For this Good Friday service, lay people from the community of St Andrew's on The Terrace, Welington, shared a brief meditation and prayer response, focusing on each of the fourteen stations of the cross as portrayed in the "oil drum paintings" by Robert Gauldie. (See link below for more information.) Each contribution took the format of Scripture Reading (by worship leaders), meditation and responsive prayer, followed by the congregation singing one verse of a hymn.
My meditation was on the final, fourteenth station.
Jesus is laid in the tomb
Mark 15:46-47 New Revised Standard Version
Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.
He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.
And so, we leave you to the Sabbath rest.
Many have spoken against you, and sorrow, like a sharp sword, breaks our hearts.
We bury you with our love, anoint you with our tears, wrap you—tenderly as a babe—in swaddling clothes and lay you in this rocky manger, sealed with stone.
Your death, your life, has changed you, changed us all.
When you come back, oh Christ, who will you be?
Life-giver, Pain-bearer, Love-maker*
enfold us in the darkness of this hour, this night of questioning…
Your future, Loving One, is in our hands.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
The prayer response references the fourth station, and the reading from Luke 2:34-35: Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
14th station - oil drum painting by Robert Gauldie for St Andrew's on The Terrace, Wellington
* "Life-giver, Pain-bearer, Love-maker" are the opening words of Rev Jim Cotter's "Prayer to the Eternal Spirit", a reinterpretation of the Jesus Prayer.