Music: James MacMillan Seven Last Words from the Cross
The reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38 There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews." 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
A moment of humanity amid the horror of this day’s events. Someone finally stands up for Jesus. Now he cuts through all the verbal abuse, and he calls Jesus by his own unadorned name, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." There is a powerful moment of recognition here, a moment of mutual recognition. "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Improbable as it seems, they belong together in death and beyond death.
Oh Christ come alive in us God in our hands,
Oh face, flesh, bone of us, open our minds
To the glory of living with hearts opened wide
The clearest joy of knowing that there’s nothing left to hide.
(from Tom McGuinness Saviour in us All from Exultet)
Dearest Jesus. . .