Creative Approaches to all things Easter
Easter is a wonderful time in the life of the Church.
It is a period of reflection and teaching, as well as an opportunity for invitation and reaching into the communities in which we live, work and serve.
A Little Radiance
One Word makes the difference to the world sin-bound,
Causes the drab of all things yesterday
To be transformed within the radiant glory
Of the Word Made Life.
Yesterday was shrouded in darkness,
Hope eradicated from life by Death.
And Death came creeping with self satisfied stealth
To weave a desolation which he began to call 'victory'.
But today the Word has declared Life!
Life in fullest fullness
Has shaken free from futile cords that bound His feet
And burst, unstoppable, from
the Death-dark confines of yesterday.
Glory radiates a beam from His head and hands,
His feet and side.
His gentle words triumphant,
as 'it is finished' reveals the Truth:
Death's victory is but a flickering memory.
Now; Glorious Life with solid and certain
Hope breathes His power.
One Word, of Life poured out,
of finished business with sin-bound we,
Walks toward you on glorious feet,
So to, with his whole hands,
hold you to his beautiful side and
Place his radiant brow upon your own
in a gesture of infinite intimacy.
A little radiance begins to emanate
As you light up and begin to glow with Today's promise
Of Life's sweet delight in you
And the assurance that this Victory
is of immeasurable importance.
April 15th 2012
You come from the busy-ness of home
Or the peace of the garden
To reflect on the Gift of Love
That is Good Friday.
You have shouted praises and welcomed your king.
You have cleared the temple
Taught and been taught…
You have broken bread and tasted wine,
Been promised “new covenant”.
He has washed your feet as you submitted your pride
To let him cleanse you, refresh you.
You felt the cool water rinse away
The dirt of the many roads
On which you have walked.
You went with him to the Garden;
Sleepy from a long week…
And the balm of a warm evening
Lulled your senses.
He prayed – you rested.
He held the potential salvation of the world
In the palm of his hand
As he wrestled with will and self
To do God’s will.
You were horrified at his arrest:
Eager to fight to save him.
Then, following at a distance,
You wept as they took him away.
You heard Peter’s denial.
You listened to the cockerel’s crow.
You saw Pilate wash his hands
As the crowd cried; “Barabbas!”
And so to Calvary.
You watch in agony as you follow
The way of the Cross.
Pity fills your heart as he falls through physical weakness
And again as Simon takes it up and
All the way to Golgotha
To the place of the skull.
He is bruised: black and blue;
His body covered with marks of punishment…
To head and feet and hands, new wounds are given
In cold nail and crown of thorn.
Will you stand and watch your Lord’s last breath?
Can you bear to witness the agony of the rise and fall of his chest?
The agony of sin which bears down upon him?
The will that Loves to stay upon that cross?
Will you watch?
You come from the busy-ness of home
Or the peace of the garden;
A disciple’s pilgrimage to the foot of the cross.
He cries out; “It is finished!”
A cry victorious…
And you know.
‘There was no other
©Catherine Hutton 2003
Trust me when I tell you to Go-
Trust me when I tell you to Go-
As when I sent the Disciples to the town
To bring the donkey and her foal
For My journey to Jerusalem.
Go and pray before you start
Your day, your journey, your given task.
You go in strength when you go
In the Spirit and the Father’s power.
I will go ahead of you
and meet the challenges to My will to go.
I go to meet the kiss of betrayal and endure illegal trial
I go to bear a brutal beating,
mockery and condemnation.
I go– abandoned by closest friends
To carry the cross to the criminal’s hill.
I go to take your sin and shame,
Your guilt and fear upon My heart
And. For you. I go.
I go to die.
With every dying breath, I know I go,
Under the weight of sin and shame
Down, down away from My God who loves Me
Into the very depths of hell
I go– but I do not stay
I go to hell where My innocence and My willingness to die shake off the sin and leave it there.
Hell and Death have no hold on Me–
So I go.
I go to greet Mary on Easter morning
I go and walk with friends and talk with brothers.
I go to My Father and send My Spirit
And because I go:
I send you to Go in My name
And with My authority
To preach the Good News and reveal My Father’s glory.
I am with you because I know
That to go where I send is often lonely-
So know that your church is also your family
As together you go with Me to do My work.
So Go in My Name, in the Power of the Spirit to live and work to God’s Praise and Glory.
© Catherine Hutton 2012
Who will Stand?
Will you walk His walk of shame before the scrutiny of all the world?
Will you surrender your very will to live - to Father God’s disposal?
Will you stand when others run away; Speak Truth when all else lie?
And mean it when you pray the prayer
‘Thy will be done – Thy Kingdom come’?
Will you walk His walk of shame, surrender willingness and stand
As strong as the Cross of Christ stood tall on Calvary?
(The shame of all to Crucify – to kill God’s Son;
Kill God incarnate – Holy One?)
Will you walk His walk of shame when others choose to leave Him?
Will you surrender safety to linger in His gaze;
To look upon the Cross of Christ,
To accept the love of He who hangs there;
“Take care of my mother …”
“Be with me today in Paradise …”
“Father forgive, for they know not what they do …?”
And will you stand before Him as the sun is blotted out;
As the sky turns to thick, cold blackness,
As the Temple curtain tears, and the Holy Place is opened –
As time itself is altered by the Death of the One who speaks its rhythm
And blood and water flow from His open side
Into the parched and barren earth?
This question demands today’s response –
Whom will you follow?
For whom will you stand?
Today is Crown of Thorns, wine vinegar, mocking criminals and piercing nails.
Today the women weep and John looks on, a protective arm around His mother.
Today is decision:
Will myriad, myriad angels take Him from the Cross before He dies?
Or will He resist? Persist in Death to overcome its nature?
Today is decision: The way of the Cross or the way of the World?
Will you walk with Him?
Will you stand with Him?
Catherine Hutton 5-4-07
The Priory, Lindisfarne
I don’t want to dwell on Good Friday
Because those few hours of pain make no sense to me:
That God who is Perfect Love
Should leave splendour and awe and heavenly realm
To walk in dust, wear crown of thorns,
Be beaten and hung upon the cross
Hated and despised, To Die.
To look too hard upon Good Friday
Will shine a light upon my soul
And find it bruised and scarred by sin,
Made unlovely and broken by the things I’ve done
And those things done to me
Of which I never speak.
To look too hard upon Good Friday draws me in
To search the depths inside me,
To let Good Friday touch my hidden places of
Sorrow and Pain, Personal Agony and Fear-
And to let His Love that takes it all
Unclip the long-held hurts
Unhook the secret sin and shame
Unzip the cache of guarded guilt.
I don’t want to dwell upon Good Friday
As Jesus hung and died upon the cross,
Nor see him die my sinner’s death
To feel the searing separation of his Father’s wrath.
Cry real tears upon Good Friday!
And grieve for this great loss,
That it cost Perfect Love to die
For you to be forgiven-
Your heart be unclipped from all it held
Your spirit be restored to purity
Your soul be washed, made new, by Jesus’ blood.
And when you have dwelt for long enough
Under the shadow of the Cross’s grace
And have let it do its eternal work within you-
Then you may live in the Glory of Easter
Knowing that the answer to your question is
© Catherine Hutton
20th March 2012
More Than …
Easter is more than …
More than eggs and chicks and bunnies;
More than chocolate eggs for breakfast –
More than slightly queasy tummies.
Easter begins with Jesus
Fitted up for a crime he’d not done;
Being brutally beaten and tortured
And abandoned by all ‘cept his mum.
He was stripped to his ‘barest essentials’
And his body was bleeding and sore …
He was forced to carry his Death-Cross
To the place where they’d settle the score.
And there, he was mocked, he was laughed at –
There a Crown made of Thorns tore his head,
It was there that they hammered the nails in –
There they crucified Christ ‘til his death.
Easter is more than …
More than a Cross on a hill long time past
More than Grave, more than Death, more than Crying,
Easter is Love that will last.
Easter begins with Jesus:
Grave-clothes left folded, Stone gone!
He is walking with friends in the garden
He is Risen! God’s victory won!
© Catherine Hutton
Palm Sunday Meditation…
There is a buzz of excitement and every one is there.
Friends greeting each other and a tangible sense of anticipation.
Jesus is calm and in control,
with the knowledge of the un-ridden colt already given to his disciples,
preparations have been made, the time is come…
The journey begins.
As Jesus urges the colt onwards, the crowd submit to his kingship.
Cloaks are thrown on the road.
See yourself there, what will you lay down before your king?
What item of security will you yield up to the Lord of Lords, the Son of David?
Jesus has no fear, no self-consciousness as he travels the road.
The people salute him as they stand with joyful hearts,
waving banners or branches and crying “hosanna!”
See yourself step forward from the crowd
to place your precious thing before Christ
and submit yourself to his kingship,
then go… cut a branch and wave it in joy.
Your attention is drawn to the donkey.
A beast too small for a king.
The proportions are almost laughable… This is no war-horse:
The King comes, proclaiming peace among the nations.
Watch him ride into a place of warfare…
Iraq… Zimbabwe… Jerusalem… Northern Ireland… Bringing Peace.
This is a lowly, a kingly act… Not a loud, brash triumphalism.
A king of reserved power and control.
This is God Incarnate
and the crowd recognise his solemn, quiet greatness
as he approaches his City of Promise.
They go with him to the Temple…
There is much noise…
But he will not be swept along.
How many of these will be crying under the cross?
We pause to reflect on our obedience to God.
Re-place ourselves before him and under his authority.
Discipleship means following all the way.
As Jesus turns back towards Bethany,
we look past this moment to the moment of the cross
and discover Mary and Salome,
and many of the women who had followed Jesus to Jerusalem.
Only the foreign voice of the centurion is male,
admitting Jesus as Son of God.
These women have loved much,
been forgiven much…
How far will you follow him?
© Catherine Hutton
What’s Your Excuse?
It was the day of the Passover and Jesus had sent some of his disciples ahead of him to the upper room, where they had made everything ready.
After making the preparations, these disciples were tired, for it had been a long day’s walk and sorting out the room had been hard work.
Jesus arrived, and as they were reclining at the table, he called for a bowl of water, stripped to the waist and, after wrapping a towel around him, turned to wash his disciples’ feet.
He began with Peter; “Lord! Do not wash my feet…” He said, feeling guilty for he had not thought of washing feet… only the lowest servant did that.
But Jesus was insistent.
“I must wash you, or you will have no part with me.”
Peter, overcome, (and over-enthusiastically) relented and begged Jesus to give him a ‘good wash’. Jesus smiled and blessed Peter for, although he was eager, he still missed the point.
“You are clean” Jesus told him. “But walking along the dirty roads of life means that you need refreshing.” He took Peter’s feet and lovingly washed and dried them.
Moving round, he washed James and of course, John was there also.
But when Jesus turned to wash the rest of his disciples, he found that they were not there. The water was hardly dirty, Jesus was still on his knees, his hands dripping.
“Peter!” He exclaimed, “Where are the others?”
“Well…” Came the reply, “The ones you sent ahead to make the preparations were tired and needed to get away early. Two others saw that their local chariot-racing team were on at the track, and this result is crucial to their place in the League. Nathaniel has friends in town so three went with him to meet them; they thought they wouldn’t miss much tonight…”
And one by one, each person’s absence was, plausibly, explained away.
So Jesus got up, pulled off the towel, poured away the water and got dressed.
“Unless I wash you,” he said, “You have no part with me.”