However, I hope that they might help in leaning into the days of this most Holy Week in these strangest of times.

Holy Week

A couple of years ago I did the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius with my spiritual director. I found as I set out on the journey to the cross that I didn’t want to walk with Jesus to the cross. I just wanted to be there on Sunday. It is something in me that still needs changing – this ability to enter lament, to be present to pain. May we all have courage to allow ourselves to enter pain and to receive love even there.

Miriam x

IMG_3865

 

I don’t want to walk with you to the cross

don’t want to pass the jeering crowd

or be present to the lonely abyss of Gethsemane

 

I want to stand on Sunday’s horizon

and say

it’s okay Jesus

            look resurrection will come

 

So, like the crowd I condemn

and the disciples I judge

I abandon you

on your walk to the cross

 

I leave you alone

so alone

human man

acquainted with suffering and grief

 

I really just want

the resurrection power

the triumph of the lamb

the roar of the lion

 

so I climb up to my privileged position

and wait at the dawn of Sunday

ready to sing my alleluias

where a stone is rolled away

 

and as I abandon you

I acknowledge I have abandoned others

on their difficult journeys through

death’s valley

preferring to whisper hope

from resurrection’s empty tomb

 

instead of being empty accompaniment

into the cave

where death seems

to have the victory

 

I am afraid of accompanying you

and afraid of accompanying others

I am a broken disciple

 

would you hold this unfaithful

uncomfortable hand in yours

as I attempt not to run away

 

to hold the course for

Gethsemane

Golgotha

and

tomb

 

for as long as my small strength holds on

Resurrection Sunday

It is the day

for earthquakes that

remove stones that

contained the dead

 

It is the day

to hear the words

Why look for the living

among the dead?

 

The day when angels speak

and mortals quake in silence

shedding their mortality

unlocked and free

 

It is the day to hear your name

on the lips

of the

Resurrected Saviour

 

A day to be embraced

but not to cling

clinging is for the ones

who have something to lose

 

Today is the day

when what is poured out can no longer

be contained:

to time

to location

to a people group

to a gender

to an age

 

Today good news for all people breaks in and announces:

HE IS RISEN

rose stained glass

May your Easter Sunday be filled with joy that cannot be contained, life that knows no limits, the embrace of the One who died to set you free. Miriam x

Good Friday

Today we celebrated Good Friday at church. This is one of the reflections I wrote for that service. The painting was done by a team of beautiful and clever people I get to journey with.

Thinking of you today – may you find life and hope in grief and despair.

easter crosses

While the drama of the crucifixion plays out in an intensely physical and earthly place we must lift our gaze to contemplate the great spiritual drama in play.

The lashings, jeerings and mocking are the least of what Jesus is enduring. At this time sin, sickness, defeat, despair, depression, oppression and brokenness is being transferred to Jesus, the final atoning sacrifice.

In the Old Testament we see sin atoned for by the priest laying his hands on the person and the animal brought for sacrifice – the sin passes from the sinner to the animal, often a lamb. On the cross we see Jesus, our great high priest, the mediator of a new covenant, take up all sin.

What once had to be done again and again to make atonement for sin is achieved once for all, on a wooden cross on a hill shaped like a skull.

None of the bystanders could begin to perceive the exchange at this moment – the chief priests as they justified their win, the disciples as they feared and agonised, the women as they openly grieved the one they loved.

How often do we walk past the cross without stopping to meditate on the truly cosmic moment when the Trinity was torn in two, where the final victory was achieved, where the words ‘It is Finished’ truly meant it is finished.

And then the curtain tore.

A huge and heavy embroidered curtain, reported to be up to 4 inches thick was torn from top to bottom – from God to man – the supreme gift, a way into the holy of holies.

What was once a dividing place between the holy and the unholy instantly accessible to all.

God’s holy presence no less holy, no less awe-some, no less powerful but because of Jesus we are now made holy and worthy to enter.

His blood the sacrifice we could not make. His broken body taking away our brokenness, our shame exchange for his garment of righteousness.

Jesus has defeated death itself – not for his disciples, not for Jews, not for good men but for all – for strangers, for the lost, for the sick, for gentiles and women, for children and for all of creation – right out to the edges of the cosmos.

This act of Jesus, conceived by God as the ultimate rescue mission, initiated in heaven, is for all of the created order.

In this divine exchange the whole of creation’s brokenness is taken up into Jesus and finds in him the answer and the cure.

May you know the Presence of God today and may your heart leap at the welcome into the Holy place.

Eastering with Children – resurrection eggs

Part of my heart is for us all to understand well. Not just to know the songs and some of the key stories around the edges but to truly hold the whole story and good theology as part of our basic practice.

Last year when I wrote my Advent book it came from this place of wanting to give people tools to create meaningful, deeper celebration and this year I want to explore some of Easter in a similar vein.

palm branch

Some nights ago I sat round a dining room table with a small group of mama’s and we made DIY resurrection eggs. There are flash ones you can buy but these are simple ones that tell the story, with verses and symbols,  and are very achievable. We used the free downloadable PDF created by Play Eat Grow. All you really need is a set of plastic eggs and some things you’ll probably find around your home.

The mama who organised us all and I had a conversation around extending the meaning for these and adding some structure and shape. As such I am going to share one egg and some thoughts or activities or maybe both each day coming up to Easter. I do this as an offering to you, in order to help you think about Easter in a more reflective way as a family.

resurrection eggs

I am aiming to do one each day that will take us through to Easter and give you something to focus on each day. If you haven’t got resurrection eggs or the steam to organise them you could still read out the verse and look at the symbol together and go from there.

If they bless you please feel free to share these with any family who might enjoy extending their Easter conversations. If you do please share the ideas and work from here to encourage my journey as a writer and sharer.

May we all come with fresh eyes to the story we know so well, may we let the truths soak deep down and take root, and may these truths breathe life into our daily comings and goings.

Be blessed dear, beloved families.