Lent 2012: Day Forty-Five – Good Friday

Luke 23:46: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. 

A three hour devotion in Church today, for The Seven Words from the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ:
  1. Forgiveness: Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)
  2. Salvation: Truly shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
  3. Relationship: Woman, behold thy son: behold thy mother. (John 19:26-27)
  4. Abandonment: My God! My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34)
  5. Distress: I thirst. (John 19:28)
  6. Triumph: It is finished. (John 19:30)
  7. Reunion: Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. (Luke 23:46)

In the devotion were shared moments of silence, singing and sermons. There is so much that I could say in this blog, so many pages I could express devotion in now also, but hopefully readers will have attended their own Good Friday service. And so a relatively short summary.

For about the first hour of the three hour devotion, I found it difficult to concentrate. My mind drifted in and out of listening. And I was more than bothered by the in and out movement throughout the service of people staying for an hour or so but no more. I found myself conflicted. I felt anger as people drifted in and out – three hours is not a lot to ask, and as Jesus spent three hours in unimaginable pain on the cross we can surely spend three in relative comfort in prayer – and I felt sadness, and compassion. Perhaps it may seem too much for me to have held in my mind in these drifting places, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. You see, I can’t imagine anyone turning up for only a bit of Jesus’ death on the cross at Gûlgaltâ 2000 years ago, if they really cared for him and his truth.

Despite this distressful element, I began to find myself completely submerged in prayer and in listening. Connecting.

I had a bottle of water in my bag, which lay between my feet. And I was about to reach for it, when the fifth words from the cross were read out. I thirst. I drew back my hands and placed them together.

The seventh: Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit. Our priest shared two stories, recalled from Henri Nouwen (author of the highly recommended The Wounded Healer). The first of discovering a true blessing. Skip to 8:20 in the video below…

and then watch to 1:05 on this video…

Alternatively, and I recommend it, watch all of both. Into thy hands, into thy arms, into thy embrace, I commend my Spirit.

The second story our priest shared was of gymnasts.

A flyer and a catcher must trust one another. And in this act, the flyer must do nothing. The flyer must fly out and completely trust that the catcher will be there to catch them. We are flyers. And we must trust God to be our catcher. As Jesus did. There will be something in your life, said Fr Simon today, that you will be gripping on to that is stopping you from flying. From being completely caught. What is it? Can you let it go? Can you say, as Jesus did, into thy hands I commend my spirit.

Luke 23:46: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.

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