At the ending of the day 15

I am slowly getting used to not asking what actually happened on that first Easter Day.
It is a question which has burdened me from the early days of my theological formation and the incessant demands of secular thinking that will only believe in what can be backed by so-called scientific proof.
So I am gradually getting used to asking more productively; whatever did happen, what is the meaning of Christ’s resurrection?
Here is a brief and tantalising answer. Continue reading

Before the Ending of the day 14

 

The beautiful parish church of Great Bowden and a soft early spring evening where I attended Soul Space. It is a gentle end of the day gathering which invites me to sit and respond in quietness and modest faith. There are no demands that tell me how to feel or think; just a space offered for the possibility of prayer and worship.
As I arrive I am given a piece of paper and its first words are
CHRIST IS RISEN
WE ARE RISEN.
Really? Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 13

There was a garden in that place and a new tomb in which no one had been laid
John 19:41
I first visited the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem in 1988. I returned there to study at St George’s College ten years later and one afternoon re-visited the site and this describes what I saw. Continue reading

Before the Ending of the day 12

 

They think it’s all over; well it is now.
Easter Evening approaches– the transitory mess of chocolate eggs wrappings, bunny cards and Easter flowers grace the day’s close. The church’s Easter garden is already wilting.
Easter has come and gone.
In John’s gospel the dying words of Jesus are: it is finished. It may appear strange to be considering them on Easter Day but they point to the significance of his resurrection.
I wonder how many people die, content. For them life has come to a perfect conclusion with all ends tied up. They have lived a neatly packaged life which can be boxed up and put away.
I have had that impression from some funeral services I have attended and certainly the favoured alternative – a celebration of the departed’s life. But I wonder. Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 11

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit

This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying.
It would appear that in the account of his death in the later gospels Jesus died at peace with his Father in heaven but what about us?
I found this beautiful prayer by Bishop Jeremy Taylor. It was written in the Restoration period of the 1600s. Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 10

 

A request too far?

In John’s account of the death of Jesus there is a moment when the frail humanity of Christ breaks the silence. He cries out: I am thirsty. It is the thirst of the dying. But when the drugged cloth is offered him he refuses. Was there another sort of thirst he need quenching?
This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying. Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 9

 

United by his death
In John’s account of the death of Jesus there is a poignant scene where he unites his mother with the disciple with whom he had a unique love. After his death Jesus has decided that she will go to the disciple’s home.
This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying.
It is a sad fact that sometimes it is only after a death that something fruitful can happen. Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 8

 

Jesus watched the people responsible for his death from the cross and prayed: Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing
This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day  where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying.

Forgiveness is not easy path to follow. How can it be explored? Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 7

Jesus said to the criminal dying beside him: Truly I tell you today you will be with me in paradise.
This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying.
Jesus died, crucified between two criminals. They argued over Jesus and his forgiveness of his executioners. One thought Jesus could get them out of there, the other saw an innocent man who shouldn’t have been on the cross in the first place. (Luke 23:32-43)
Jesus promised this man that they would be both be in Paradise that very day.
I wonder whether Jesus was being ironic; after all we are told in John’s gospel that there was a garden nearby and the meaning of Paradise is a beautiful garden. “You see that peaceful place over there? We’ll soon be there.

Continue reading

He said: God why have you left me?

The last words of Jesus were My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

This is the first in a series for Before the ending of the day when I will consider each of the last words of Jesus on the cross and their meaning for our own contemplation of death and dying.
In Mark’s gospel 14:33-39 Jesus’s final words are full of fear and puzzled anger. He is dying terror-stricken and alone.
He might have saved others but he cannot save himself from the inevitable.What can a God-forsaken Christ say to us about dying?

Continue reading