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Welcome to the 9:30 Church At Home

This is a service of reflection as we sit at the foot of the cross. Remembering Jesus’ death for the world.

Introduction

Behold, the wood of the cross on which hung our salvation.
O come let us adore.

Collect

Almighty God,
We pray you graciously to behold this your family,
for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed,
and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross;
who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

First Hymn

SB9 – When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
You can also listen on Spotify here.

First Reading

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’
31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

Luke 23:26-37 (NIV)

Reflection

Simon of Cyrene Carries the Cross
I can only imagine the awful weight of the cross Jesus carried. It is not just the weight of beams of wood that pressed down on him; it is also the weight of the burden that he carried for those whom he loved. He came to offer them life, and yet they return only death. So we see Jesus fall from the crushing weight of pain and grief. His physical strength is failing. The soldiers must have recognized this as well, because they forced a man from the crowd to help Jesus carry the cross the rest of the way to the place where he will be crucified. Simon from Cyrene was just a bystander passing through on his way into town from the countryside. And yet he bears the weight of the cross to save Jesus strength. I would like to think that if I had been there, I would have rushed from the crowd and volunteered to carry that cross for Jesus.

But would I have had the courage to face the Roman soldiers and risk being forced to walk with Jesus and his cross?

Would I have really been so eager to share his cross or would I have tried to be invisible in the crowd?

When the soldiers were looking around for someone to press into service, would I have looked away and pretended not to notice what was happening?

It’s easy to pretend not to see the needs, the grief, and the suffering around me every day. It’s easy to pretend not to hear the cries for help that come in many forms from those among whom I walk every day. It is easy to convince myself that I am too busy, or too tired, or have too much on my plate already to get involved in the lives of others. There are simply too many who need too much. And yet, I remember something that Jesus said, something about taking up my own cross and following him. Jesus said something about becoming a servant of all, of putting myself last and others first.

Is this what it means to be a servant?

Is Jesus showing me what it means to be that kind of servant?

Is this man from Cyrene modelling for me the path of discipleship?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, your Son came not to be served, but to serve. Forgive us for becoming so preoccupied with ourselves that we have become deaf and blind to the grief and suffering of those around us.
Constantly remind us that we cannot love you without loving others as well.
Help us to always remember that to be a follower of yours means that we share in the burdens of others.
Lord, show us someone whose cross we may help carry. Amen.

Second Hymn

SB4 – How Deep The Father’s Love
You can also listen on Spotify here.

Second Reading

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:38-43 (NIV)

Reflection

The Thief on the Cross – If Only?
If only I had lived a different life, I wouldn’t be stuck up here on this stinking cross, Oh I know I am guilty………. but still.
There are two other guys here with me, one is a low life! and frankly, in the same league as me, I know him, guilty as charged. The other guy though, now he is a very different kettle of fish!

For the life of me I can’t see why He is here at all, I watched Him a bit you know, under cover of course, He said some blinking radical things that really riled the Romans, and the Jews for that matter, but despite that, in my opinion, He is innocent. His only claim to fame seems to be that He was the Christ, the Messiah, oh and that He was the son of God. But surely those claims don’t make him guilty of any actual crime?

So here I am looking down at the scene, there are the Romans, hatred and contempt is all I see there. The Jewish leaders, the religious guys, they look smug and self-righteous (nothing new there then!) mocking, taunting the poor guy to save himself, If Only! One of his disciples is there looking bewildered, and His poor mother, distraught. The ever-present mob always there of course, I mean who doesn’t enjoy a day out at a crucifixion? But I’m seriously convinced the powers that be have condemned the wrong guy, the idiots!

Now I just have to tell you what happened to me, so I’m watching this scene play out, I’m hearing the other guy taunting Jesus, are you not the Christ? save yourself and us! The guile of the guy! I said to him do you not fear God? this man has done nothing wrong. (Me the preacher!)

So this is the moment for me, I’m thinking I’ve got nothing to lose, have I? I mean I can’t go any lower than I am, no pride left now, , so I just turn my face towards to Him and say “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom” I’m thinking He won’t have time or energy for me, He’s in exhausted agony like I am, He won’t invite me into His Kingdom, I mean I didn’t do anything to earn His favour, I followed him in the shadows, I saw Him heal the sick, feed the hungry, raise the dead for goodness sake,….. and still kept my distance (idiot) I still didn’t believe.( If only) But now I’m thinking I could seriously trust this guy, He isn’t even defending himself, He is like a lamb being led to the slaughter, no retaliation, in fact I’m sure I heard him ask His father to forgive them! Incredible, although, forgiving your enemies was a big theme of His you know.
So as I turn my face towards Him, He has turned His face towards me, I’m holding my breath, but the thing is, the thing is Oh I’ve got to tell you, when he looks at me even side on, all I see is compassion, it’s as if He really sees me, who I could have been, what is really inside, my desperation and now my risking a bet on Him, and the most amazing part comes next ………

So He says to me” Truly I say to you today You will be with me in paradise! “Can you believe it, I wanted to shout out, He really is God, I mean it’s as if He has blotted out all the wrong, I did, it’s as if he just doesn’t see it, doesn’t count it against me, this must be forgiveness? Only God can forgive sin, right? I didn’t even dare ask for that, just that he would remember me, was all I asked, He has given me more than I could ever have hoped or imagined. I wish that lot down there could see what he has done for me, it is finished He cries out, but I wonder………. if only?

Prayer

Lord Jesus,
those you loved wished to crush all hope from you leaving you hanging in utter sorrow and despair.
And yet it is joy and hope that you offered to the repentant thief.
When we cry out to you, you hear us.
When we ask you to ‘remember us when you come into your kingdom’, you offer us the promise of paradise.
Today, we live trusting you and you alone.
Our lives are in your hands;
fill us with joy and hope so that we may share it with those who are filled with sorrow and despair.
Amen.

Invitation To Confession

Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us.
Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8

Confession

Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess we have failed you as did your first disciples.
We ask for your mercy and your help.

Our selfishness betrays you:
Lord, forgive us.
Christ have mercy.

We fail to share the pain of your suffering:
Lord, forgive us.
Christ have mercy.

We run away from those who abuse you:
Lord, forgive us.
Christ have mercy.

We are afraid of being known to belong to you:
Lord, forgive us.
Christ have mercy.

Absolution

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life,
through Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen.

Third Reading

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Luke 23:44-49 (NIV)

Reflection

Jesus Dies
It is dark in the middle of the day.
It seems that the heavens and the earth are grieving, telling us that something is horribly wrong.
Jesus, I hear you cry out in lament from the Psalms and know that it is the cry of human pain and desolation.
Everyone has forsaken you, but there is one who still hears your prayer – the one you address as my God.
The earth shakes.
The curtain in the temple is torn right down the middle. The Holy of Holies is exposed for all to see.
What does it mean?
Who are you?
There is even a Roman who thinks that you are the son of God. But you are dead. It’s too late.
What have we done?
Is there any hope?
Yet you never stopped loving us even in death.
You died because of human sin, because of us.
Sin is never the final word.
God can redeem the worst that human beings can do. But this?
What can come of this?
What can God do with such a final ending?
We hope, and wait …………………………

Prayer

Philippians 2:8b reads:
He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross!
O God, you gave your only Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer death on the cross for our redemption, and to deliver us from the power of the enemy by his glorious resurrection.
May we die to sin each day, so that we may live forever with him who died and rose again for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
For the Kingdom, the power and the glory
Are yours, now and forever.
Amen.

Dismissal

Lord Jesus Christ,
the story of your suffering is written on our hearts,
and the salvation of the world is in your outstretched hands.
Keep your victory always before our eyes,
your praise on our lips,
your peace in our lives.

Amen.

Poem

‘Jesus Died for Them’ by Dave Hopwood

Judas betrayed Jesus,
Peter denied Jesus,
Thomas doubted Jesus:
Jesus died for them.

Pilate rejected Jesus,
Herod taunted Jesus,
Caiaphas framed Jesus:
Jesus died for them.

The soldiers crucified Jesus,
the disciples deserted Jesus,
the people laughed at Jesus:
Jesus died for them.

Mary wept for Jesus,
the women anointed Jesus,
Joseph buried Jesus:
Jesus rose for them.

We have doubted Jesus,
we have denied Jesus,
we rejected Jesus:
but Jesus died for us.