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Prayers for Meditation


Good Friday Year C
South Sydney Uniting Church
March 29, 2013

1. Jesus is Condemned to Death

Dear Jesus, you stood all alone before Pilate. Nobody speaks up for you. Nobody defends you. Sometimes we feel alone. Sometimes we feel afraid. Sometimes we are treated unfairly. Help us to remember that God is with us always. Help us to pray for those who have hurt us. Help us to discern when to speak and when to remain silent. Help us to be defenders and friends of those who are accused and alone. Amen.

2. The Cross is Laid Upon Him

Dear Jesus, you carried your cross. You bear the weight of prejudice, hostility, resentment and injustice. You show us the truth of our rivalries and hatreds, and you show us a different way. You bear the cross and take away our sin. Help us to bear the weight of prejudice, hostility, resentment and injustice with courage, dignity, honesty and grace – not suffering for the sake of suffering, but for your sake, for the sake of the kindom, for the sake of the world so loved by God. Amen.

3. He Falls for the First Time

Dear Jesus, under the weight of your cross, you stumbled and fell. You too are human. You grow tired and weak. You know the pain of cruelty and inhumanity. You know the temptation to curse those who hurt you. You know the temptation to give up the fight for peace with justice. Help us, when we fall, to draw strength from love and goodness. Help us, when we fall, to recover our hope and keep going, as the Spirit lifts and leads us. Amen.

4. Jesus Meets His Blessed Mother

Dear Jesus, you honoured your mother. Help us to see those near to us who love us. Help us to understand that we need them as much as they need us. May we not take for granted the life we know in the company of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends and neighbours. May we come to cherish our common life as creatures of the Earth, our common destiny as children of God. Amen.

5. Simon is Made to Bear the Cross

Dear Jesus, you were helped by a stranger. Help comes in strange ways. It is as though love were present in spite of cruel impatience and in spite of reluctance to help. Sometimes I retreat when others could use my help. Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept the help of others. Help me, help us, to give and to accept help, in all kinds of circumstances. Convert our neediness to self-awareness. Convert our selfishness to generosity. Amen.

6. Veronica Wipes His Face

Dear Jesus, you were loved and comforted. Veronica brings to you a clean cloth and a clean heart. She brings relief when there is no relief. Inspire our small and genuine offers of love and comfort – food and drink, time and money, as well as an open-hearted presumption of goodness. Help us to listen and to see the needs of others – to offer help even before we are asked. Amen.

7. Jesus Falls the Second Time

Dear Jesus, your shoulders ached, your feet gave way. Your body is bruised and exhausted. Our bodies, too, are mortal, vulnerable to injury and disease. And yet we bear them and are borne by them. Inspire our respect for bodies – for all that is corporeal, incorporated – our regard for rest, for healing, for reforms – that we might revere the Spirit within us and within all. Help us to accept our limitations and failures. In the name of a love that precedes and exceeds our efforts. Amen.

8. He Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Dear Jesus, you acknowledged the love and pain of others. You see that our praying and weeping over you, and for all those victimised in a world of greed and short-sighted ambition, is genuine. You acknowledge our emotion and appeal to our sense of responsibility. Help us to acknowledge our feelings and to direct our passions creatively and constructively. May we feel your presence with us as we conform our thoughts and actions to a world made holy, a world healed and destined for wholeness. Amen.

9. He Falls the Third Time

Dear Jesus, you struggled for breath and you fell down. You fall again and again. When we fall the first time, we expect to learn and to recover. It’s so much harder when we fall again, when we fail to learn, when our recoveries are short-lived. You understand. Keep us close to you and close to the God who never gives up on us. Amen.

10. He is Stripped of His Clothes

Dear Jesus, you were stripped of your clothes, of respectability, of social status. You are the one it is easy to ridicule. You are the one we discard, the one we disown. You are the one whose nakedness is most confronting, most frightening. Teach us to confer honour where there is only shame. May we receive and reflect the honour that cannot be taken from us – the honour of bearing your image as God’s beloved, as lovers of all that is good, true and beautiful. Amen.

11. He is Nailed to the Cross

Dear Jesus, you were subjected to torture and made an object of terror. And yet, from the cross, you speak words of wisdom and compassion. How can this be? How can we hear your words of forgiveness and not recoil from all violent notions of social and cosmic order? To you we owe the dream of nonviolence – peace for us and for all. To you we owe commitment to abundant and flourishing life: a passion – not passive – for the kindom of God. Amen.

12. Jesus Dies on the Cross

Dear Jesus, you bowed your head and died. There is nothing more for you to do. You are the way. You are the gate. I hardly know what this means. You are the one whose death is the very death of God – the death within the life of God. And love is strong as death. And death is swallowed up. Engage, enlarge my imagination, my heart, my faith. Amen.

13. His Body is Taken Down

Dear Jesus, your lifeless body was handled with care and prepared for burial. When you challenge him to step into the light, Nicodemus finds it too daunting, but he finds the courage to step forward when he sees how you die. He loves you then. Love is strong as death. Help me to see this love – to see it, to know it, to trust it. Help me to treat others with care and kindness, with gentleness, in this world and in the light of a world to come. Amen.

14. He is Laid in the Tomb

Dear Jesus, your lifeless body was washed, wrapped in linen and laid in a tomb. We know this sadness, the sadness of separation, finality. Help us to bear the sadness and not deny it. Help us to trust a way of love that passes into sadness, that our love may be deepened, that in your love, somehow, we might pass through sadness ... Amen.

Prayers by Rev. Andrew Collis
South Sydney Uniting Church
Holy Week 2013.