Spirit & Life

Hold Firmly to Where There is Grace

John 18:1-11 (18:12-19:42)
After Jesus had said this prayer, he left with his disciples and went across Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place, and Jesus and his disciples went in. Judas, the traitor, knew where it was, because many times Jesus had met there with his disciples. So Judas went to the garden, taking with him a group of Roman soldiers, and some Temple guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees; they were armed and carried lanterns and torches. 
Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward and asked them, “Who is it you are looking for?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered.
“I am he,” he said.
Judas, the traitor, was standing there with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they moved back and fell to the ground. Again, Jesus asked them, “Who is it you are looking for?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
“I have already told you that I am he,” Jesus said. “If, then, you are looking for me, let these others go.” (He said this so that what he had said might come true: “Father, I have not lost even one of those you gave me.”)
Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the High Priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear. The name of the slave was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back in its place! Do you think that I will not drink the cup of suffering which my Father has given me?”

Jesus’ call throughout his teaching resounds with holding firm to faith in God. Good Friday echoes injustice, suffering, hardship, affliction and trauma. Absurd and unfounded accusations, followed by unjust decisions result in harsh and violent outcomes, all due to humanity’s worst traits. This echoes the human story. Yet, Jesus acknowledged this, held firm to grace, suffered, walked with dignity, and acted with peace.
Today, we are called to acknowledge God’s truth, our humanity, and the outcomes of our sin-filled attitudes and actions. Jesus does. God’s grace meets us throughout our lives, when we are perpetrators and victims. It is we who must seek this. May we choose to walk Jesus’ way of truth, seek to act with humility and just peace, and hold firmly to where there is God’s grace.

Prayer of Confession
O God, O God,
Hear our prayer.

Focused on ourselves, we recreate the truth.
Our prejudice and fear cause distortion.
Silent personal prayer
We are so sorry that we do not see your Truth.
O God, hear our prayer.

Thinking without acknowledging our own weaknesses,
we interpret reality incorrectly.
Our decisions cause distress.
Silent personal prayer
We are so sorry that we do not see your Truth.
O God, hear our prayer.

Acting without consideration and understanding of others,
there are lasting implications and consequences.
Our actions cause hurt.
Silent personal prayer
We are so sorry that we do not see your Truth.
O God, hear our prayer.

Today, we hear again the tragedy and outcomes of our human frailties.
Friends’ and strangers’ choices, decisions and actions
Distorted Jesus’ life and ministry, rewrote reality,
With terrible consequences.
We too, fall into this way of being and living.
We are so sorry that we do not see your Truth.
O God, hear our prayer.

Silent personal prayer

Words of Assurance
Friends, grace is there in the midst of our living and being.
Turn to God with humility and honesty.
Face the reality that is, and let go of the distorted thinking.
Hold firmly to where there is grace and
act with Jesus’ way of honesty, justice and peace.

Prayer of Adoration and Thanksgiving
In the darkest times, where hope is fading,
You, O Gracious God, shine unexpected light.

Ever present, ever aware,
You, O God of Truth, reveal to us certainty.

Where judgement blinds us,
Grace opens us.
Where hardship knocks us,
Grace sustains us.
Where sorrow meets us,
Grace greets us.
Where injustice hampers us,
Grace redeems us.

Jesus, on this day, where horror and sorrow are fully revealed,
we thank you for the revelations and truth that your journey reveals.
May this be the day of insight and understanding, of honesty and hope,
Reveal truth to us again, so that we see your story.
May we hold firmly to where there is grace.

© Rev Anne Hewitt 13/04/2022
This reflection & prayer may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.

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