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Stebbing, Great Dunmow, Essex, United Kingdom
The occasional blog of an Anglican priest in rural Essex

Friday, 10 April 2009

...was Crucified for me

In this benefice we mark Good Friday with a walk across the benefice, tracing the passion narrative from Gethsemane to the tomb of Jesus in four acts of worship, one in each Church. this year we started at 9am at Lindsell, with a reflection on the arrest, from Matthew 26, then set off for Stebbing.

We arrived early at Stebbing, allowing time for people to take in the all-age
stations of the cross which will be in the church over the whole weekend. The
youth group had also installed and illuminated in red a 12 foot high wooden
cross which left one with a powerful impression. The worship centred on a
dramatisation of Matthew 27, ending with a children's DVD depicting the
soldiers' mockery. I then led the congregation in an active prayer, inviting
them to come and touch the cross and pray silently for those who suffer. After
the service we had a relaxed lunch in the sunny churchyard before setting off for
At this point inthe procedings the timing went awry; even though we left Stebbing before the advertised time (and so some people missed us) we still arrived at Great Saling late and in dribs and drabs so several people missed the third service including me, as I was in the churchyard "looking for angels" with my 6 year old daughter. However, I am confident the service was based around a quiet meditation on the crucifixion, from Matthew, Luke and John. I was getting stressed about the timing cock-up, but then I reflected that on the first Maundy Thurday/Good Friday every moment was totally chaotic as Jesus went from the garden, to and from his trials, and to the cross. We read it as flowing smoothly in the gospel accounts but, other than a resolute Christ at the centre of the vortex, it must have been as if a hurricane hit the city. In any event, slightly late, we departed for the last leg of the journey to Little Saling

The two Salings are very close; it's only about a 25 minute walk, but for those who did all 12 miles the tea and hot cross buns were very welcome. The final service, focussing on Jesus' death and burial, was very moving, quietly reflective, and with some good hymns. I was left turning over a new thought in my mind. Did Joseph of Arimathea give up his family grave out of pure devotion to Christ, or because he was expecting him to rise? Was he one who actually got the message about "and I will rebuild it in 3 days" etc. He is always characterised as a secret believer and bracketed therefore with Nicodemus; did he actually understand that he wouldn't be giving up the family plot forever? Just a thought.

The weather had been fab all day, but as we left the church at the end of the final service the rain came. Given that last year the rain and wind were constant, freezing and horizontal most of the day, this was felt to be a good result!


  1. Sounds like a great day.
    Interesting reflection about Joseph of Arimathea.

  2. http://hrht-revisingreform.blogspot.com/2009/04/image-competition-winner.html



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