Abbey Presbyterian Church, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Holy Week Meditations from Home

We hope you will join us from your homes as we journey through Holy Week to Good Friday.
Join us here every evening for a short meditation Monday-Saturday April 6th to April 11th
SATURDAY  HOLY WEEK MEDITATION

“Few people realize that David’s laments contain
a more detailed description of the crucifixion than any of the Gospels.”
(Michael Card, A Sacred Sorrow)
[Milan Choir Video Flash mob was held in Turin,  120 Km west of Milan Italy –  all singers came from different local choirs. Name of the Choir a compound of two worlds: Incontro = meeting & canto = song, the act of singing, to sing.  Used with permissionhttp://www.incontrocanto.net )
We will use this profound recording to begin each of our Holy week Meditations.

Isaiah 53:9

 And they made his grave with the wicked

and with a rich man in his death…

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea,

named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus…

And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud,

and laid it in his own tomb, which he had hewn in the rock;

and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb,

and departed. (Mt.27:57-60)

Jesus is laid in the tomb (by Malcolm Guite)

Here at the centre everything is still,

Before the stir and movement of our grief

That bears its pain with rhythm, ritual,

Beautiful useless gestures of relief.

So they anoint the skin that cannot feel

And soothe his ruined flesh with tender care,

Kissing the wounds they know they cannot heal,

With incense scenting only empty air.

He blesses every love that weeps and grieves,

And makes our grief the pangs of a new birth.

The love that’s poured in silence at old graves,

Renewing flowers, tending the bare earth,

Is never lost. IN him all love is found

And sown with him, a seed in the rich ground.

Meditation:

Upon our Saviour’s Tomb Wherein Never Man was Laid (by Richard Crashaw)

How Life and Death in thee-Agree!

Thou hadst a virgin Womb-And Tomb.

A Joseph did betroth-  Them both.

Like drops of water running together,
we have come here to wait for you.
Like the disciples in the locked room,
we are longing for you.
Like drops of water running together,
we have come here to wait for you.
We are waiting to meet you,
but some of us aren’t sure that we will.
Some of us have lost our hope.
Some of us are sceptical.
Some of us need you to be real so much.
Like drops of water running together,
we have come here to wait for you.
Lord, meet us here,
greet us with your peace,
bring us together like drops of water into a flood,
into a blessing.

The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore Amen

Thankyou for joining us in this meditation
 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
We hope you will join us from your homes as we journey through Holy Week to Good Friday.
Join us here every evening for a short meditation Monday-Saturday April 6th to April 11th
GOOD FRIDAY  HOLY WEEK MEDITATION

“Few people realize that David’s laments contain
a more detailed description of the crucifixion than any of the Gospels.”
(Michael Card, A Sacred Sorrow)
[Milan Choir Video Flash mob was held in Turin,  120 Km west of Milan Italy –  all singers came from different local choirs. Name of the Choir a compound of two worlds: Incontro = meeting & canto = song, the act of singing, to sing.  Used with permissionhttp://www.incontrocanto.net )
We will use this profound recording to begin each of our Holy week Meditations.

Psalm 22:1 – Abandonment

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from helping me,

from my words of groaning?

 

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness

over all the land until the ninth hour.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a

loud voice, “Eli, Eli, la’ma sabach-thani?” that is,

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

(Mt.27:45-46)

Music- Last words tenebrae Andrew Peterson https://rabbitroom.com/2019/04/special-video-last-words/

Meditation:

Tom Wright is principally known as a New Testament scholar who recently came to wider public attention through his article in Time Magazine on a Christian response to the Covid-19 Virus.                              https://time.com/5808495/coronavirus-christianity/      There’s another thing about Tom Wright that’s of particular interest to us as we make our way through these Psalm snippets that fill out our understanding of the Crucifixion: as an Anglican born and bred, he is steeped in the regular praying of the Psalms and has written on why the Psalms are essential. I’d like to read an extract from one of those books as our meditation on Psalm 22:1 – Abandonment.Someday, somehow, there will come a time when a Davidic king will be exalted over the nations and bring God’s justice and peace to the world. And part of the task of that coming king will be, somehow, to take upon himself not only the role of ruling Israel and the world but of bringing to its head the long entail of failure – human failure, Israel’s failure, royal failure……the Psalms seem to indicate that this long-awaited promise can and will only be fulfilled through a time of intense suffering…The sequence of thought in the great Psalm 22 does seem to indicate this as a possibility, moving from God’s forsaken lament at the start to the glorious vision of the kingdom at the end:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?     And the ends of the earth shall remember

                                   and turn to Yahweh;

                                and all the families of the nations

                                   shall worship before him.

                                For dominion belongs to Yahweh,

                                   and he rules over the nations.

A poem for Good Friday by: Andy Stinso

At the Cross
I wait,
And time ticks past.
I gaze,
Made silent by the sight.
I watch,
As soldiers meticulously move
Executing each terrible, torturous task.
I gasp,
Still life lingers in His fragile, broken form.
I flinch,
As blow by blow,
Nails bite deep through flesh to find wood.
I stand
As He is lifted high,
Silhouetted ‘gainst the sky which He has made.
I weep
As His cry echoes deep in my hardened, calloused heart.
I wail,
As He screams ‘it is complete,
Finished, final, said and done.’
I fall,
As the sky turns inky black
And the sun and moon and stars forget to shine.
I kneel,
As worlds collide,
And time ticks by;
What once bound, no longer seems to hold.
I bow,
For part of me is gone,
Kept forever on Calvary’s painful peak.
I wait,
At the foot of the cross, to begin my journey home.

The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore Amen

Thankyou for joining us in this meditation
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
We hope you will join us from your homes as we journey through Holy Week to Good Friday.
Join us here every evening for a short meditation Monday-Saturday April 6th to April 11th
Thursday  HOLY WEEK MEDITATION

“Few people realize that David’s laments contain
a more detailed description of the crucifixion than any of the Gospels.”
(Michael Card, A Sacred Sorrow)
[Milan Choir Video Flash mob was held in Turin,  120 Km west of Milan Italy –  all singers came from different local choirs. Name of the Choir a compound of two worlds: Incontro = meeting & canto = song, the act of singing, to sing.  Used with permissionhttp://www.incontrocanto.net )
We will use this profound recording to begin each of our Holy week Meditations.

 

Psalm 22:16 – Piercing

They have pierced my hands and feet

 When they came to Jesus

and saw that he was already dead,

they did not break his legs.

But one of the soldiers pierced his side with

a spear, and at once there came out blood

and water…these things took place that the

scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him

shall be broken.” And again another scripture

says, “They shall look on him whom they

have pierced.” (Jn.19:33-37)

 [Music]

Maundy Thursday (by Malcolm Guite)

Here is the source of every sacrament,

The all-transcending presence of the Lord,

Replenishing our every element,

Remaking us in his creative Word.

For here the earth herself gives bread and wine,

The air delights to bear his Spirit’s speech,

The fire dances where the candles shine,

The waters cleanse us with his gentle touch.

And here he shows the full extent of love

To us whose love is always incomplete,

In vain we search the heavens high above,

The God of love is kneeling at our feet.

Though we betray him, though it is the night,

He meets us here and loves us into light.

Meditation:

Since its first publication in a collection of ‘Plantation Songs,’ one song has never lost its popularity. There is little doubt that the African slaves found comfort in identifying their own suffering at the ‘Lynching Tree’ with that of Jesus on the Cross. The song, if you don’t already know (some of you will already hear the great Mahaliah Jackson singing it with tears rolling down her cheeks), is ‘Were You There?’When African American pastor, author and civil rights leader, Howard Thurman, visited India, he and his wife had the honour of meeting Mahatma Ghandi. As they were about to leave Ghandi asked: ‘Will you do me a favour? Will you sing one of your songs for me? Will you sing “Where you there when they crucified My Lord?”’ And he explained the reason behind his request: ‘I feel that this song gets to the root of the experience of the entire human race under the spread of the healing wings of suffering.’

The second verse is this:Were you there when they pierced Him to the tree?Were you there when they pierced Him to the tree?   Oh, sometimes it causes me to   tremble, tremble, tremble.Were you there when they pierced Him to the tree?

The Sacrifice (extract, by George Herbert)

Nay, after death their spite shall further go;

For they will pierce my side, I full well know;

That as sin came, so Sacraments might flow:

Was ever grief like this?

O merciful God, you did not spare your only Son,
but offered him up for us all, that he might bear our sins
upon the cross. Grant that we might so examine ourselves
that we realize our own sinfulness. Help us to recognize those nails
which we drive into his cross today, and transform us
into more faithful disciples in his name. Amen.

The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore Amen

Thankyou for joining us in this meditation

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Psalm 22:18 – Gambling

They divide my garments among them,and for my raiment they cast lots.

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took

his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier;

also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam,

woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another,

“Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it

shall be.” This was to fulfil the scripture,

“They parted my garments among them,

and for my clothing they cast lots.”

Come and See

Jesus is stripped of his garments (by Malcolm Guite)

You can’t go on, you go on anyway,

He goes with you, his cradle to your grave.

Now is the time to loosen, cast away

The useless weight of everything but love.

For he began his letting go before,

Before the worlds for which he dies were made,

Emptied himself, became one of the poor,

To make you rich in him and unafraid.

See, as they strip the robe from off his back

They strip away your own defences too,

Now you could lose it all and never lack,

Now you can see what naked love can do.

Let go these bonds beneath whose weight you bow,

His stripping strips you both for action now.

Meditation:

At the outset of the pandemic, when everyone back home was starting to ‘social distance’, there was incredulity at the sight of thousands of Irishmen packing the terraces of Cheltenham Racecourse, eager to bet on the horses; hoping to ‘win big on your turf!’ The fear wasn’t that they’d bet and lose; that was up to them. The fear was that they were gambling with our lives on their return. That we all might lose! Gambling stretches back to the beginning of civilization; with some of the world’s oldest dice discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs. Hardly surprising then, that Roman soldiers could be found at the foot of the Cross gambling for the prisoner’s prized possession; dicing with death for the garments of Life. A kind of desperation for PPE, I suppose!

your call on our lives is persistent. Your promises are kept,
your faithfulness to us is beyond measure,
yet we wander and fear that we cannot be
the people you make us to be.

We build foundations on the ground we call our own;
We do not take time to dig deep;
we do not wait for your wisdom;
we depend too much on our own strength.

Forgive us for building our own dreams.
Have mercy on us when our own pride stops us turning to you.

Let us know your grace when we keep your gifts to ourselves.

Here are words we can trust:

Christ Jesus came and lived among us,
revealing the truth of God’s love and grace.

Those who had no hope, he called by name;
to those who had lost their way he said ‘follow me’;
to us, who wait on God’s mercy, he says: ‘you are forgiven’.

Let us learn to forgive ourselves and one another,
that we might live the gift of God’s grace!
Amen.

 The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore Amen

Thankyou for joining us in this meditation

Wednesday HOLY WEEK MEDITATION

“Few people realize that David’s laments contain
a more detailed description of the crucifixion than any of the Gospels.”
(Michael Card, A Sacred Sorrow)
[Milan Choir Video Flash mob was held in Turin,  120 Km west of Milan Italy –  all singers came from different local choirs. Name of the Choir a compound of two worlds: Incontro = meeting & canto = song, the act of singing, to sing.  Used with permissionhttp://www.incontrocanto.net )
We will use this profound recording to begin each of our Holy week Meditations.

 

Psalm 22:18 – Gambling

They divide my garments among them,and for my raiment they cast lots.

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took

his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier;

also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam,

woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another,

“Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it

shall be.” This was to fulfil the scripture,

“They parted my garments among them,

and for my clothing they cast lots.”

Come and See

Jesus is stripped of his garments (by Malcolm Guite)

You can’t go on, you go on anyway,

He goes with you, his cradle to your grave.

Now is the time to loosen, cast away

The useless weight of everything but love.

For he began his letting go before,

Before the worlds for which he dies were made,

Emptied himself, became one of the poor,

To make you rich in him and unafraid.

See, as they strip the robe from off his back

They strip away your own defences too,

Now you could lose it all and never lack,

Now you can see what naked love can do.

Let go these bonds beneath whose weight you bow,

His stripping strips you both for action now.

Meditation:

At the outset of the pandemic, when everyone back home was starting to ‘social distance’, there was incredulity at the sight of thousands of Irishmen packing the terraces of Cheltenham Racecourse, eager to bet on the horses; hoping to ‘win big on your turf!’ The fear wasn’t that they’d bet and lose; that was up to them. The fear was that they were gambling with our lives on their return. That we all might lose! Gambling stretches back to the beginning of civilization; with some of the world’s oldest dice discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs. Hardly surprising then, that Roman soldiers could be found at the foot of the Cross gambling for the prisoner’s prized possession; dicing with death for the garments of Life. A kind of desperation for PPE, I suppose!

your call on our lives is persistent. Your promises are kept,
your faithfulness to us is beyond measure,
yet we wander and fear that we cannot be
the people you make us to be.

We build foundations on the ground we call our own;
We do not take time to dig deep;
we do not wait for your wisdom;
we depend too much on our own strength.

Forgive us for building our own dreams.
Have mercy on us when our own pride stops us turning to you.

Let us know your grace when we keep your gifts to ourselves.

Here are words we can trust:

Christ Jesus came and lived among us,
revealing the truth of God’s love and grace.

Those who had no hope, he called by name;
to those who had lost their way he said ‘follow me’;
to us, who wait on God’s mercy, he says: ‘you are forgiven’.

Let us learn to forgive ourselves and one another,
that we might live the gift of God’s grace!
Amen.

 The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore Amen

Thankyou for joining us in this meditation
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Tuesday HOLY WEEK MEDITATION

“Few people realize that David’s laments contain
a more detailed description of the crucifixion than any of the Gospels.”
(Michael Card, A Sacred Sorrow)
[Milan Choir Video Flash mob was held in Turin,  120 Km west of Milan Italy –  all singers came from different local choirs. Name of the Choir a compound of two worlds: Incontro = meeting & canto = song, the act of singing, to sing.  Used with permissionhttp://www.incontrocanto.net )
We will use this profound recording to begin each of our Holy week Meditations.

 

Psalm 109:25 – Mocking
I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they wag their heads.
And those who passed by derided him,
Wagging their heads and saying,
“You who would destroy the temple
and build it in three day, save yourself!
If you are the Son of God,
come down from the cross.”
So also the chief priest, with the scribes
and elders, mocked him, saying,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
He is the King of Israel; let him come down
now from the cross, and we will believe in
Him…” (Mt.27:39-42)
Music meditatation ‘Hear This Broken Cry Lord’.

Hear this broken cry, Lord, from the darkest grave.
Overwhelmed by your waves, wrath has weighed me down.

Friends can’t bear to see me. Darkness is our home.
Shut in without escape,grieving eyes go dim.
Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.
You have sent me terror, caused my friends to leave.
Death has been beside me from when I first breathed.
Can the dead rise up to praise you, can the darkness know your wonder,
can your steadfast love be declared in the grave?Why O Lord, am I cast off? Your face you have hiddenand I cry to you for help.
Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.
Hidden God have mercy, silent God have mercy,
Unseen God have mercy on us.
Jesus, have mercy on us.
Meditation :

As children we were probably guilty of ‘making fun’ of another child in the playground. Or perhaps we were that child; the one that everyone ganged up on, laughed at, insulted, and even beat. Such incidents may have taken place more than fifty years ago, but as you read these lines; depending on the party with whom you identify, you feel either a deep sense of shame or a return of the searing pain undiminished by the years. Few of us have been dragged through the streets, tortured and publicly humiliated, yet our earliest memories are sufficient to bring us to the Cross. We can identify with the taunted victim and tears well up within: for us, for Him. Early memories also enable us to identify with those who taunt; and in retrospect tears well up within us: for us, for him… for her… for Him… With bitter insight Stuart Townend’s hymn exposes our cruelty: ‘ashamed, I hear MY mocking voice call out among the scoffers.

The Sacrifice (extract, by George Herbert)

Now heal thyself, Physician; now come down. Alas! I did so, when I left my crown

And father’s smile for you, to feel his frown: Was ever grief like this?

 

Have mercy on us, O Lord,
according to your incomparable, extraordinary love.
You know about our wrongs and our mistakes and our brokenness.
Cleanse us through and through, renew us, and revive us.
Help us to forgive ourselves, for we are aware of our flaws and frailties,
and save us from false guilt, and from putting ourselves down.
We get things wrong, we know this, and we hurt you and others.
We are people with soiled hands and feet of clay. Capable of great things, and of destructive things,
capable of healing and harm. And you desire the best for us, you offer us a hope and a future.
Help us to face the truth about ourselves, and about you, and as we do this we offer you our failures and successes,
our weakness and strengths, our dreams and nightmares. You are not fooled, you see us as we are,
and you have the kind of compassion that we can only imagine. So please, refresh us, cleanse us, rebuild our confidence, and renew our faith. Enable us to act honestly, to care deeply, and to walk humbly with you.
Today and each day, in the name of your son Jesus,
Amen.

 The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore Amen
Thankyou for joining us in this meditation
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Monday HOLY WEEK MEDITATION

 

“Few people realize that David’s laments contain
a more detailed description of the crucifixion than any of the Gospels.”
(Michael Card, A Sacred Sorrow)

 

 April 6th  2020 – Holy Week: Monday

 [Milan Choir Video Flash mob was held in Turin,  120 Km west of Milan Italy –  all singers came from different local choirs. Name of the Choir a compound of two worlds: Incontro = meeting & canto = song, the act of singing, to sing. we will use this profound recording to begin each of our Holy wek Meditations. Used with permissionhttp://www.incontrocanto.net )

 

 

Vinegar

They gave me poison for food,and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (Psalm 69:21) 
 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them
at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, put it on a reed, and gave it to him
to drink. (Mt.27:47-48)

 

After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.” A bowl full of
vinegar stood there, so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When
Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(Jn.19:28-30)

Meditation 1:

Vinegar, wine-vinegar, vinegar mixed with gall or hyssop or myrrh – what exactly was it? More to the point, why was it offered and received or rejected? The options boil down to mockery – instead of water, bitter drink – or mercy: finally a moment of conscious or unconscious humanity; something to deaden the pain, an act of palliative care by one of the executioners. The consensus is that crucifixion by intention and design was by definition an extreme example of punishment without mercy. And Jesus for his part was intent on drawing upon himself the full measure of evil (devoid of mercy) – so he refused.

The Sacrifice (extract, by George Herbert)
They gave me vinegar mingled with gall But more with malice: yet, when they did call,
With Manna, Angels’ food, I fed them all; Was ever grief like this?
Here is Love (Song)
Meditation 2:

‘I thirst’ – why did Jesus say that? Was he desperate for water to quench his parched lips? Was he asking for someone to come to his aid; someone with a bucket and rope who could lower it into the dark depths of Jacob’s Well and draw up ice-cold fresh water? Someone, like the Samaritan woman from whom at the sixth hour he requested, “Give me to drink’? If aid was sought, it was forthcoming from the unlikeliest of people: a Samaritan woman whose dubious reputation rendered her ‘outcast’ even by her own people; and (perhaps) a Roman soldier who, by dubious virtue of birth and commission was also by Jewish judgement persona non grata. Two people less likely to come to the aid of a Jewish man condemned one can barely imagine. Two people for whom the term ‘social distancing’ was coined; at least one of whom received the Water of Life. Perhaps both did.

Life Giving Water – poem by: Dave Hopwood

Life leaves us thirsty, longing for more.
And in the parched streets
and arid busyness a single voice cries out,
‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me,
whether rich or poor,
happy or sad,
satisfied or frustrated,
privileged or marginalised.
Young or old,
wanted or unwanted,
sick or healthy,
full of faith or wrestling with doubt.’
Life leaves us thirsty, longing for more.
And in the parched streets
and arid busyness a single voice cries out,
‘The water I give, will become a life-giving spring,
welling up to eternal life.
Offering purpose, meaning, hope and direction.
So come to me and drink,
and from your being will flow rivers of living water,
streaming out to those around.’
Whether rich or poor,
Happy or sad,
Satisfied or frustrated,
Privileged or marginalised.
Young or old,
wanted or unwanted,
sick or healthy,
full of faith or wrestling with doubt.
Life leaves us thirsty, longing for more.
And in the parched streets
and arid busyness a single voice cries out,
‘Come to me and drink.’