Friday, April 06, 2007

And then it hit me...

The week leading up to Easter is not really the most convenient time for clergy to lose their voice! Yes, I got through last Sunday's service feeling rather 'under the weather' and have gone downhill from there to the point where I find myself on Good Friday with a pathetic attempt at a voice and energy levels to match! Ho hum, I've been trying to make myself as useful as possible while not actually able to lead anything. VicarBoss (VB) stood in and did my share for Maundy Thursday last night and took my half an hour at the Watch at the Cross earlier today. I am supposed to be preaching at our All-age Easter celebration on Sunday - hopefully he won't have to voice-over my visual aids for that too!
Anyway, at least my reflection and prayers were all prepared for today - though VB decided to go with his own 'here's one I prepared earlier' reflection on Simon of Cyrene. Just so my effort wasn't completely wasted, here's mine. But just before you read it (or not!) I would like to share one little revelation about something. Well, it might not be an actual revelation, but it was pretty revelatory for me anyway. And here it is... Everything I do does not have to be world-changing in itself! This is a very good thing because a lot of the time I feel useless and not able to produce things that are as good/interesting/insightful/valuable as I want them to be. And I've come to realise that I might just have to accept that my abilities may only ever be mediocre, but as long as they're offered to God then he might be able to do something world-changing with them!! That's all... so here's my mediocre reflection on Simon of Cyrene!

They had mocked and beaten him; blindfolded, insulted and accused him. And Jesus – Son of God; Messiah; innocent perfection of mankind – was led away to be crucified.

Perhaps he stumbled under the weight of hatred and betrayal; or perhaps it was the weight of the crossbeam he carried? Whatever the cause, they grabbed at Simon – seized the man from Cyrene, and laid the beam on his back instead.

This man, just entering Jerusalem from the country, was suddenly caught up in the most significant events a man could see. Was he just an unfortunate man in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or was this his gift to the one who was the right man, in the right place at the right time? Did he know the privilege of walking behind Jesus, carrying a mere splinter of his burden, on the day when God would restore humanity, defeat death, open the gate of heaven?

Was Simon humiliated, angry and ashamed or humbled and honoured as he served the servant amid the baying of the crowd and the wailing of Jesus’ friends; as he felt the weight of the wood on which would hang the Lord? What response did he make as he carried a cross? Which response do we make as we carry our cross?

And so Simon stumbled in the path of the Lord – and yet his path was also very different. Jesus trod a unique path, a lonely path, a tortured path, a loving path, a dying path.
Simon bore the weight of the crossbeam, but Jesus would bear the weight of human sin – all sin, my sin, your sin.

I wonder what Simon might have made of the words uttered some other, earlier day by Jesus… “If any want to become my followers let them deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Was this Simon’s cross, to carry the cross of the Lord?
He had been given no choice – the cross had been laid on him.

Is there sometimes a cross laid upon us? One we have no choice but to bear? One that we try and carry with humility and grace because we obey the words of the Lord? Perhaps there are some days when the humility and grace, or even the desire to follow, to deny self are far away. And yet that’s what this was all about. Without this day, the power of sin and self-centredness, of death and separation from God would not be broken.

Through Lent some of us have had the privilege of hearing the stories and experiences of Christians in circumstances that at times have reached the depths of human experience. Where faith is lived in the dark shadow of the cross and where the only comfort has been the promise of the presence of the Christ who also suffered. But these Christians have shown us that even through persecution and social rejection, through indescribable violence and war, through pain and illness and suffering it is possible to carry the cross lain upon them and see glimpses of light.

Simon accompanied Jesus as he began the journey to the place of the cross, and we accompany Jesus as we remember and reflect on that journey again today; a journey through darkness to shine light into our lives.


At April 07, 2007 9:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You always give me something to think about! Have a very happy and fulfilling Easter.

Best Wishes,


At April 08, 2007 12:04 pm, Anonymous Beki said...

When you lose your voice you need to have a back up - mime!!

Happy Easter


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