Thursday, April 5, 2012

Prayers for Good Friday & Passover

This prayer and the other prayers for Holy Week appeared in the 2012 Easter Good News - you can get your free issue from the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship.


Prayer for Good Friday & Passover

Blessed is the Name of Names! How often have you answered our cries? How often have we turned back to you with pleading and with praise? Comforter of Comforters, you know us in the hours of our distress just as you know us in the hours of our rejoicing. Strengthen us in turning with you to those today who are suffering, whose suffering we have knowingly and unknowingly aided and abetted. You call us to join you in freeing those in bondage, in bearing mercy where mercy is needed, in living humbly and tending this earth. Grant us the heart to answer, imperfect as we are, wrestlers of our lesser and our greater natures. You know us, call to us, and bear us up ever. Blessed is the Name of Names who is with us when we are in the pit, who bears us up when we cannot go on, whose call we know and hasten to answer! Blessed is the Name of Names, now and forever!

Prayers for the Way of Sorrows – Personal Form

Holy One, as I retrace the Way of Sorrows, following those last hours of my beloved teacher Jesus, sustain me and grant me wisdom from this journey and courage to live ever in your will and your way. Amen.

I.
Jesus is condemned to death.
So the way of sorrows begins: into trial and after that? Suffering. Most Merciful and Most Compassionate, be with us now and in our hours of trial, tribulation, and terror. Forsake us not and grant us the forbearance not to turn away and forsake those who are suffering today.

II.
Jesus is given His cross
Splintered, heavy grief I bow down under your weight. How can I endure? Comforter of Comforters, you bear the sorrows of the world and still have mercy on us. Grant me courage to carry this splintered, heavy grief weighing me down.

III.
Jesus falls for the first time
Prostrate in the dirt, face down and hurting, Mother-Father of us All, grant me strength to carry on and not give in to despair. You have ever delivered your children in trouble. You have ever been beside us in sorrow.

IV.
Jesus meets His Mother Mary
Ah, Mother Mary, there you are, right alongside, bearing witness to the Holy’s mercy and steadfast love.  Blessed are you indeed among all people! Surely, surely the blessing of steadfast love calls others to attend in mercy and for love’s sake.

V.
Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
What relief it is not to have to bear tribulation alone! What a mercy to not be forgotten, but to have one come alongside! May I be ready to help, especially in danger, to ease the sufferings of others and bear witness to the presence of steadfast love in every hour. 

VI.
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
The gifts of steadfast love are endless and wonderful in their diversity! How sweet is the needed merciful act given with selfless love! May I be ready to help, especially in danger, to ease the sufferings of others and bear witness to the presence of steadfast love in every hour.

VIII.
Jesus falls the second time.
The way is steep and sorrowful indeed! All around me are those who see me in trouble and turn away, those who see me in trouble and laugh and call it justified, those who see me in trouble and add their curses. I thirst for mercy, long for a place to rest, where peace reigns and lives forever.

IX.
Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem.
The way is steep and sorrowful indeed! Yet here are those who weep with me, who will not leave me behind, who reach out to help as they may. I thirsted for mercy and have been granted a sip of love. I yearned for peace and my heart was lifted up.

X.
Jesus falls the third time.
Bless me, Keeper of Mercy, Sustainer of All, as I lie here, face down, unsure of how to carry on. Sustain me now with grace. Make me like the reeds, resilient with the winds, and help me rise again in a new hour and day.

XI.
Jesus is stripped of His garments.
How easy it is to tear away at a body, to rend a soul, to shame and cause new suffering in that shame! Beloved, as I follow this way of sorrows and encounter this tearing, shame that strips my heart bare, shaking in fear and grief, may I be reborn in courage to tend the dignity of all those cast down and cast aside

XII
Crucifixion.
Cry for justice, cry for mercy, cry for peace. How many ways do I aid and abet your crucifixion again, amid the suffering of those forced to flee for their lives, amid the cries of those who hunger, amid the loneliness and despair of those bound and beset by all kinds of iniquity?  I cry for justice. I cry for mercy. I cry for peace.

XIII
Jesus dies on the cross.
I prayed for deliverance. I met emptiness and loss. Mercy, let me weep. Love, weep with me. Peace, wherever you have gone, I do not understand.

XIV
Lamentation: Jesus’ body is removed from the cross.
Weep and let me be washed in the waters of repentance. Weep and let me turn my face to the ground as I remember what is lost. Blessed is the Mercy Bearer, who is with me in my grieving. Weep with reverence. Weep with wonder. Weep in love.

XV.
Jesus is laid in the tomb.
Cold and lonely, my heart wants to rush away from here, but my spirit lingers, not wanting to leave, unconsolable. How does one leave consolation behind, sealed away? How does one leave the place where one’s heart is buried?


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