The First of ‘Seven Last Words’ – an original meditation at The Cross

‘Crown of Thorns and Nails’ part of my purple stole by

Catching up with sharing some of what I got up to during Holy Week now I’m into a short break in Easter Week.

The most significant creative act of my Holy Week, which I actually  prepared through Lent, was to write and read meditations on the Seven Last Words of Christ at the Cross. These were interspersed with music by the choir and hymns, in the middle hour of our Three Hours at the Cross on Good Friday. Writing them was a very difficult experience, sharing them equally so, but then the whole of that Good Friday experience (my first of this three hour format) was hugely challenging, as I also had to carry the cross and place the crucifix in the sepulcher during the final hour.

I’m not sure I’m going to share all seven of my meditations, leaving others to share if appropriate at other times, but if you think you could use the complete set (which decrease in length as they progress – roughly speaking), then do please contact me via the comments facility.

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

Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. Luke 23:32-34 (NRSV)

But I do!

I know it was them,
them what did it!
Between them,
the Jewish leaders and Roman rulers,
they stitched him up,
then nailed him up.
they did.

I know,
they knew what they were doing.
The Jewish leaders were all too keen to get
this trouble maker off their hands.
Their people,
all too easily led,
manipulated from adoration to crucification
by the gutter journalism of a whispering campaign;
they might pass the buck and blame
mass hysteria or ignorance,
but surely they can’t be forgiven?

I know,
the Roman soldiers,
they had seen it all before,
done it all before,
and were just
“followin’ orders, Sir!”
Brutalised by the society they brought with them
and imposed on others,
their cruelty a symptom of their desire for Empire,
their so-called education and philosophy.

Surely a whole sick, political agenda,
can’t be forgiven?

So why,
nailed up,
ridiculed and humiliated
by His people,
and His nations rulers,
is he looking,
at me?!

when He talks
in that measured, patient,
intimate way,
to His so-called “Father”,
whoever or where-ever he might be,
is He looking
at me?!

Why, do I need forgiving?
I, who wasn’t there,
couldn’t have been,
so don’t need an alibi;
I, who has only ever read
this scene in a story-book;
How can I
need forgiving?
for what?

They do not know what they are doing.

But I do.

I know,
I can barely whisper his name in public
for fear of ridicule or worse.


I know,
I doubt peoples claims
to answered prayer,
a sense of calling,
the power of love –
most of all,
my own.

The Christ.

I know,
the lies hidden behind pews,
and stalls,
the false security of prayer books,
the walls that obscure the world from view.

King of the Jews.

I know,
where the “invisible” scars
are covered over,
bruises made to blend in,
hidden from the need to forgive.

Redeemer – Son of God.

I know… and He sees.
I whisper… and He answers.
I doubt… and He strengthens.
I hide… and He reveals.

I lie, and Jesus..?





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