Friday, April 19, 2019

The Women at the Foot of the Cross: Good Friday Service at Community of St. Bridget in Cleveland, Ohio, Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP




Veronica

Gathering Song:  Be Not AfraidBob Dufford

You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.

Refrain:      Be not afraid.  I go before you always.
                  Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters, in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow’r of hell and death is at your side,
Know that I am with you through it all.  R

Blessed are your poor, for the kindom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked tongues insult and hate you all because of me,
Blessed, blessed are you!  R


(A candle is lit on the table for each reflection.  The table contains symbols of Palm Sunday (palms), Holy Thursday (bread) and Good Friday (rough wooden crucifix), along with fifteen candles.)

The First Reflection:  Condemnation

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospel of John is The Woman
Caught in Adultery (Jn 8:2-11)

Witness:     Jesus, here you stand condemned to die when you’ve done
 nothing wrong.  Yet when I was condemned for something I truly
 did, you stepped in and saved me from certain death.  How can I
 reconcile this kind of hateful bias unless I embrace the power of
 your love?  You named the truth for what it is outright, but not
 once did you condemn me.  Instead, you stood by my side and
 confronted my attackers face to face until not one was left.  You
 said to me to go my way and sin no more.  I could, because of
 your transforming love.  It gave me power to be complete within
 myself, and not rely on others for their deceptive “love.”  And so,
 even though Pilate has had his say and you’re condemned to die, I
 have to stay, stand by your side, and face the world outside.
Leader #2:   Women today live in a world that yet condemns.  They suffer at the
hands of those who would blame and denounce, rather than take
responsibility for their own lives.  Assailed themselves, they attack
back.  It is the way of the world in every family, institution,
community and nation on earth.  But it isn’t the way of the cross
or the women who stand tall, or bend low, and speak the truth in
love.  The world is full of these women too, women who on any
given day change their world.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life! 

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  With Jesus by our side, are we
willing to meet injustice head on, and yet “sin not” -- bringing to
life transforming love?

ALL:            Jesus, when I stand in the face of injustice in the world around
me, help me lay aside prejudice and the need to condemn. 
Strengthen me within so I make a stand and speak the truth in
love.



The Second Reflection:  Burdens

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospel of Luke is The Infirmed,
Crippled Woman (Lk 13:10-17)

Witness:     I stand here today tall and pain free except for the heart pain of
 seeing you bleeding and burdened with this heavy cross.  Your
 loving touch healed my body that had been bent with pain for 18
 years.  It was on a Sabbath and I had gone to the synagogue
 where you were teaching about love, as you often did.  You saw
 me and beckoned me up.  I was frightened because of the leaders
 who were present.  Your gentle voice calmed my fears.  When you
 laid your hand on my back I felt your love and healing
 immediately and I stood up straight.  The leaders were angry and
 told me I should come for healing on any day but the Sabbath. 
 Their cruel words did not affect me because of your compassion. 
 You reminded them that they untied their animals and gave them
 to drink on the Sabbath and how much more important was I, a
 daughter of Sarah and Abraham.

Leader #2:   There are many ways that women are crippled by the burdens they
bear today.  Some are burdens they inherit when others let them
down, or they are challenges they take on that become burdens. 
Sometimes our burdens come from religious institutions and their
leaders.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life! 

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Do we let our burdens cripple
us or lead us to resurrection?

ALL:            Jesus, when my life situation seems more than I can bear, lay your
hand upon my fears and give me courage to walk towards
resurrection.



The Third Reflection:  Courage

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospels of Mark and Matthew
is The Canaanite Woman (Mk 7:24-30; Mt 15:21-18)

Witness:     Jesus, as I see you fall to your knees under the weight of that
 heavy wooden cross, your body beaten and broken, my heart  
 aches that I can’t help you the way you helped my daughter.  That
 day when I fell to my knees at your feet and said, “Have mercy on
 me and my daughter for she is possessed by a demon,” you could
 have ignored me.  I was a Gentile, a Greek, a Canaanite by
 religion, a pagan to the Jews, a foreigner to their culture, despised
 as an outsider.  Your disciples tried to push me out of the way. 
 But a mother cannot be deterred from getting help for her child. 
 You saw my faith; you were moved by my courage to speak to you
 directly.  You healed my daughter that day.  It didn’t matter to you
 that I was a foreigner.  Your mission included all people of faith. 
 And here you are today, an outsider, despised and ridiculed, but
 giving your life for what you believe, for what we can become.

Leader #2:   Who are our sick daughters today?  The outcasts?  The despised? 
They are women like Jeanne, a daughter recovering from
prostitution and drug abuse, with needle marks up and down her
beautiful arms.  A recovering daughter who lives sober and drug
free for the first time in many years.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life! 

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Can we recognize the sick
daughters today, and do we have the courage to risk ridicule,
rejection and embarrassment in order to help them?

ALL:            Jesus, give me the Canaanite woman’s courage to speak up for the
voiceless, to comfort the afflicted, to be reminded that we are called
to live a Gospel of inclusiveness.



The Fourth Reflection:  A Mother’s Love

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from Luke, Matthew, Mark, John and Acts is
Mary, the Mother of Jesus. (Lk 1:26-56; 2:1-52; 8:19-21; Mt 1:18-25; 2:1-
23; 12:46-50; 13:53-58; Mk 3:31-35; 6:1-6; Jn 2:1-12; 19:25-27; Acts 1:14)

Witness:     Here I am, beyond words, a lifetime of mothering come to this
heart rendering end!  The years flash across my mind and I
remember Simeon in the temple telling me that pain will pierce
through my soul like a sword.  Is this how I am to be blessed
among women, bursting the God-news, dancing to the song of my
God?  I did not always understand, that day in the temple when he
was twelve, or in the synagogue when he turned me and his
siblings away, as he defined your will.  How am I to understand
now?  Has a lifetime of pondering your ways come to this?  Must it
be that this is how you strike the root of evil, my son on the cross? 
How now do I rejoice in God?  Whatever does it mean that John
will be my son and me his mother?

Leader #2:   Countless women in the world today have had to bear the death of
their sons and daughters in an unjust world.  Women on every
continent, of every color and faith!  Yet how often they go on
confronting injustice wherever they find it—beyond war, violence,
addiction, and hate—to work for peace and for love in their world
and ours.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Are we willing to bear the crosses in our lives, allowing God to confront evil, agreeing to endure?

ALL:            Jesus, as Mary mothered you, so she mothers me.  Help me to ponder all of life, continuing with a mother’s love, no matter what the pain.  Give me the strength to join women everywhere who confront evil and work for peace.


The Fifth Reflection:  Women’s Gifts

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospels of Luke and Mark is Joanna.
(Lk 8:1-3; 24:1-25; Mk 15:21)

Witness:     I am Joanna and I have traveled with Jesus for many miles helping
him wherever I could.  How I want to help him now!  He has been
so badly beaten and is in so much pain.  I see that the Roman guards have ordered a bystander to help.  This man does not seem to know who Jesus is and he reluctantly comes forward.  Jesus looks deeply at him and is saying something.  The man seems amazed and willingly takes the cross.  I will never forget the first time Jesus looked at me.  I was curious to hear him since my husband had told me many stories of the happenings at Herod’s palace where he is a steward.  Herod was interested in John the Baptizer and in Jesus.  Jesus was preaching nearby and I went.  He spoke in a way that gave us all comfort and hope.  Afterwards I passed him and he looked at me and I felt loved.  I cannot explain it more clearly, but I have been helping him ever since.

Leader #2:   Like the Romans who had power over the Jews, many men feel
they have power over women because of false beliefs that women
are weaker and in need of protection.  Most often, women are
discounted because their gifts and talents are not recognized.  Yet,
these gifts are needed in the world today more than ever. 

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Have we identified our gifts and
talents and are we using them in service to others?

ALL:            Jesus, help me to see in myself the gifts I can use to help others,
and help me always to encourage others in their efforts.




The Sixth Reflection:  Compassion

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from scriptural times is Veronica.

Witness:     I didn’t really know you Jesus.  I was just on my way home when I
saw a crowd and heard a commotion.  The Roman soldiers were
everywhere.  I pushed through the crowd to see what was going on. 
There you were.  Tortured looking.  Blood trickling down your face
from the crown of thorns pressed on your head.  Your body covered
with open wounds from the beating.  Instinctively, I took the veil
from my head and stepped forward to wipe the sweat and blood
from your face.  Our eyes met for that moment.  The march of
death stopped for an instant.  And I saw the face of God in you.  As
I stepped away, there was your image on my veil—forever a
reminder that God can be found in the human face.

Leader #2:   Most women lead ordinary lives.  We go about our daily business,
following our usual routines, like Veronica on her way home.  But
sometimes we are instinctively moved to respond, to reach out, to
do what seems ordinary to us, but is extraordinary in the eyes of
someone in need.  We don’t always realize the effect of a kind word,
a smile, a hug, a touch.  Each time our eyes meet another’s, we see
the face of God.  We turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Do we seek the face of God in
everyone that we meet each day?  Can we make an ordinary
moment extraordinary by reaching out to touch the face of God in
another?

ALL:            Jesus, you have said “Seek my face.”  My heart responds: “It is your
face that I seek.”  Let my acts of love impress the true image of
Jesus on my heart.  Let me see the face of God in all human faces,
especially the bloodied and the bruised.










The Seventh Reflection:  Endurance

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospel of Luke is The Widow of Nain.
                  (Lk 7: 11-17)

Witness:     O Jesus, I am stunned to the core by the paradox of today.  In
Nain you reached out to me, a widow, about to bury my only son. 
Your heart was broken, and you told me not to cry.  Then you bid
my son, dead in the coffin, to rise.  When he began to speak, you
handed him over to me and all who were there praised God,
knowing they were standing on holy ground.  They shouted how
God was back, tending to our needs.  So where are you today,
God?  How is it that Jesus who raised my son from the dead is
about to leave his widow mother to bury her firstborn son? 
Instead of handing back her son, Jesus hands his mother now to
John.  Today you do not tell me not to cry! How did it come to this?

Leader #2:   We live in a world of paradox.  Every woman alive has faced this
dilemma—living in a world of light and darkness.  Life brings joy,
and life brings sorrow!  Still, women of faith have always lived in a
tension, through the depth of pain into the joy of light and day. 
This woman doesn’t hide, but walks the path of life as it is.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Are we willing to accept life on
life’s terms, and bring to all of it our faith, which carries the force
to move mountains?

ALL:            Jesus, in a world not yet fully in kinship with the Divine, when I
encounter pain and death, help me choose life!














The Eighth Reflection:  Sorrow

Leader #1:   The Women Witnesses from the Gospel of Luke are The Daughters
of Jerusalem. (Lk 23: 26-31)  

Witness:     We are many women gathered together in our sorrow.  Jesus looks
on us and says “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but
weep for yourselves and for your children.”  He believed in us and
healed us and recognized our gifts.  A great injustice is happening
now.  An innocent man has been found guilty for telling the truth. 
We are helpless to stop the slaughter.  We weep and we are
tormented to the very center of our being. Where is our hope now?

Leader #2:   We women still weep at the loss of innocence.  We weep for
children who are abandoned or exposed to cruel and harsh
environments and teenagers left to fend for themselves with no
guidance.  We women still weep over injustice.  Women who work
long hours for less pay than men and make up a greater
proportion of the poor.  Women who are victims of a patriarchal
system that misuses power to control by edict and regulation—a
system that does not invite women to participate as fully as they
are capable.  We women still weep when people are so easily killed
in the name of religion, war and prejudice.

ALL:            We are an Easter People.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  When we weep and are
tormented to the very center of our being, where do we find hope?

ALL:            Jesus, when injustice and acts of cruelty weigh heavy on my heart,
please give me the strength and vision to open myself to you and to
new possibilities.













The Ninth Reflection:  Women’s Witness

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospel of John is The Samaritan
Woman at the Well.  (Jn 4: 1-42)

Witness:     The pain of falling the third time must be excruciating.  My only
consolation is that I know you are the Holy One, offering hope and
new life.  You told me that day by the well when you were passing
through Samaria going from Southern Judea to Galilee with your
disciples.  They went off to buy food and I came to the well to draw
water.  You were sitting there and you asked me for a drink.  Me, a
woman, a Samaritan, divorced five times, living with man not my
husband.  You amazed me with what you knew without my telling
you.  I understood what you meant when you said you were the
living water.  I dropped my water jug and went to tell the others in
my village.  They listened to me and believed, too. I don’t
understand why you have to suffer like this, but I do have faith
that you are the hope and life that we long for.

Leader #2:   There are women today who are called to be leaders in their
communities, proclaiming Gospel freedom and equality in ways
that will liberate and heal us from the bondage of sexism and
patriarchy.  Jesus reminds us that social acceptability and rule
keeping is not what true religion is all about.  Just like he filled the
Samaritan woman with the ‘living water” of faith and joyful
enthusiasm, he will do the same for us today.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Do we believe that women are
called to be messengers of Gods’ love, to be leaders in our church?

ALL:            Jesus, give me a heart willing to love and serve others.  Help me to
accept that no matter how sinful or broken my life may be, God may
be calling me to be a messenger of Divine Love, as a leader in our
church.









The Tenth Reflection:  Forgiveness

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospel of Luke is The Woman Who
Anointed Jesus’ Feet.  (Lk 7: 36-50)

Witness:     Here I am, weeping yet again, but now because I see you hanging
on this tree.  But why?  That night I knew you were at the table at
the Pharisee’s house, I came in weeping with some ointment in an
alabaster flask, and you allowed my tears to fall upon your feet.  I
wiped them with my hair and kissed your feet, and then anointed
them.  It was because of my much-loving that you forgave my sins. 
You praised my faith and set me free so I could to in peace.  And
now, here you are yourself the one upon the cross, yet once again
forgiving all of them because they know not what they do.  Is this
the cost of love—to know the truth and still forgive and be
forgiven?  Is this the way to peace?

Leader #2:   Still today, it is the women who have been forgiven much who love
much!  They have come to accept their humanity for what it is, a
work in progress, not yet complete.  With this faith and
understanding, they “let go and let God” to heal the other.  Thus
forgiven as they forgive, they stand in resurrection power.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Are we willing to let our hearts
be broken to the point where we are prepared to forgive and be
forgiven?

ALL:            Jesus, Abba God has made it very clear— “forgive us as we forgive
one another.”  Help me, O God, even through tears, to forgive from
the heart, and to accept your forgiveness.













The Eleventh Reflection:  Trusting the God Within

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospel of Matthew is Pilate’s Wife.
                  (Mt 27: 15-26)

Witness:     I had a dream last night after Pilate told me about the unrest
among the Jewish leaders.  It was so vivid and disturbed me
greatly.  This man, Jesus, is a good man and has done nothing to
stir the people to revolt.  Why do they hate such a man?  All I have
heard about him is that he preaches to the people who seem to
love him.  I have heard of stories that he is able to heal people. 
There seems to be so much hatred on the part of the Roman and
Jewish leaders.  I do not understand why this is happening and I
fear for my husband.  He was such a strong man but he could not
stand up to the crowds incited by those in power.  What will
become of this tragic event?

Leader #2:   Men, and some women, caught up in the patriarchal system do not
recognize the value of women’s insights, knowledge, and even
wisdom.  Often women themselves doubt and fear to follow what is
deep in their hearts.  They have been so acculturated to believe
that only men and those in recognized positions of authority speak
truth.  God revealed to Pilate’ wife the true nature of Jesus.  She
suffered doubt and eventually spoke truth to her husband in hopes
of saving this righteous man.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Do we search our inner most
beliefs and trust the truth we find there to lead us to reveal the
true Christ?

ALL:            Jesus, give me the grace to recognize the promptings of the Spirit
within me and the courage to act from inner conviction.











The Twelfth Reflection:  Servant Leadership

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospel of Matthew is The
Mother of Zebedee’s sons, James and John.  (Mt 2:30-23; 27:55-56)

Witness:     O Jesus, I saw you look up to the heavens as you breathed your
last breath on that cross.  It’s 3 pm. and it looks like night.  The
earth is trembling and feels like it is breaking apart.  Many are running away in fear.  You told my sons, James and John, that you would be betrayed and killed.  But how could this really happen to our only hope for whom we have been waiting?  I remember when I asked you to give my sons places of honor in your kindom.  I didn’t understand when you told them that those in authority must be like the least among them, like those who serve.  You told us how the godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads.  You warned my sons that they could not do that.  You said “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.”  Today you are the ultimate servant, giving your life in exchange for many who are held hostage.

Leader #2:   Women by instinct and tradition are servant leaders.  Women
know how to nurture others, to express their care for others, to
share their power, to work cooperatively, to build consensus, to
lead by serving.  This is often considered a weakness in the
patriarchal societies of business and the church.  Women need to
be affirmed.  What are often considered their weaknesses are truly
their strengths and their strengths are sorely needed by the world
today.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know that Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Do we recognize that our
strengths are often portrayed as our weaknesses?  Are we willing to
be agents of transformation in our world?

ALL:            Jesus, help me to lead my life as a servant leader.  Help me to teach
others by my example to be servant leaders.  Help the leaders of our
church to be servant leaders in the spirit of Jesus Christ.






The Thirteenth Reflection:  Faith

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospel of Luke is Mary, the sister of
Martha.  (Lk 10: 38-42)

Witness:     Jesus, I never thought it would come to this, even though you tried
to warn us!  You told Martha when she complained to you, that I
had chosen the better portion.  She was distracted with her
serving, anxious and troubled about many things.  You promised what was mine would still remain.  Are you sure, Rabbi?  The day you raised my brother from the dead you said to us, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe, you’d see the glory of God?”  We did, and we believed!  So, where’s the glory now?  You wept yourself when you called Lazarus out from the tomb and told us to unbind him.  You said that you are the resurrection and the life!  I am confused!  You told us you were glad you were not there when he lay ill and dying.  You stayed away two extra days, so we’d believe.  Believe what, Rabbi?

Leader #2:   The world is still confusing, but when women of today stand strong
in faith, rooted in Abba’s love, they know God’s glory.  It may not
be in outcome, but they see and experience first-hand how God’s
presence transforms.  They allow that loving relationship with God
to permeate their daily lives.  They bring their being into their
doing, and Mary’s better portion prevails.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit that brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Are we willing to grow up in
Christ, to become integrated in both our Mary and our Martha
sides?

ALL:            Jesus, you’ve told us plainly—love never fails.  Whatever situation
life may bring, help me to bring to it your unfailing love.











The Fourteenth Station:  Empowerment

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospels of Mark and Matthew is The Woman who Anoints Jesus’ Head.  (Mk 14:3-9; Mt 26:6-13)

Witness:     His suffering is over finally.  I will always treasure his words to me
even though I was not sure what he meant.  He was at supper at
the house of Simon and I was helping prepare the meal.  An almost
overpowering feeling came over me and I went to get the alabaster
jar of ointment.  Entering the room, I only had eyes for Jesus.  I
felt I was being led by something greater than myself.  Breaking
the bottle open, I poured some of this beautiful ointment on his
head.  The men who were present objected but Jesus told them to
leave me alone, that I was doing what was in my power to do.  He
said I was anointing him for burial as if he knew he would die
soon.  I felt I was involved in a great mystery.  He surprised me
when he said that, wherever this story is told, what I had done
would be told in memory of me.  How did I know to anoint him? 
Deep in my heart I feel I was led by God to do this loving gesture.

Leader #2:   The women of today need to hear this and other stories of women
who were full disciples of Jesus.  We need to hear how this woman
by anointing his head was recognizing him as suffering servant,
our only hope of glory.  Of greater need for the women today is to
tell the story of how Jesus recognized women and all they are
capable of doing.  Women need to do what is in their power to do.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Do we seek to listen to the
Spirit within and let ourselves be led to do what is in our power to
do?

ALL:            Jesus, help me to recognize what it is that I have the power to do to
bring about your presence in the world.










The Fifteenth Reflection:  Discipleship

Leader #1:   The Woman Witness from the Gospels of Luke and John, is Mary of
Magdala.  (Lk 8:1-3; Jn 19:25; 20:1-18)

Witness:     Very early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, I
went with some of the other women to the tomb.  The stone had
been rolled away.  We were frightened.  I ran back to tell Peter that
they had taken the Master from the tomb and we did not know
where they laid him.  Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb
and saw that it was empty.  But they left and went back home.  I
couldn’t move.  I just stood there weeping.  Someone asked me,
“Why are you weeping?  Whom do you seek?”  I thought it was the
gardener and that maybe he had moved Jesus.  Then he said,
“Mary.”  I knew his voice.  I shouted, “Rabonni”—teacher.  My
Jesus was alive.  He told me to go and tell the others.  I ran to the
disciples.  I said, “I have seen the Rabbi!”  I helped them
understand the things that Jesus had taught me.

Leader #2:   Mary of Magdala was a leader among the disciples and the first
witness to the resurrection.  Women today are called to be
disciples, witnesses that continue to lead, in spite of being ignored
or denied leadership roles.

ALL:            We are an Easter people.  We know the Spirit who brought Jesus
from death to new life!

Leader #1:   The question that confronts us is:  Are we, as women disciples of
Christ, willing to be leaders in spite of the opposition?

ALL:            Jesus, empower me, as you empowered Mary of Magdala, to 
spread the Good News and to be a leader among your followers.



Intercessory Prayer  (see sheet)

Response:  Crucified Jesus, we awaken to your call!


Communion Service

We now join in prayer as this bread is broken for all:

ALL:   O Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice;
         We will live justly.
         You call us to be Your Presence in the world;
         We will love tenderly.

         You call us to speak truth to power.
         We will walk with integrity in your presence.

This is the Bread of Life.  Through it we are nourished and we nourish one another.

ALL:   What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share
communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and
Love’s challenge.

All are welcome to receive at this Table of Friendship!

We Remember Marty Haugen

Refrain:      We remember how you loved us to your death,
                  And still we celebrate, for you are with us here.
                  And we believe that we do see you, when we break bread,
                            with one another.
                  We remember, we celebrate, we believe.

                             


The moment a woman comes home to herself,
The moment she knows that she has become
a person of influence,
an artist of her life, a sculptor of her universe,
a person with rights and responsibilities,
who is respected and recognized,
the resurrection of the world begins!

 -- Joan Chittister
Good Friday Service at  Community of St. Bridget in Cleveland, Ohio, Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP
As we conclude our reflection on the women who journeyed with Jesus to his crucifixion and beyond, we now engage our church’s tradition in offering intercessory prayers that encompass the needs of our world.  It is right and just to present the descendant children of the women who accompanied Jesus so long ago, who are currently in desperate need of our prayer tonight:


Response:  Crucified Jesus, we awaken to your call!

For the child crucified by the unharnessed pedophilia scandal running amok in our church and broader society:

For the child crucified by the acts of sexual abuse through the tourism trade in Thailand:

For the child crucified by the devastation of the ongoing Syrian War:

For the child living in a poor country who is crucified by the trafficking of their organs on the black market:

For the child crucified due to the access of free weapons in the United States:

For the child crucified due to the ravages of obesity resulting from the fresh food deserts in urban areas, and easy access to fast food chains who offer unhealthy food choices:

For the child crucified due to seeking asylum from an oppressive country, who faces hostile separation from family and detainment in cages:


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O Holy One, we believe that the call of this moment is the call to faith, to believe that your love is also present in darkness so deep that nothing can possibly assuage it.  It is the call of faith in Your Timeless Presence in this time of total defeat.  It is a trust that You who created us and love us will hold us up through this moment, so that the darkness does not break our hearts.  Amen.





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