Good Friday words — New Zealand, India and South Africa

Reflections for Good Friday (again early for those who may want to use them in planning worship) include a hymn by New Zealand lyricist Gordon Piesse, a poem by Eyingbeni Hümtsoe of India, and a poetic reflection by Isobel de Gruchy of South Africa. If you would like the full text of this writing, please contact me through the comments. Otherwise I will be posting the full work on Good Friday itself.

Good Friday Repentance

A dying rebel turned to see
the Saviour one dark day;
and by Christ’s blood, his cruel scorn
and sins, were washed away.
For when the scoffer saw the King
a-dying by his side,
he came to love the very Name
of Jesus crucified –
Love Jesus crucified!

‘Yes, I fear God, deserve to die;
but Christ did nothing wrong’
‘My Saviour King, remember me
when comes your reign along.’
Said Jesus, turning with a smile:
‘To Paradise you’ll go;
with me and like me, there you’ll be
In Love’s eternal glow!
To Paradise you’ll go!’

Lk 23:38-43. Tune: “Vox Dilecti”, starting with C, not D

The Crucifixion Lament

Why did he even so willingly die
Knowing that I would reject the price?
Why did he my life buy
Knowing that I would refuse the prize?
Why did he not leave my side
Knowing that I would betray him more than thrice?
Why did he not lie
That he was not king and prove himself wise?
Why did he not fly
And escape to Paradise?
Why did he, on the Cross, heave a relieving sigh
Knowing that I would still doubt him to rise?
Why did he not eye
To bring down his purpose to my tiny size?
Why does he still stand denied
When all he ever did was to lift us to eternal skies?

The Seven Last Words from the Cross

I

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

They took Jesus to Golgotha and there they crucified him, the Jews derided,
the Romans, with callous unconcern, did their job,
and he called out,
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Any other person, you or I, could not say this;
could not look out from under the smothering tarpaulin of sheer pain enveloping us –
could only think of hate and revenge –
could only be consumed by our own suffering –
would shrink our world to include only ourselves.

But he saw Pilate caught in the machinations of the Jewish leaders
intent on saving his own position;
the soldiers, limited by lack of insight, controlling a rebellious people
in a foreign land, made inhuman by violence.

He saw too the Jews, his followers, bewildered and
panic-stricken, helpless to intervene;
Judas, wretched and remorseful;
the mob, thirsting for blood, another spectacle,
another criminal made to pay.

Above all, he saw the religious leaders,
their power over the people.
He saw their hatred of him,
he who had thrown a pebble into the smooth water of their control
sending newness and discontent with old ways
rippling out in ever widening circles.
Even over them, he prayed forgiveness.

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