Good, Year A

Musical Reflection
Death Don’t Have No Mercy by Young People




Lord, you are punctured,
no longer divided
between inside and out,
knowing in your flesh
the sharp violence that kills what it fears:
take us through the narrow door
from which an endless river flows
into a new body – wounded but unafraid;
through Jesus Christ, passion of God.
First Reading

Before You Came
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
translated by Agha Shahid Ali

Before you came,
things were as they should be:
the sky was the dead-end of sight,
the road was just a road, wine merely wine.

Now everything is like my heart,
a color at the edge of blood:
the grey of your absence, the color of poison, of thorns,
the gold when we meet, the season ablaze,
the yellow of autumn, the red of flowers, of flames,
and the black when you cover the earth
with the coal of dead fires.

And the sky, the road, the glass of wine?
The sky is a shirt wet with tears,
the road a vein about to break,
and the glass of wine a mirror in which
the sky, the road, the world keep changing.

Don’t leave now that you’re here—
Stay. So the world may become like itself again:
so the sky may be the sky,
the road a road,
and the glass of wine not a mirror, just a glass of wine.

Second Reading
The Way of Pain
by Wendell Berry

For parents, the only way
is hard. We who give life
give pain. There is no help.
Yet we who give pain
give love; by pain we learn
the extremity of love.

I read of Abraham’s sacrifice
the Voice required of him,
so that he led to the altar
and the knife his only son.
The beloved life was spared
that time, but not the pain.
It was the pain that was required.

I read of Christ crucified,
the only begotten Son
sacrificed to flesh and time
and all our woe. He died
and rose, but who does not tremble
for his pain, his loneliness,
and the darkness of the sixth hour?
Unless we grieve like Mary
at His grave, giving Him up
as lost, no Easter morning comes.

And then I slept, and dreamed
the life of my only son
was required of me, and I
must bring him to the edge
of pain, not knowing why.
I woke, and yet that pain
was true. It brought his life
to the full in me. I bore him
suffering, with love like the sun,
too bright, unsparing, whole.

Gospel Reading
John 18:1-19:42

After he said these things, Jesus went out with his disciples and crossed over to the other side of the Kidron Valley. He and his disciples entered a garden there. Judas, his betrayer, also knew the place because Jesus often gathered there with his disciples. Judas brought a company of soldiers and some guards from the chief priests and Pharisees. They came there carrying lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus knew everything that was to happen to him, so he went out and asked, “Who are you looking for?”

They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

He said to them, “I Am.” (Judas, his betrayer, was standing with them.) When he said, “I Am,” they shrank back and fell to the ground. He asked them again, “Who are you looking for?”

They said, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

Jesus answered, “I told you, ‘I Am.’ If you are looking for me, then let these people go.” This was so that the word he had spoken might be fulfilled: “I didn’t lose anyone of those whom you gave me.”

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword away! Am I not to drink the cup God has given me?” Then the company of soldiers, the commander, and the guards from the religious leaders took Jesus into custody. They bound him and led him first to Annas. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. (Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it was better for one person to die for the people.)

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Because this other disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard. However, Peter stood outside near the gate. Then the other disciple (the one known to the high priest) came out and spoke to the woman stationed at the gate, and she brought Peter in. The servant woman stationed at the gate asked Peter, “Aren’t you one of this person’s disciples?”

“I’m not,” he replied. The servants and the guards had made a fire because it was cold. They were standing around it, warming themselves. Peter joined them there, standing by the fire and warming himself.

Meanwhile, the chief priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly to the world. I’ve always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jewish people gather. I’ve said nothing in private. Why ask me? Ask those who heard what I told them. They know what I said.”

After Jesus spoke, one of the guards standing there slapped Jesus in the face. “Is that how you would answer the high priest?” he asked.

Jesus replied, “If I speak wrongly, testify about what was wrong. But if I speak correctly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him, bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.

Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing with the guards, warming himself. They asked, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”

Peter denied it, saying, “I’m not.”

A servant of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said to him, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” Peter denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

The religious leaders led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. It was early in the morning. So that they could eat the Passover, the religious leaders wouldn’t enter the palace; entering the palace would have made them ritually impure.

So Pilate went out to them and asked, “What charge do you bring against this person?”

They answered, “If he had done nothing wrong, we wouldn’t have handed him over to you.”

Pilate responded, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your Law.”

The religious leaders replied, “The Law doesn’t allow us to kill anyone.” (This was so that Jesus’s word might be fulfilled when he indicated how he was going to die.)

Pilate went back into the palace. He summoned Jesus and asked, “Are you the king of the Jewish people?”

Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others spoken to you about me?”

Pilate responded, “I’m not Jewish, am I? Your nation and its chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus replied, “My realm doesn’t originate from this world. If it did, my guards would fight so that I wouldn’t have been arrested by the religious leaders. My realm isn’t from here.”

“So you are a king?” Pilate said.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.”

“What is truth?” Pilate asked.

After Pilate said this, he returned to the religious leaders and said, “I find no grounds for any charge against him. You have a custom that I release one prisoner for you at Passover. Do you want me to release for you the king of the Jewish people?”

They shouted, “Not this man! Give us Barabbas!” (Barabbas was an outlaw.)

Then Pilate had Jesus taken and whipped. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. Over and over they went up to him and said, “All hail the king!” And they slapped him in the face.

Pilate came out of the palace again and said to the Jewish leaders, “Look! I’m bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no grounds for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here he is.”

When the chief priests and their deputies saw him, they shouted out, “Crucify, crucify!”

Pilate told them, “You take him and crucify him. I don’t find any grounds for a charge against him.”

The religious leaders replied, “We have a Law, and according to this Law he ought to die because he made himself out to be God’s child.”

When Pilate heard this word, he was even more afraid. He went back into the residence and spoke to Jesus, “Where are you from?” Jesus didn’t answer. So Pilate said, “You won’t speak to me? Don’t you know that I have authority to release you and also to crucify you?”

Jesus replied, “You would have no authority over me if it had not been given to you from above. That’s why the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” From that moment on, Pilate wanted to release Jesus.

However, the religious leaders cried out, saying, “If you release him, you aren’t a friend of the emperor! Anyone who makes themselves out to be royalty opposes the emperor!”

When Pilate heard these words, he led Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench at the place called Stone Pavement (in Aramaic, Gabbatha). It was about noon on the Preparation Day for the Passover. Pilate said to the religious leaders, “Here’s your king.”

The Jewish leaders cried out, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

Pilate responded, “What? Do you want me to crucify your king?”

“We have no royalty except the emperor,” the chief priests answered. Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified.

The soldiers took Jesus prisoner. Carrying his cross by himself, he went out to a place called Skull Place (in Aramaic, Golgotha). That’s where they crucified him—and two others with him, one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a public notice written and posted on the cross. It read “Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jewish people.” Many people read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Therefore, the  chief priests complained to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The king of the Jewish people’ but ‘This person said, “I am the king of the Jewish people.”’”

Pilate answered, “What I’ve written, I’ve written.”

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and his sandals, and divided them into four shares, one for each soldier. His shirt was seamless, woven as one piece from the top to the bottom.They said to each other, “Let’s not tear it. Let’s cast lots to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill the scripture,

They divided my clothes among themselves,
    and they cast lots for my clothing.
        That’s what the soldiers did.

Jesus’s mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother,“Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

After this, knowing that everything was already completed, in order to fulfill the scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was nearby, so the soldiers soaked a sponge in it, placed it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life.

It was the Preparation Day and the religious leaders didn’t want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath, especially since that Sabbath was an important day. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of those crucified broken and the bodies taken down. Therefore, the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two others who were crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead so they didn’t break his legs. However, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. The one who saw this has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he speaks the truth, and he has testified so that you also can believe. These things happened to fulfill the scripture, They won’t break any of his bones. And another scripture says, They will look at him whom they have pierced.

After this Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take away the body of Jesus. Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one because he feared the religious authorities. Pilate gave him permission, so he came and took the body away. Nicodemus, the one who at first had come to Jesus at night, was there too. He brought a mixture of myrrh and aloe, nearly seventy-five pounds in all. Following Jewish burial customs, they took Jesus’s body and wrapped it, with the spices, in linen cloths. There was a garden in the place where Jesus was crucified, and in the garden was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish Preparation Day and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus in it.

Musical Reflection

Dying Now by Noah Gundersen

by Coretta Scott King, adapted

Eternal and everlasting God, who art the God of all of humanity,
as we turn aside from the hurly-burly of everyday living,
may our hearts and souls, yea our very spirits, be lifted upward to Thee,
for it is from Thee that all blessing cometh.
We pray for Thy divine guidance as we travel the highways of life.
We pray for more courage.
We pray for more faith and above all we pray for more love.
May we somehow come to understand
the true meaning of Thy love as revealed to us
in the life, death and resurrection of Thy child and our Lord, Jesus Christ.
May we be constrained to follow in the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray.

The Lord’s Prayer

God in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right; Do what’s best —
As above, so below.
Keep us alive.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.


Musical Reflection
Metamorphosis One by Philip Glass

The Stranger’s Blessing

The Sacred Three be blessing us,
our tables and their stores.
The Sacred Three be blessing
all our loved ones evermore.

May the blessing of God – the Author, the Messenger, and the Word,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.


Artwork by Barnett Newman

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Death Don’t Have No Mercy by Young People

Poem Before You Came by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Poem The Way of Pain by Wendell Berry

Musical Reflection Dying Now by Noah Gundersen

Prayer by Coretta Scott King

Lord’s Prayer from the Message, adapted

Musical Reflection Metamorphosis One by Philip Glass

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer

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