O Lord Jesus Christ,
who out of thy silence upon the cross didst bequeath to thy Church seven words:
Grant that we may ponder them as the inexhaustible gospel of thy love and of the world’s redemption;
and learn likewise both by speech and silence to glorify our Father in heaven;
who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God,
world without end.
A Procession of Passion Prayers
1 As they nailed him to the Cross, Jesus said
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, A river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. many People
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.
Blessed Lord, who in thy forgiving love
didst pray for those who nailed thee to the cross,
and hast taught us to forgive one another as thou hast forgiven us:
Take from us all bitterness and resentment towards our fellows,
and give us the spirit of mutual forgiveness and gracious love;
that so, in perfect charity,
we may be partakers of thy everlasting kingdom;
for thy name and mercy’s sake.
Salisbury Book of Occasional Offices*
2 Jesus Cried out
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
The darkness fought, compelled the sun to flee,
And like a conquering army swiftly trod
Across the land, blind fear this despot’s rod.
The noon-day dark illumined tyranny.
Still worse, abandonment by Deity
Brought black despair more deadly than the blood
That ran off with his life. “My God, my God,”
Cried Jesus, “why have you forsaken me?”
The silence thundered. Heaven’s quiet reigned
Supreme, a shocking, deafening, haunting swell.
Because from answering Jesus, God refrained,
I shall not cry, as he, this cry from hell.
The cry of desolation, black as night,
Shines forth across the world as brilliant light.
D A Carson
O God, whose blessed Son endured the loneliness and darkness of the cross,
that we might enjoy eternal fellowship with thee:
Grant that amidst life’s shadows we may know that we are never forsaken,
but that we are ever walking in the light of thy countenance;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
3 He said to his mother,
“Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” (John 19:26-27)
In an instant a child can disappear
Instead of walking with you, he’s just not there.
Steps get retraced back from where
You came and find him turning over questions
with teachers, surprised by concern,
Didn’t you know I would be in my Father’s house?
Who reproves a child making sense
of father from Father- you take his words to heart.
After some years, your boy becomes
a man selecting the right companions. Who is it
that draws to him people like a bucket
of water pulling from a well? A crowd gathers
curious, you round up your boys
who mutter, He must be out of his mind, and
try to take charge, still not getting
what season he is now entering. Instead of access
you hear him ask, Who are my mother
and brothers, you see him motioning to the crowd,
continuing to assert his godliness in
declaring those obedient, mother and brothers.
Who knew the road would lead here:
a hill, a cross, a crown. You watch as they drive nails
into the hands you used to hold as he
learned how to walk – hands that learned his father’s
trade – hands that knew how to save
water and turn it into wine. You’ve always taken
his words to heart, not comprehending
this day would come. And even if your boy wanted
none of this would be undone.
Your God, your son looks on you weeping and loves
You, utters, Dear woman behold your son,
as he motions to his friend and to him, Here is your mother.
Taking care of those he cherishes because
He knows how this ends, that it is near, soon to dawn
It is finished as the rest of the story begins.
O Son of God, who by the travail of thy passion
hast brought to birth the new family of the children of God:
Grant us grace, as members of that beloved family,
to realize our kinship one with another in thee,
and to love all people for thy sake,
who hast loved us and given thyself for us,
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
4 Jesus said
“I thirst!” (John 19:28)
I do not know where the
words come from. They are like
water that gushes from a spigot.
I don’t question their existence. Only quickly place the
bucket of my heart underneath praying my confession.
And as I try to catch it I Hope that the drops will fall where they should.
In or outside the cup of my heart, dependent on a fate I do not control.
I have a thirst that lives within me, always with me.
And I must live with it every day. And with my commitment to be authentic.
This is an adventure that began with my cavernous need.
If it is true that God suffers with us in our grief, then I am grateful for the comfort of his companionship.
Even for this longing, a thirst that lives ever within.
Always thirsty. I don’t question the
Water’s existence. Only quickly place the
Bucket of my heart underneath praying.
Blessed Lord, who on the cross
didst endure the thirst both of spiritual desire and of physical anguish:
Satisfy the longings of our hearts,
we humbly beseech thee,
and sanctify all our sufferings by thine own;
who livest and reignest
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
5 Jesus says to the Penitent Thief crucified beside him:
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.
who when hanging on thy cross didst welcome the penitent sinner:
We beseech thee, by that same compassion,
to pardon the guilty,
heal the wounded,
recover the fallen,
restore the wandering;
that casting themselves upon thy mercy
they may return with penitence to the embrace of thy love,
and enter into the joy of thy presence; for thy love’s sake.
6 Jesus lifted his head and cried aloud
“It is finished!” (John 19:30)
In a Country Church
To one kneeling down no word came,
Only the wind’s song, saddening the lips
Of the grave saints, rigid in glass;
Or the dry whisper of unseen wings,
Bats not angels, in the high roof.
Was he balked by silence? He kneeled long
And saw love in a dark crown
Of thorns blazing, and a winter tree
Golden with fruit of a man’s body.
R. S. Thomas
Grant, O Lord, unto us,
and to all thy servants,
the grace of perseverance unto the end;
in the power of him
who for the finishing of thy work laid down his life,
even thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
A Better Resurrection
I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me!
My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk;
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall,–the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me!
My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perished thing,
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him my King:
O Jesus, drink of me!
Christina Georgina Rossetti
O Heavenly Father, in whose hands are the hearts of all thy children:
Grant us the faith that commits all to thee, without question and without reserve;
that trusting ourselves wholly to thy love and wisdom,
we may meet all that life may bring, and death itself at last,
with serenity and courage;
through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Collects for Good Friday
look with mercy on this your family
for which our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed
and given up into the hands of sinners
and to suffer death upon the cross;
who is alive and glorified with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
whose blessed Son by his one perfect and sufficient sacrifice
has opened for us a new and living way to thy presence:
Grant that, drawing near to thee with a true heart
in full assurance of faith,
we may find cleansing and a quiet conscience;
and give us grace, we pray thee,
evermore to hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
and to serve one another in love and good works;
through the merits of the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Based on Hebrews 10. 19-24