Good Friday reflections
This year, members of Porirua Community Churches were invited to take time on Good Friday to reflect individually on the death of Jesus, before more specifically emphasising the resurrection on Easter Sunday in a congregational format.
The initiative came from a member of Titahi Bay Community Church, Liz Langham, who approached her elders and asked for their reaction to a local version of the Stations of the Cross tradition that has long been observed in various other sections of the Christian church. They were warmly supportive, and Liz went off to enlist her contributors.
They covered 14 points on Jesus’ journey:
- Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
- Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested
- Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin
- Jesus is denied by Peter
- Jesus is judged by Pilate
- Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns
- Jesus takes up his cross
- Jesus is helped by Simon to carry his cross
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
- Jesus is crucified
- Jesus promises his kingdom to the repentant thief
- Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other
- Jesus dies on the cross
- Jesus is laid in the tomb
Fourteen different people responded to the invitation to “reflect more thoroughly on one particular station and to represent that in some creative way which may be displayed in the church on Good Friday. Art, sculpture, flowers, powerpoint, music (at a listening post), photography, calligraphy, stained glass, poetry… pretty much any tangible expression of the Biblical text and its associated ideas will be welcome. The only restriction is the size of the chapel!
“The primary purposes of this exercise are to encourage individual church members to engage in deeper thought about the death of Jesus in the lead-up to Easter and to enable them to express these for their own spiritual growth, and also to share with each other some visual or aural springboards that will assist other people to worship.”
Those invited to come and reflect during the day began with the local congregations of Porirua Community Churches, expanded to include the members of other churches in Titahi Bay and thereafter anyone else who wished to come. There was a steady stream of people through the chapel from 9:00am to 2:30pm on Good Friday.
The stations were arranged in sequence around the chapel and people were welcomed to a quiet journey in their own time. The first hour was made available for parents to bring their children, and many remarked later how powerful it was to explain some of the features to questions they had often not been asked before, and the time thereafter was for adult reflection. A small booklet was given to each visitor with a brief introduction and the relevant biblical texts.