The Crown of Thorns - a plant most appropriate for Good Friday. The thorns are sharp and it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to get an impression of the pain that would be caused by a ring of this plant pressed into your head. The blood red flowers give a dramatic contrast to the dry vicious looking stems.
The crown of thorns seems to bloom most of the year but always it is at its best around Easter time.
For Good Friday it makes a good visual aid and reminder of one aspect of the pain that Jesus endured for us. "Wounded for our transgressions...."
It was a dull morning and the silhouette against the sky reflects the sombre mood of the day.
Some friends are in trouble today so I promised to "Light a Candle" for them. It is always a help to know that someone is praying for you. Every Wednesday we pray for a long list of folk who've asked for our prayers - I firmly believe that God hears and answers prayer. Often I find it helpful to focus when I light candles so this sand bowl sits on my table and is always ready for those times when I pray.
Candles featured at tonight's service - the last of our Holy Week series when the Presbyterians, the Methodists and the Anglicans gather to prepare for Easter. Friday night was Tenebrae - a reading of the Passion Narrative in gathering darkness. One by one the candles are extinguished and the lights go out in the church until, at the reading of the death, the last candle is put out. The drama and the story combine to make a powerful happening and, at the end, the people leave in silence.
This picture is from last year as I didn't manage to get one from this time.
Now, we wait. What must it have been like for those first followers of Jesus? We know the end of the story. We live on this side of resurrection. But they were living through it without knowing what was going to happen next.
Saturday is a waiting day. Waiting and watching and longing for the dawn.
For me it will include preparation for the Big Breakfast that follows the early service. How many sausages, how much bacon, what about eggs... tomatoes... beans... bread... coffee... especially when you don't know who will come! Some lessons from last year should help things to go even more smoothly.... we'll see! And if there's time, we'll photograph too!
Look with mercy on this your family
for which our Lord Jesus Christ
was content to be betrayed
and given up into the hands of sinners
and to suffer death upon the cross;
who is alive and glorified with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer
Collect of Good Friday