Seven Last Words for Holy Friday created by Claire Piddock and Karen Munson
for Readfield United Methodist Church, Kents Hill, Maine 2011
Preparation: Choose suitable areas in which to set up each of the seven stations. Print and post an enlarged copy of the scripture reading for each station. We excerpted and posted Jesus’ words at each station as well, in even larger font. Print and post the instructions for each area. (Adapt movement instructions as needed for your space and choices). Gather and set out items needed for each action. Set up a “Welcome” sign inviting visitors to become participants.
Welcome to this Personal Devotion on Jesus’ last words. You will be guided through each station. Please feel free to move prayerfully at your own pace.
The First Word: Luke 23: 32-38
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Action: Choose an envelope. (Envelopes are prepared with photos inside of faces, places, nature, etc....) Rip it up. Take out the pieces of the picture you have torn. Piece it back together on the black surface. (Foam Core board is on a table with glue sticks available).
Reflection Questions: What have you done?
How do you feel about damaging something without realizing it? What if this were real?
The Second Word: Luke 23: 39-43
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Take a new envelope. Open it.
(Inside is this invitation, print and prepare as many as you think you’ll need for participants).
"Tonight let us bless our imperfections, our burnt spots, our jagged edges. Let us be brave enough to see our fragility and our beauty; let us see our wholeness: the parts of ourselves we have revealed this year, and the parts that are still hidden
–Sara Miles, 4-20-11 face book post
you are cordially invited to join Jesus in his journey through death to life.
RSVP to God Bring your baggage
The Third Word: John 19: 26-27
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Action: (prepare a basket of cardstock mobius strips and a comfortable seating area)
Choose a mobius strip from the basket Make yourself comfortable Run the strip through your fingers as you read the words.
Think about the unending connection you have with Christ. Name those Christ has placed in your life to care for you. Reflect on the way you care for them too.
The Fourth Word: Matthew 27: 45-49
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
Action: (Enlarge and post the word cross below. Provide a large wooden cross, nails, hammer, and writing materials)
Christ was broken for you. Leave your brokenness on the cross.
Instructions: -Write a word or phrase that expresses brokenness you experience. -fold it up. -nail it to the cross.
The Fifth Word: John 19: 28-29
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.
Action (have a pitcher of water and non-disposable cups ready. You might also have a large photo of water.)
Jesus, Who in the beginning was the water creating word, Now thirsts.
Jesus, whose baptism split the sky with God’s embrace, Beloved!, asks for water.
Jesus, Who said I am the living water, those who drink will never thirst, is spilt.
Empty he cries Alone he dies Still offering
Who knows why?
Is it the woman who walked 8 miles to the nearest water source with her 5 gallon bucket before making breakfast for her family?
Is it the farmer inflames, unable to water crops While downstream, We float in our pools and wonder What’s for dinner?
Is it the one
buying water in a plastic bottle that took 8 times as much water to make as she drank and will take more to recycle refill transport again?
How thirsty are you?
Have a drink. This one’s on Jesus.
The Sixth Word: John 19: 30
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Action: (Have a basket of rocks ready)
It is finished. Christ’s work is complete. Stones will cover His tomb. Choose a stone, a rock. Lift it.
With that, he
Feel its weight. Notice its ridges, bumps, textures, colors. Like life, it might be sharp, rough, uneven, .......and sometimes smooth, multifaceted, formed by forces beyond control.
What forces touch your life? How are you like the stone?
Take the stone with you. Because Christ’s work was finished, yours is just begun.
Move to Station Seven, at the Altar, carrying your stone.
The Seventh Word: Luke 23: 46-49
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Action: (place sign, below in italics, on the altar).Created
Sometimes we don’t know what we are carrying until we put it down. Or we don’t realize the effect that the weight has had on us. Or, we haven’t recognized how dear something, or someone, is until we offer them in love to God, knowing that God’s care is every more than we alone can manage.
Relinquishing means putting down something that has become part of us, whether it is beloved, burdensome or both.
The altar is where God receives these gifts. What will you offer God tonight?
Jesus’ life giving choice shows no obstacle to God’s love is too great, even our own fear.
Leave your stone by the altar, open as a tomb, as a sign that God receives whatever you place in God’s hands.
Sign on the Altar: Feel free to spend as much time as you wish in prayer here, and please let the Pastor know if you would like a partner in prayer, or a listener.