Mar 22, 2018

Good Friday: Shifting Blame


Here’s a thoughtful meditation and prayer of response inspired by the events of Good Friday (see Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19). It was written by Nigel Varndell, and published on the Sanctuary Centre website. 

Meditation

It was the Romans who killed you,
who nailed you to a cross
to punish you for thinking differently.
Murdered for daring to challenge the might of Imperial Rome.
Written prayers Daily Meditations and Response prayers for Holy Week
Murdered for daring to suggest that the world should be different,
that it could be rearranged for once,
not to make the powerful comfortable,
but deeply uncomfortable.

Or,
maybe it was the religious leaders who wanted you dead?
For challenging their deeply and sincerely held religious truths,
for shaking things up and rocking the boat,
for daring to suggest that just because
we have always done it like this,
we always must?
We cannot challenge the guardians of tradition,
where would we be without it?
Better surely to let one man die….

No!
It was the crowd!
It was their fault
It must have the been the crowd who gathered and cried “Crucify!”
who are the ones who killed you.
What they need, you see, is a scapegoat,
someone for the Romans to blame,
so that they won’t come looking for anyone else.

Or
maybe it was me?

Maybe you should pity me – me,
for on this Good Friday,
I will stand with the Romans,
because I, who have everything,
don’t really want anything to change.
I will stand with the religious leaders,
and make sure that my traditions are honoured,
no matter who they exclude.
I will stand with the crowd,
who already know who is to blame
for all that goes wrong.

And I will cry “Crucify”

A prayer of response

Lord Jesus, is it possible that I, who call you friend –
Master, Saviour, King –
Still stand with the crowd, the betraying disciples,
the violent soldiers, and the religious leaders?

I confess it is possible. I confess it is true.
Because I say I have taken up my cross
Written prayers Daily Meditations and Response prayers for Holy Week
But I put it down when it’s not convenient.
And I claim I stand up for the least
But I sit down when it’s uncomfortable.

Precious Lord, how did you bear it?
The pain of the nails.
The tearing separation of One-in-Three – even for a moment.
And the betrayal of friends
Who would rather stand with the crowd
Than with you.
So you hung there with arms outstretched to all the world
Even as each of us turned away from perfect love.

And how do you bear it now?
When I make your kingdom into one of comfort
And shift the blame for today’s darkness
To anywhere – anyone – but me.

Lord Jesus, is it possible that I, who have betrayed you,
Served myself and pursued my own agendas
Am still welcomed by those arms stretched out wide?
Treasured by the one who says
“Come weak and heavy laden – come to me”?

Only here will I find the way to carry your easy burden
That costs the world for the sake of love.
Help me Lord Jesus to come – to leave the crowd
And replace our deafening chant with a silent prayer of surrender:
That speaks “Anything for you – my Master and my friend.”

~ in “Daily Meditations and Response prayers for Holy Week” by Nigel Varndell. Copyright © 2011 Nigel Varndell (Meditations) and 2012 www.thesanctuarycentre.org/whereworldandworshipmeet.  Posted on the Sanctuary Centre website.  http://www.thesanctuarycentre.org/