Welcome to St Chad’s Church for this reflection on Jesus’ Passion and Crucifixion. This year, we are using the symbols of the Passion to help us get into the story, the material objects that were part of that Good Friday.
Each table or station represents a different Symbol of Jesus’ Passion. Walk around at your own pace. You will find a number of resources to help you: poems, prayers, bible readings, other readings, images, active prayers, activities for children. Some things will interest you, others won’t. Use what you find helpful.
Don’t rush through the material – there is plenty of time. Take it slow and steady.
Read and reflect
Look and see
Make and do
Ponder and pray
Write comments and responses on the flip chart.
At 2.00pm we will go into church for the Liturgy of Good Friday. Do join us!
Thirty Pieces of Silver
Judas accepted 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus. After Jesus was crucified, he repented and threw the money back at the Temple authorities. This has now become a metaphor of betrayal.
Kit: 30 x 10p coins
How do you place a value on a life?
- The price paid for a wanted man?
- A horrendously expensive treatment for someone seriously ill
o Especially if they are a child?
- Compensation for a loved one killed in an accident
o Or permanently disabled?
- The bonus for a banker?
- Changes in benefits that mean a person cannot live without debt?
- The annual pay negotiations?
We constantly measure ourselves in monetary terms.
We constantly sell ourselves for money.
We could be Judas selling his one-time friend.
Lord, have mercy
Three times Peter denied that he knew Jesus. And then the cock crew.
Kit: chicken ornament
Imagine you were there, in the courtyard, waiting while Jesus faced the authorities.
Imagine that people started challenging you about your relationship with Jesus.
Most of us would deny him, like Peter did.
For all the times we turn away from you,
Lord, have mercy.
For the times when we do not recognise you in the face of a stranger,
Lord, have mercy.
For when it is more convenient not to know Jesus,
Lord, have mercy.
For the fear that takes over our hearts,
Lord, have mercy.
The Crown of Thorns
The soldiers plaited thorns together to make this cruel crown, a mockery of the king of heaven.
The soldiers put a red or purple robe on Jesus to mock him as “The King of the Jews”.
Robe and Crown of Thorns
The purple robe and the crown of thorns go together, because they were both part of the mocking and humiliation of Jesus during his trial. Sometimes, a reed is also included with these symbols as a kind of sceptre, a rod of power.
Think about the clothes we wear: our every day clothes, our special occasion clothes, uniforms we wear.
What we wear says something about who we are and what we aspire to be.
Sometimes we are different people in different places.
What were the soldiers saying about Jesus when they dressed him in a purple robe and crown of thorns?
(Purple was the royal colour)
They were mocking him for claiming to be the King of the Jews.
What kind of king was Jesus really?
Invite Jesus into the different parts of your life. Ask him to be king for you.
An instrument of torture has become the symbol of our salvation.
Kit: Holding crosses
Hold one of the holding crosses (which are specially shaped to fit comfortably into your hand) and say the Jesus prayer at least 10 times:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Like the nails, the hammer is not mentioned in the biblical accounts of the crucifixion, but is often shown in art, on the grounds that the soldiers must have used to tool to drive in the nails.
The nails are not actually mentioned in the Bible stories of the crucifixion, though Thomas does refer to the imprint of the nails in John’s Gospel. There is archaeological evidence of nails being used in crucifixion, certainly for the feet of the victim, though another school of thought is that the victims were tied to the cross. In art, nails are used to pin Jesus to the cross.
Hammer and Nails
The Hammer and the Nails go together, because they are both instruments of the crucifixion.
Hammer a nail into the wood, and think about how it might have felt to be one of the soldiers on execution duty that day.
Vinegar or sour wine comes into the story of the crucifixion in two places:
- When the soldiers are mocking Jesus, they give him bitter wine to drink, but he rejects it after tasting it (Matthew)
- When Jesus is close to death, he is given vinegar on a sponge to drink.
It is not clear whether the offer of vinegar is meant to add to Jesus’ suffering or to help him.
Kit: jug of water, cider vinegar, plastic cups,
Pour yourself some water and add a few drops of cider vinegar. In this form, it is good for you and very refreshing.
- Imagine being given something nasty to drink when people are making fun of you.
- Imagine how thirsty Jesus was as he hung on the cross and think how he might have felt when they gave him vinegar to drink.
The sponge was used to pass sour wine up to Jesus as he was hanging on the cross. Whether this was meant for his comfort, or as another torment, is not clear.
We use mouth sponges for people who are dying, to moisten their mouths and help them be more comfortable.
Kit: sponge, mouth sponges
Sponge and Vinegar
The sponge and vinegar go together, because they were both part of the offering of a sour drink to Jesus while he hung on the cross.
Pilate had a sign put on the cross saying “The King of the Jews” in three languages, giving Jesus the Title (or Titulus in Latin). Was he being ironic, mocking Jesus? Or was he poking fun at the Jews, saying this is the kind of king you’re good for? It was certainly not meant kindly, but still, there was a truth in it that Pilate wouldn’t realise.
Kit: Picture of Jesus, cards with possible titles, blank cards, pens
What title would you give to Jesus? People have used many different titles over the years. Look at the titles on the cards, and see which ones make sense to you. Or write your own title for Jesus on one of the blank cards.
You can also use the worksheet to write down your Title for Jesus. You can take this home with you so that you can go on thinking about it.
The dice themselves are not mentioned in the stories of the crucifixion, but we are told that the soldiers drew lots for Jesus’ clothes – so the dice are assumed.
Kit: Game, Dice, counters or player pieces
Play the Dice Game on the board – you can play on your own, but it is better to play with someone else.
One of the soldiers pierced Jesus with a spear, as a way of checking whether he was dead or alive. Water and blood flowed from the wound.
Kit: toy spear, crucifix, pens, spearhead slips
When someone or something hurts us, it can feel like we have been pierced or stabbed.
If you are remembering times when you have been hurt, write them down on a piece of paper – just a word or two that reminds you about the incident – and place the paper at the foot of the cross. That way you are putting your hurt and pain before Jesus who cares about our suffering.
Kit: Ladder, Stones
The ladder doesn’t appear in the Biblical accounts, but is often shown in pictures of the deposition from the cross, when the body of Jesus is taken down.
What sorrow it must have been to lift the body down! Art images of this are full of sorrow.
What are your sorrows just now? Take a stone for each of your sorrows and lay it/them at the foot of the ladder, where Mary knelt beside the body of her dead son.