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He is risen


In his short novel The Man Who Died , D H Lawrence  had an alternative explanation for the resurrection- that Jesus didn’t die and revived in the cool of the tomb.Lawrence himself summarized his story in a letter to a friend:
“I wrote a story of the Resurrection, where Jesus gets up and feels very sick bout everything, and can’t stand the old crowd any more – so cuts out – and as he heals up, be begins to find what an astonishing place the phenomenal world is, far more marvellous than any salvation or heaven – and thanks his stars he needn’t have a mission any more.” Does this have any basis in truth?
As Christians we see things differently, and to celebrate what this Easter Day means to many of us, I once more borrow from Ronald T Haney’s Stations of the cross, which has encouraged and sustained me through Holy week.

“The Word is risen. The word made flesh, made sin, made passion, mad death is risen…Jesus of Bethlehem. Now the eternal man. Jesus of Nazareth. Now the everlasting Galilean. Jesus of Jerusalem. Now the Lord of the universe. Jesus of Palestine. Now the saviour of the world. Jesus of Golgotha. Now the cosmic Christ…

He has risen! Creative words. Words of life.Immortal words. Words of destiny.Living words. Words of good news. And the good news is that he is alive.Now. This very moment. In my life. “I live, yet not I, but Christ is living in me.” (Gal 2:20)

He persuades us with his resurrection power to cause resurrections in the lives of others. help others to come alive. To God. To the world. To people. To themselves. To draw others to that fullness of life for which he laid down his life. “Christ now raised from the dead will never die again” (Rom 6:9).”

May you come to know the blessing of his resurrection power in you this Easter Day and may you have the faith to call on him to renew this blessing each day of your life.


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The final three stations

resurrectionStation 13- Jesus is taken down from the cross- His suffering is over now. He is at peace. the chalice has passed. But only after it has been drained. his limp body rests on her lap. “Woman, how does this concern of your involve me?” he had asked at Cana (John 2:4). She had not been puzzled. Or deterred. No arguments. No altercation. “Do whatever he tells you” (John2:5). She is always there.

Station 14- Jesus is entombed-They bury him. He, for whom there had been no room at the inn (Luke 2:7). had to be buried in someone else’s tomb (Matt 27:60). Gethsemane of the bloody sweat. Jerusalem of the bloodthirsty condemnation. Golgotha of the bloodletting death. But this place? Not even a name.

Station 15- Jesus is risen-So many words ready to burst forth. Words of poets. Words of philosophers. Words of scientists. Words of musicians. Words of theologians. Words of artists. All waiting to be born. Words eager to give birt to the one immortal idea of all ages. And the only words that find life are so simple, so brief, so uncomplicated that many great minds have overlooked them: “He has risen!” (Mark 16:6). The Word is risen.

My thanks to the creativity of Rev. T. Ronald Haney for allowing me to share with you the true story of God’s compassion as we have shared together his version of the stations of the cross together over the last few days as we remember the great price that Jesus paid for our salvation. Tomorrow we will share the last words of Jesus from the cross as we meditate on the experience of that first Good Friday.

With thanks to the Rev T. Ronald Haney from his book The Stations of the Cross.

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Stations 10-12

12-jesus-dies-on-the-crossStation 10- Jesus is stripped-He has arrived. finally. Tortuously. they strip him. What is it about love that can be so intensely hated? “Play the prophet, which one struck you?” (Luke 22:64). That was it! In their simplistic ridicule they had unwittingly affirmed his role. he was indeed a prophet. he stands stripped. No heralding angles. no worshipping magi. No shining star.

Station 11- Jesus is crucified– They attack him with metallic savagery. the hammer. the nails. Condemned in his innocence, he is crucified in his love. they stretch him out. On the paten of the cross. “My hour has not yet come” (John2:4). his honour is not to be cheated. It is now. It is total sacrifice. An offering as intense as it is cosmic. The Word that spoke the universe is now the Word of consecration.

Station 12- Jesus dies- He hangs there on the cross. “Philip, he who sees me sees the Father” (John 14:9). The closeness. The intimacy. The oneness. “The Father knows me and I know the Father” (John 10:15). “All that the Father has belongs to me ” (John 16:15). “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30). “I can never be alone; the Father is with me ” (John 16:32). The union of purest mysticism. We are never alone. God is always God- with-us.

With thanks to the Rev T. Ronald Haney from his book The Stations of the Cross.

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Stations 7-9

large395Station 7- Jesus falls for the second time-He falls again. “My food is to do the will of him who sent me” (John 4:34). His perfection is his father’s will. Even if it means this humiliation. This degradation. The cosmic Lord plunging into the dust of this tiny particle of his vast creation. Barely able to concentrate. Pain. The crashing pain of universal sin scattered throughout every cell of his divinely sensitized body. Humiliation. Degradation.

Station 8- Jesus comforts the women- Weeping. Was it really? Some women. With their children. Weeping. he stopped. “There was following Jesus a great crowd of people and among them were some women who were bewailing and lamenting him” (Luke 23:27). Even in his agony, he would find words for others.

Station 9- Jesus Falls the third time- He falls again. Such a short distance from his last fall. Pain is now torture. This fall. It seems so final. “….all the kingdoms of the world…I will bestow on you if you prostrate yourself in homage before me” (Matt 4:8-9). He would not. he did not. He had his mission: His father’s kingdom,,,,of peace and unity, of justice and love. He lies there. His mission flashes before him.

With thanks to the Rev T. Ronald Haney from his book The Stations of the Cross.

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14 stations and 7 last words

eakins_crucifixion335x600Firstly, I have to point out that I am not a Roman Catholic , or even Anglo-catholic, but there is something I feel we can gain and share by walking in the footsteps of Christ aswe journey through Holy Week together on this blog. The stations of the cross are not marked in the tradition I am used to, yet I can see how they help us recall and meditate on the passion and death of our Saviour. On Good Friday, I hope to spend an hour at the cross as part of a service my own church hosts. I haven’t attended a service like this before, and I am not quite sure what to expect but I do know that the seven last words from the cross tell us all we can know about Jesus’ thoughts at his crucifiction. We treasure them for what they enable us to understand about his sacrificial love and as a source of faith, inspiration and mystery. At the 14 stations and reflecting on the 7 last words we share in both the pain and glory, which are ours to embrace.

So, starting today through till next Maundy Thursday I will be posting some reflections from Rev T. Ronald Haney’s book Stations of the Cross, and,on Good Friday, prayers from Anthony  Phillips’s Book Entering into the Mind of God. Here are the first 3 sstations according to Haney.

Station 1- Jesus is Condemned –His silence. That’s what disturbs the most. It cuts through the savagery of history, slicing into the very marrow of brutal, wanton, wasteful killings like his own. Condemned, he remains silent.

Station 2- Jesus Accepts the Cross- The Cross. Stark. Frightening-not so much for what it is but for what it will become. An instrument of torture and death. A crucifix. Yet he takes it.

Station 3- Jesus Falls for the first time- He falls. There is no record of anyone helping him up.”I looked about, but there was no one to help; I was appalled that there was no one to lend support.” (Isa 63.5). He lies there, prostrate, beaten, weakened. It is the moment of decision. Does he stay down or does he get up and go on? He struggles to his feet.

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