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Good Friday – Guided Meditation

INTRODUCTION:

This is the night when we, the Church, gather in twilight and darkness to remember and to mourn the passion and death of Jesus Christ.  Tonight, through scripture, prayer, and original illustrations by Thomas Plunk, an artist in the congregation, we will walk Jesus’ last hours with him.  At every point in this journey, you are invited to place yourself onto the pathway with him. 

Let his pain affect you. 

Carry his burden with him.

Let your heart break with his.

As Christ dies, we know that it is our death which extinguishes his life.  Our death is wrapped up in his arms as he dies.  So, in hearing this story once again, may you be taken in, and walk in the way of the cross with Jesus.

Pray:

(In meditative silence…)

Gracious God,
This is the day when life is raw,
quivering, terrifying:
The Day of numbed emotions,
the day of blunt nails and splintered wood,
of bruised flesh and red blood.
The day we loathe, when hopes are crushed.
The day we long for, when pretenses fall away —
Because the worst that we can do
cannot kill the love of God.

Your love is a light in our darkness,
vulnerable, yet unquenchable.
We would stand with Christ,
in the midst of the horrors of this world
where betrayal and death
constantly threaten your love and peace.

(…reflect in meditative silence for about 1 minute, then proceed to the first station.)


Station #1 

Jesus Prays in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46)

Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to them, “Stay here while I go and pray over there.” When he took Peter, James and John, he began to feel sad and anxious. Then he said to them “I’m very said. It is as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” Then he went a short distance father and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However — not what I want but what you want.”

He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay alert one hour with me? Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.”

A second time he went away and prayed, “My Father, if it’s not possible that this cup be taken away unless I drink it, then let it be what you want.”

Again he came and found them sleeping. Their eyes were heavy with sleep. But he left them and again went and prayed the same words for the third time. Then he came to his disciples and said to them, “Will you sleep and rest all night? Look, the time has come for the Human One to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up. Let’s go. Look, here comes my betrayer.”

(Pause briefly, to reflect in silence, before moving on to the next station…)


Station #2

Jesus is arrested, tried, sentenced (Mark 14:43-46, Matthew 27:11-18, 21-26)

Suddenly, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came with a mob carrying swords and clubs. They had been sent by the chief priests, legal experts, and elders. His betrayer had given them a sign: “Arrest the man I kiss, and take him away under guard.”

As soon as he got there, Judas said to Jesus, “Rabbi!” Then he kissed him. Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him.

Jesus was brought before the governor, Pilate. The governor said, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “That’s what you say.” But he didn’t answer when the chief priests and elders accused him. Then Pilate said, “Don’t you hear the testimony they bring against you?” But he didn’t answer, not even a single word. So the governor was greatly amazed.

It was customary during the festival for the governor to release to the crowd one prisoner, whomever they might choose. At that time there was a well-known prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. When the crowd had come together, Pilate asked them, “Whom would you like me to release to you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?” He know that the leaders of the people had handed him over because of jealousy.

“Barabbas,” they replied.

“Then what should I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”

They all said, “Crucify him!”

“Why? What wrong has he done?” asked Pilate.

They shouted even louder, “Crucify him!”

Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was starting. So he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I’m innocent of this man’s blood,” he said, “It’s your problem.”

All the people replied, “Let his blood be on us and on our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus whipped, then handed him over to be crucified.

(Pause briefly, to reflect in silence, before moving on to the next station…)


Station #3

Jesus is stripped and crowned (Mark 15:16-20)

The soldiers led Jesus away into the courtyard of the palace known as the governor’s headquarters, ad they called together the whole company of soldiers. They dressed him up in a purple robe and twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on him. They saluted him, “Hey! King of the Jews!” Again and again, they struck his head with a stick. They spit on him and knelt before him to honor him. When they finished mocking him, they stripped him of the purple robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

(Pause briefly, to reflect in silence, before moving on to the next station…)


Station #4

Jesus carries his cross (John 10:11, 17-18, 19:17)

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.”

Carrying his cross by himself, he went out to a place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull.

(Pause briefly, to reflect in silence, before moving on to the next station…)


Station #5

Simon helps Jesus carry the cross (Matthew 27:32-34)

As they were going out, they found Simon a man from Cyrene. They forced him to carry his cross. When they came to the place called Golgotha, they gave Jesus wine mixed with vinegar to drink. But after tasting it, he didn’t want to drink it.

(Pause briefly, to reflect in silence, before moving on to the next station…)


Station #6

Jesus speaks to the women (Luke 23:27; Mark 15:40-41; Luke 23:28)

A huge crowd of people followed Jesus, including women, who were mourning and wailing for him. Some women were watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women had followed hi and supported him, along with many other women who had come to Jerusalem with him.

Jesus turned to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me. Rather, cry for yourselves and your children.”

(Speak out loud):
We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ,
because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

(Pause briefly, to reflect in silence, before moving on to the next station…)


Station #7

Jesus is crucified (Luke 23:32-38)

The soldiers also led two other criminals to be executed with Jesus. When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right hand and the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing.

The people were standing around watching, but the leaders sneered at him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he really is the Christ sent from God, the chosen one.”

The soldiers also mocked him. They came up to him offering him sour wine and saying, “If you really are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Above his head was a notice of the formal charge against him. It read, “This is the king of the Jews.”

(Pause briefly, to reflect in silence, before moving on to the next station…)


Station #8

Jesus talks to the criminals/Mary & John (Luke 23:39-43; John 19:25-27)

One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus insulted him, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to the first, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus’ mother and aunt, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciples whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

(Pause briefly, to reflect in silence, before moving on to the next station…)


Station #9

Jesus dies (Luke 23:44-46)

I was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, while the sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle.

Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my life!”

After he said this, he breathed for the last time.

(Light a single candle on the alter. Then speak out loud):
We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ,
because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

(Pause briefly, to reflect in silence, before moving on to the next station…)


Station # 10

Jesus is taken down and laid in the tomb (Matthew 27:57-61)

That evening a man named Joseph came. He was a rich man from Arimathea who had become a disciple of Jesus. He came to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission to take it.

Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and lead it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away.

Mary and Mary Magdalene were there, sitting in front of the tomb.

(Speak out loud):
We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ,
because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

(Pray in meditative silence):
In front of your tomb, O Christ, we sit.
In the darkness we mourn. We weep.
We let our sadness and sin bear their full weight on our souls.
You. Alone. In death. Beyond the reach of this world. Separate from God. Forsaken.
You — in the place we should be.
In this darkness we mourn. We weep. We wait.
Amen.

(Pause briefly, to reflect in silence, before departing in silence…)