DAY 23: Friday 10 April
Watercolour painted by Ciaran
Good morning on this Good Friday morning – our plan for today, as for so many preceding Good Fridays, would have started with some meditation thoughts at the Chapel by John Abbott, before processing down Newdigate Road to meet up with the other 3 churches for an open air service at Churchill Parade. Obviously we’re not able to do that this year so here’s a couple of photos of a previous Good Friday witnesses on the Lodge…
In the current Coronavirus situation, we are being told to stay indoors and keep social distancing from everyone. This Easter weekend when traditionally families get together and millions of people travel across the country, but this weekend it is forbidden!
After Jesus was arrested, he was dragged off to be thrown in a stone pit overnight until early the following morning. Peter was there in the crowd but trying to stay inconspicuous although he was possibly recalling when he had said to Jesus that he would be prepared to die for his Lord. Peter was also brash enough to think he could defend himself; after all he’d already got involved in the brawl in Gethsemane grabbing a sword and cutting off the servant’s ear, but just hours later Peter would end up denying with cursing and swearing that he even knew Jesus.
But what about the other 10 disciples? No doubt they were keeping well out of sight of Judas in case he betrayed them too. Did they stay together or split up and disappear into the night. It was Passover weekend and just a few hours earlier they had celebrated the Passover meal with Jesus in the Upper Room. They remembered how some 15 centuries earlier, their Jewish ancestors had painted blood on their doorposts in obedience to God’s instructions through Moses, and then sat inside their houses listening to screaming and wailing outside as thousands of firstborn Egyptian children were being discovered dead in their beds. These frightened people didn’t need telling twice to – stay indoors – social distancing!
So Jesus was left on his own to face the Sanhedrin, Pilate and an angry crowd. But he submitted to His Father’s will – that he must die for all the sinners of the world.
Yesterday I shared with you how Karen and I followed the Birmingham Passion Play acting a contemporary telling of the Easter story. We had marched up New Street with hundreds of others shouting Hosanna, arrived in Chamberlain Square where Jesus was betrayed and arrested. Today we watch as Peter denies his Lord, then Jesus is brought before Pilate on the steps of the Council House and the crowd chant ‘Crucify Him’. Then we walk along Colmore Row to the Cathedral grounds where Jesus is eventually crucified.
Here’s the link to Episode 2 photo/audio >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=17&v=E6ccfVvnBf8&feature=emb_logo
Thanks to Linda Lord for the following -
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in yet another village, where he worked in a carpenter’ shop till he was thirty.
Then for three years he was an itinerant speaker.
He never wrote a book, He never held an office, He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn’t go to college. He never travelled more than 200 miles from the place he was born.
He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him.
His friends ran away as He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only valuables he had on earth.
Twenty centuries have come and gone and today he is the central figure of the human race.
Of all the armies that ever marched, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned put together, none have not affected the life of man on this earth as that one solitary life.
PRAYERS OF THANKS:
Yesterday morning Karen received a message from the Ark Church which meets at Mere Green asking for prayer for Chief Superintendent Phil Dolby of West Midlands Police who was being kept alive on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19. Yesterday evening BBC Midlands Today carried a report that Phil Dolby had now been taken off the ventilator.
Yesterday’s email asked for prayer for the PM and the witness of the Christian consultant at St Thomas’s Hospital. News came last evening that the PM had been moved from intensive care.
A typical Sunday morning service at the Chapel, attendance averages around 35-40 people. Since starting these daily emails 23 days ago, additional households have asked if they could also receive these emails each day, and I now estimate that more than 60 people (could be more if messages are being forwarded to others) are accessing these messages every day. And then of course there are a number of folks who do not have access to internet and email but are getting printed copies of the daily messages.
GOOD FRIDAY PRAYER REQUEST – On Thursday evenings the country is stopping to applaud NHS and other front line workers. Inspired by this initiative, Christians are planning to pray at 3pm on Good Friday for God to intervene in the pandemic.
At 3pm on Good Friday Jesus cried out from the Cross ‘IT IS FINISHED!’.
Across the country people are encouraged to step out of their homes and pray for Covid-19 to end.
Hymnalong for today >>> http://falconlodgechapel.sermon.net/main/hymnalong/21570189