Thursday 17 April, 2014
MEDITATING ON THE CROSS
Matthew 27:32-44When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.(vss 35-37)
In the Middle Ages, many holy women would meditate on the image of Christ’s crucifixion in their cells or local church. These periods of extended contemplation led to visionary experiences and revelations of knowledge. The image of the crucifixion was particularly poignant for women in this era, as the depiction of Christ’s body in physical torment resonated with them as the main care-givers in a society and culture where pregnancy was dangerous and deadly disease was an everyday occurrence. It was an image that spoke about their reality, their lives, the way they spent their days. Maundy Thursday is a wonderful opportunity to imitate the great medieval mystics and meditate on an image of Christ on the cross.
Set aside some quiet time. If you find silence difficult you could play some restful music in the background. Sit comfortably with an image of the crucifixion that you find inspiring or beautiful. As you consider the image, remember that on Maundy Thursday Jesus washed the feet of his disciples; not only was this an indication of Christ’s servanthood but it was also a gift to his followers. Just like the visions and revelations of medieval Europe, God still seeks to give us the gifts of knowledge and comfort as we grow closer to God through meditation and prayer.
Prayer † As you pray and spend some time in stillness, ask God to help prepare you for the mourning and celebrations of the weekend to come. Consider how you can let the story of Easter change you. Amen.
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) is a fellowship of 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries. Its member churches are Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed and United churches with roots in the 16th-century Reformation led by John Calvin, John Knox and others. WARC has a small secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.