prayer enclosing the Crucifixion

1200px-buhl_stjeanbaptiste27
Buhl Altarpiece, 15th century France, © Ralph Hammann – Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA / 4.0 

Let us pray to the Father, who loved the world so much that he sent his only Son to give us life.

Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry the cross for your Son.
Give us grace to lift heavy loads off those we meet
    and to put ourselves with those condemned to die.

Your Son watched the soldiers gamble to share his clothes.
Look with your forgiveness on those who make a profit from their victims,
    and on those whose hearts may be hardened by their work.

The thief looked for a part in the coming of your kingdom,
    and received your Son’s words of hope and comfort.
Give hope and reconciliation, healing and peace
    to all who look death in the face today.

In Mary and John your Son created a new family at the cross.
Fill our relationships, and those of new families today, with mutual care and responsibility,
    and give us a secure hope for the future.

The centurion was astonished to see your glory in the crucified Messiah.
Open the eyes of those who are not yet your people to see in your Son
    the meaning of life and death.

Nicodemus came to take your Son’s body away.
Give gentleness, hope and faith to all who minister to the dying and bereaved,
    and courage to those whose faith is secret.

Simon and Nicodemus, Mary and John became part of your Church in Jerusalem.
May your Church today be filled with such different people, united by the cross,
    and celebrating our unity in your Son with all your saints in glory.

Lord of the Church,
Hear our prayer, and make us one in heart and mind to serve you in Christ our Lord.

Trevor Lloyd, b. 1938,  Anglican priest and author

_________________________

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. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 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!’ Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 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. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

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.”

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

There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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