Afterthoughts

Listen to the Service

Today's Program

Gathering Our Spirit to God’s Spirit

Four stations (bread, juice, enemies, love) and a bazillion candles that are systematically extinguished by the end of the service.

  • Billy Crockett instrumental guitar music plays 
  • A Journeyer steps up to light the lamp and another rings the bell
  • “40” video runs
  • David welcomes folks and has us breathe… prays

From Our Spirit to God’s Spirit

  • Dave Madden leads the community in singing “Forty Days”
  • A Journeyer reads Luke 22:45-53
  • Dave Madden sings “My Enemies Are Men Like Me”
  • Michelle performs a dramatic monologue by Brian Oakley

The Other Side of the Flannel Board: A Mother at the Cross

[Lights dimmed, unadorned cross lit. Voiceover only, by a woman, no longer young.]

My people have been waiting for the Messiah for centuries -- the One who would bring justice, free us from our suffering.

For decades, I have searched for you myself. And today, I've come to watch you die.

That night they kicked in the door, my world ended. When the soldiers moved toward the crib, my husband, whom I had never seen raise his voice, much less a fist, struck down two before he himself was clubbed, mercilessly kicked, and beaten, left barely breathing.

I watched the oldest soldier take our only son, raise him high with blood-stained hands, a sacrifice.  His tiny, helpless arms reached for me…

A sword at my chest kept me from reaching him – but I didn't close my eyes, refusing to abandon him.

After they left, I lifted his broken body from the ground, even gathered the dust where the drops of his blood fell. I buried him alone. The other women in the village wailed for days – I couldn't even speak.

At first, like the others, I blamed Herod. It was easy -- until I learned about you.

It was four days before my husband awakened, weeks before he could rise. He would never be the same – limping, head continually bowed. He once told me -- before the wine took over -- that he couldn't bear the shame of not dying for his son.

Another child? Impossible – yet another price my husband paid for his courage. I understood, and loved him still, but it wasn't enough. He left me, years ago.

Even now, when I see a baby boy, I can't help but touch the scar on my chest, and mourn for mine. His name was Zaccheo – the one God remembers.

Did he ever cross your mind when you experienced the life he never had? The taste of freshly pressed olive oil on your tongue? The feel of sand being swept from under your toes by the waves? Your first kiss? Laughing with your friends around the glow of a fire?

I've heard the stories -- your teachings, the miracles. I tracked down and talked to lepers you healed at Bethsaida; I believe them.  But how many beggars' eyes and cripples' legs will be worth what you've taken?

They say that you love children… but when a mother hands you her baby, do you ever think of the hundreds -- the thousands -- who were sacrificed for you?

You speak of mercy, of compassion -- do you ever mention them?

Why did they have to die? The glorious mind of God couldn't think of another way?

Your mother is nearby, weeping for you. I don't resent her – but she had decades to watch you grow, to fulfill your destiny.

Now, I get to see you -- raised by the sweaty arms of soldiers… your arms outstretched, your blood thickening the dust below.

I look at what they've already done to you… and feel no pity. It's not enough – it can never be enough.

A soldier steps up to your cross, spear in hand… I wonder if its point is as sharp as the one that pinned me to the wall that night.

I won't close my eyes this time, either.

I believe you are the Saviour of Israel – but you have not borne my sorrows… you have brought them.

I believe you are the Messiah -- but what is that to me?

  • Susan reads Psalm 23:4-5 and leads in a guided offertory prayer

Eating With the Enemy:  A Journey Maundy Thursday Prayer

Reader: Father, I don’t really want to harm my enemy, but I don’t want to be anywhere close to them either. Wouldn’t it just be better for everyone concerned if I moved to another county… or country… or solar system?
Journey: “You prepare a banquet for me in the presence of my enemies.”
Reader:  I’m not sure you are listening, Lord. The point is that if I am in the same room with these people, something bad is going to go down. It is not that I can’t control my anger, but they make accusations, they tell lies about me, they hide behind trumped up charges to make my life miserable, and a man or a woman can only take so much.
Journey: “You have heard it said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
Reader: This is exactly what I mean when I say you are not listening. Enemies don’t want to be loved; they don’t expect to be loved. As a matter of fact, loving them messes everything up. I don’t get the benefit of having a target for my misplaced anger, and they don’t have someone who will play the victim game with them. I can’t imagine how I’d replace the energy and rush you get by having a person to dump your garbage on.
Journey: “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword…”
Reader: Okay, that part I get. I can lay down the sword, but must I pray for them? Must I sit down and eat at the same table? Are you suggesting that my enemies are men and women just like me?
Journey: “For if you love only those who love you, how does that help the world? There are lots of folks who are not terribly religious who manage to do better than that. You are held to a higher standard of love. You are called to love when it is difficult… when it hurts… when it does not make any sense. You are called to love as God loves.”
Together: Father, it is easier to relegate those we have difficulty with or disagree with to faceless, nameless people without families or issues or longings and desires. May we love our enemies, just as you loved equally the brother and the betrayer, the disciple and the deny-er, the friend and the foe, the trusted and the traitor. Help us to trust that you are at work in all men and women -- even men and women like me…
And all of Journey said AMEN!

Telling The Story and Our Story

  • Rick talks
  • Rick encourages the community to visit the four stations to begin walking in the steps of Christ as he faces his impending death and sacrifice at the hands of traitors and enemies

We Go Out to Serve with Mercy and Grace

  • Andrew Peterson’s “The Silence of God” (lyrics on the screen) plays as the candles are progressively extinguished and the room darkens
  • David prays and we exit in silence

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