Were you there? A meditation for Good Friday 2015

Were you there?

We sometimes sing, ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’

Were you there?

Pilate was there, trying to work out what to do to keep the crowd quiet. They say that politics is the art of the possible. Pilate merely looked for the way of least resistance.

Barabbas was there, who had been arrested during an uprising. He was on death row, but that day he couldn’t believe his luck. They were letting him go and getting rid of someone else.

Were you there?

Simon of Cyrene was there, a passer by from the place we call Libya, possibly a black man. He was made to carry Jesus’ cross; Jesus was too weak after his flogging.

Other passers by taunted him, along with those who were crucified with him. Even the priests joined in. Jesus was the scum of the earth.

Were you there?

A centurion was there, who would have supervised the operation. When he saw how this worm of a man died, this prisoner who had not even defended himself died, he said

Truly this man was God’s Son!

Were you there?

And there were women there, standing at a distance. These were women including Mary Magdalene who had followed him and provided for him when he was in Galilee. There were other women too, who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

The men had gone. Peter had denied him, Judas had betrayed him, the rest were in hiding.

Were you there?

There is room for all of us there, even if we weren’t born at the right time to be ‘there’. We are there represented by the politically expedient, the onlooker dragged in, or by those who jeer and mock.

Or perhaps we identify more with the women, who watched from a distance. Or the men, who were cowards or much worse.

Maybe we see ourselves in the centurion, who saw the truth too late but could also begin to make sense of what he had seen.

Were you there? Are you there? There’s room for you there because God is there. God is in the Saviour who died for you, and invites you to find in Jesus the love, the forgiveness, the grace and the peace of God.

Let us sing: Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

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