This weekend we remember the tragic end of Jesus’ life as well as the miraculous raising of Jesus the Christ from his death. The week prior to this weekend is one where Christians focus on Jesus’ arrival and entry into Jerusalem, the hub of Israeli and Jewish power, amid excited and adoring crowds. This excitement and adoration quickly turn, however, resulting in a call by the people to kill – crucify – this man they so enthusiastically welcomed.
I am reading Michael Moore’s autobiography aptly titled Here Comes Trouble. Moore, as you may know, is an Oscar-winning film maker and bestselling author, he is also a rather zany, off-the-wall kind of bloke. Moore was brought up a devout Catholic, thought of becoming a priest, but dropped out early along the way.
During the weeks of Lent we have been meditating on Jesus’ seven last words from the cross. We have heard him forgive those who put him to death, how he committed his mother Mary into the care of his beloved disciple John, assured the penitent brigand that he would be with him in paradise, heard his cry of thirst and of desolation. Next week we will think about his final words, but the words before the last are our focus today: “It is finished” (John 19:28-30).
A record attendance of more than 3 500 worshippers, among them heads of member churches and civic leaders, gathered at the Durban Exhibition Centre for Diakonia Council of Churches' 26th annual Good Friday Service under the theme The Cross of Transformation.
Revd Sue Brittion of the Anglican Diocese of Natal delivered the sermon for the early morning service while Revd Dr Ross Olivier, President of Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary, gave a testimony on transformation.
“God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (I Corinthians 1:18-25; Matthew 21:1-9)
During Lent, according to Catholic tradition at least, Hallelujahs as well as the Gloria are expunged from the liturgy, though there are those misguided souls here at Volmoed who are so filled with the Spirit that they can’t help themselves shout out the forbidden word! Those who are not Catholics may find this “hallelujah-silence” a little strange because we approach the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross as those who already believe in his resurrection and, after all, Hallelujah simply means Praise the Lord!