Daily Reflection 7th April

The way is hard

We begin this morning’s message in prayer, given last night’s news that the Prime Minister has been moved into Intensive Care. The reflection below seems even more appropriate, and we offer it as we pray for Boris Johnson, all who are gravely ill and those who are caring for them.

We began our Holy Week reflections with the image of a bridge, inviting us to travel from darkness into light. This comes at a time when darkness overshadows the whole earth. We are rightly disturbed by our news and harrowing accounts of suffering.

As the Queen said in her recent speech to the nation, ‘better days will come again’. Yes. But this morning we pause to acknowledge that the journey ‘to the other side’ of the bridge is not easily undertaken. The way is hard. As we approach Good Friday, Judy Williams from St. Mary’s (Caerhun), challenges the familiar image we may have of Jesus on the Cross.

The Naked Christ
The Naked Christ by Michele Coxon
~
This sculpture was controversial when it first went on display in St. Asaph Cathedral and it still has the power to shock. It is raw, graphic and skeletal, not how we are used to seeing the Crucifixion depicted. Renaissance artists would have painted a more acceptable picture, with the body of Christ not so disfigured and his nakedness partly covered with a cloth for modesty.
 
Michele Coxon’s thought-provoking work of art is closer to what Isaiah prophesied in Chapter 53:-
 
‘He had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.’
 
Isaiah 53: 2b-3
~
It is also closer to the reality of what Jesus endured. Crucifixion was cruel, the cruellest form of execution Romans could inflict at the time. But Isaiah goes on to proclaim why this suffering would be necessary. Not only would Jesus be physically marred, but also spiritually crushed as our transgressions, our sins and the sins of the whole world, were laid upon him in our place.
 
‘Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.’
Isaiah 53: 4-5
 

Like this sculpture, the Gospel isn’t comfortable, palatable or easily digested. It rightly disturbs, challenges, demands an answer and invites faith. We pray this morning, for all those who are travelling through the darkness of suffering: physically, emotionally and spiritually. We do this in the knowledge that the one to whom we cry out, has been there before us. For us. And so we travel on through Holy Week. 


Ef ei hun a ddygodd ein pechodau yn ei gorff ar y croesbren, er mwyn i ni ddarfod â’n pechodau a byw i gyfiawnder. Trwy ei archoll ef y cawsoch iachâd.
1 Pedr 2: 24
 
He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 
1 Peter 2: 24

Gweddi
Aglwydd Iesu, mae’r ddelwedd ohonat ti yn cael dy groeshoelio a diddef ar y groes
yn ormod i’w angyffred ac yr rhy anodd  i’w ddeall.
Diolchwn ym dy gariad amhrisiadwy tra ar y groes,
ac am y rhyddid y rhoddaist i ni am ein pechodau;
y ti a farwodd ac wedyn atgyfodi er mwyn i ni gael bywyd tragwyddol. 
Yr oen perffaith yn aberth perffaith.
‘Rydym yn cydnabod ein dyled o ddiolch;
dyro gymorth i ni bob amser i dderbyn yr anrheg o fywyd tragwyddol trwy dy aberth.
Yn enw ein Harglwydd a Gwaredwr, Iesu Grist.  Amen.
 
Prayer 
Lord Jesus, the image of you hanging and suffering in agony on the cross for us
is almost too much to comprehend and too hard for us to bear.
We thank you for your inestimable love for us that kept you hanging there.
and for the freedom you bought for us in the atonement for sins;
you died and rose again that we might live,
the perfect lamb of God became the perfect sacrifice.
We acknowledge our debt of gratitude,
help us always to receive that gift of everlasting life throughout your sacrifice.
In the name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.


 

Click here for previous daily reflections from our Ministry Team.

bro-celynnin-black

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