Articles

Low Sunday 11th April 2021 A reflection by the Rev'd Russell Duncan

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 10/04/2021 - 11:13

Sunday 11th April 2021 – Low Sunday

Peace be with you

Scientists tell us that our nervous system must receive and process information about the world outside in order to react, communicate and keep our bodies healthy and safe. Much of this information comes through the sensory organs; the eyes; ears; nose; tongue and skin. It is only when we begin to lose them that we realise how important they are to our daily life and mental wellbeing.

Coming from a medical family where there is a recent history of glaucoma and macular degeneration, I am well aware of the need to visit the opticians annually to ensure that the necessary checks and tests are carried out.

This Sunday the church commemorates the apostle Thomas. He was not present when the risen Christ first appeared to the other disciples that evening. Today’s gospel tells of Thomas’ refusal to believe in the resurrection unless he can touch the wounds of the crucified Christ.  Only when the risen Christ appears again a week later and invites Thomas to touch his hands and his side does he confess “Jesus as his Lord and God”.

In the chapter entitled “Questioning” from his book “Seeing God in Art”, Richard Harries, the former Bishop of Oxford, refers to a mosaic at Hosios Loukas, Greece made @ 1120 depicting this encounter.  Jesus holds his hands open and shows his side so that the wounds can be clearly seen.

Unfortunately, the face of Thomas is sadly damaged so we cannot see it.  Most dramatically however Jesus appears against the backdrop of a closed door that is also the shape of a sarcophagus, as though to stress that he has risen from the dead.

The writer goes on to comment that “Thomas was surely right to question the claim of the other disciples ie that they had seen the risen Christ.  Questioning is not only a good thing to do, but is essential. The willingness to question is fundamental to religious understanding as well. How can we come to believe something, or believe something with deeper conviction, unless we are willing to probe and question what is claimed to be true?”

Thomas gives us permission to question, to probe, to be honest and to act with integrity. In this we seek to understand, wrestle and hold in tension what it means to follow the risen Christ. Unlike Thomas, we have not had the benefit of seeing the risen Christ or putting our fingers in his side.

Many of us who were present in person or on zoom last week (Easter Sunday) are here again today. Why? What has brought us back? It may partly be due to the five senses which I referred to earlier. In some ways we can still hear, see, touch and taste (though not necessarily smell) something of the risen Christ. Through the weekly Liturgy of the Word and the Sacrament our spiritual lives are nourished and our faith enriched.

What struck me in today’s Gospel were the words “Peace be with you” spoken by the risen Christ.  Did you notice how many times he spoke them? Three.  What did that say to the disciples, to Thomas and to us?     

As we enter into another week may we too know something of that peace.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,

Wherever He may send you.

May He guide you through the wilderness,

Protect you through the storm.

May He bring you home rejoicing

At the wonders He has shown you.

May He bring you home rejoicing

Once again into our doors.

Prayers for the Royal Family on the death of the Duke of Edinburgh

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 10/04/2021 - 11:11

Gracious God, giver of all life,

in whom our earthly course finds its fulfilment:

we give you thanks for the life of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,

for his service to this nation, the Commonwealth, and humanity,

in war and in peace,

in the pursuit of knowledge,

and in his example of reverence for your creation.

We give thanks for the encouragement he offered to the young,

and for his faithful support for Elizabeth our Queen.

We pray that, as you receive him into your presence,

his family and all who mourn may know your comfort

in the assurance that death is swallowed up in victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God,

now and in eternity.

Amen.

Easter Day: a reflection by Canon Dean Fostekew

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 03/04/2021 - 15:04

Easter Day 2022 Year B

Many of you may well be aware of the ‘statement sculpture’ by the Turner Prize winning artist Nathan Coley in the grounds of the Modern2 Gallery.

“There will be no miracles here”

The sculpture in lights on the grey scaffolding poles is a quote from a 17th century French  royal proclamation in the town of Modseine. A town which had supposedly been experiencing rather too many miracles. Atop the Modern1 Gallery entrance there is a second sculpture with the legend:

“Everything will be alright.”

Which was commissioned by the gallery from the Scottish Turner Prize winner Martin Creed. I like both sculptures very much. Not least because they make me smile. I have enjoyed seeing them on a regular basis in ‘Lockdown’ when popping in to the grounds of Modern2 for a coffee from the ‘pop-up’ cafe. If you get the ‘miracle' one on the right eye line with the three towers of our cathedral the irony of it all appeals to my sense of humour.

The two sculptures also for me have a relevance to the events of Easter. Why? You might ask?

Simply because they make us think about what the words mean. Ponder for a moment how those women at the tomb and earlier at the foot of the cross might have felt some 2000 years ago. As Jesus hung dead on the cross, the phrase of there; ‘being no miracles here’ would have resonated loudly with the heartsick feelings of loss, those faithful few, would have felt. How could anything good come from Jesus’ ignoble death on that awful instrument of torture? His body broken and abused, his life force spent and all hopes for a better future dashed upon the rocks of betrayal. No miracles would have seemed possible. As for the second phrase that ‘everything would be all right’ – how stupid and facile that would have seemed. How could his death make things ‘all right’?

We post-resurrection members of the Church know that things were to change but those remaining few friends of Jesus on that first Good Friday could not have believed anything good could have come from his death. It is no wonder that today’s Gospel reading tells us that the women approached the tomb with trepidation and tears. They thought that they were going to perform one final act of love and tenderness towards the man they had hoped and believed in by washing, anointing and shrouding his mortal frame. They had loved him, they had been inspired by him and they wanted to show their respect for him by this one last kindness. It was all they could do for him now that he was dead.

As Good Friday closed, the lifeless body of Jesus had been buried quickly in a tomb. A grave originally prepared for someone else. At his birth Jesus borrowed an animal's manger as a bed and in his death he borrowed another’s final resting place. His immediate burial was meant to be a stop-gap before the dawning of the Sabbath. It had to be fast in order not to contravene the Jewish purity laws. Jesus had broken enough laws in his life and his disciples could not bear for him to break anymore in death.

Today, as on that first Easter morning, with the Sabbath over the women approached the tomb to do what many women have done since time immemorial. They went to clean the body and to make it decent. They went to ‘lay Jesus out’ ready for a proper funeral and internment. They did not expect any miracles to have happened nor did they expect everything to be all right. They would, I suspect, have had images of Jesus both in his life and in his death running through their minds, like a film. Listening again in their heads to his teachings and wise words in hope that they would comfort and inspire them still.

They were brave, those women; Mary Magdalene, Mary and Salome because they were risking their own personal safety and reputations to do what they believed was right for the man they had believed in. Women, so more often than men, do this. The men might have been content to leave him in the tomb, dead and gone but not the women. They felt they had a task to perform and perform it they would. One last act of kindness to the human Jesus; regardless of their own security.

On Palm Sunday, Jesus was proclaimed a king and was regarded as being almost ‘god like’ in the way his path was strewn with greenery. His feet were too sacred to touch the ground. These same feet were washed with tears and anointed, only to be bruised by torture and death. Jesus’ seemingly once sacred body was soon reduced to nothingness – an object to be beaten and broken - all too human now, not divine. His dead body is then more or less tossed into a tomb, quickly; to get it out of sight before the sun set and rules were broken. For me the love those women showed in their approach to the tomb that morning is overwhelming. Despite what had happened to him, they still loved him and wanted to care for him. The ‘Hosannas’ of Palm Sunday had proved to be false but the love of those women was, however, true and genuine. A seemingly simple act one might think, but an act that is actually ‘awesome’.

The story might have ended there with that last act of kindness and love but it did not. As we approach the tomb with those women we are confronted with a new reality – his body is not there.

The women must have been very perplexed, perhaps angry. Who had stolen him away? Could his detractors not even let him rest in peace? What actually happened we do not know, but something happened to Jesus and to those women. Whether Jesus’ body was resurrected physically or spiritually has been an argument that has raged for 2000 years and will continue to do so for many millennia still. Whichever view you take is right because as I see it the important thing is to acknowledge is that resurrection occurred. That Jesus came to new life and that he comes to each and every one of us afresh every day of our lives.

Resurrection is a miraculous event in that it is life changing and earth shattering. Human history has not been the same since that first Easter Day. A miracle did happen - in that perceptions were changed, as people experienced Jesus anew and spread his Gospel message across the world. Those women at the tomb were inspired afresh and they in their turn inspired the disciples and so on and so forth. That inspiration caused by the resurrection is still travelling throughout the world today – that for me is the miracle of resurrection.

The Resurrection happened in first century Palestine and it is that that enables us to believe that everything will be all right. Things might not work out as we expect but they will usually work out in ways we can learn to live with. We could leave it at that with these sentiments ringing in our ears BUT there is one more piece of the resurrection story not to forget.

The young man at the tomb told the women not to be afraid and to go to Galilee and tell the others. We could remain at the empty tomb this morning rejoicing but Jesus would not be there, what we have to do is seek him out. We have to search for the risen Jesus – the Christ,  in all we experience and in all we do. It is in this search and this continual going to ‘Galilee’ that we keep Christ alive. We are not called to dwell in the tomb with the un-resurrected Jesus but to seek Jesus in the people and places of the world. Above all things, the miracle of Easter is a call to mission, a call to take the message of the resurrected Jesus to the four corners of the globe.

The Good News is meant to be shared not kept to oneself and in sharing it we continue to allow the ripples of resurrection to move outwards from its central point, ever reaching beyond the here and now to the future and beyond. The miracle of the resurrection is still unfolding, let it inspire you each day of your life and let Jesus be your guide in all your endeavours. And, remember sometimes there; ‘will be miracles here’ and that eventually ‘everything will be all right!’

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Good Friday worship

Submitted by Dean on Fri, 02/04/2021 - 11:03

Good Friday Friday 2nd April 2021

                    Place a Cross before you.

The Kyries        

Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.

The Collect

Loving God, look graciously, we pray, on this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and given into the hands of sinners and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen

 

The Passion Gospel                  John 18:1 – 19:42   

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ 5They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus replied, ‘I am he.’ Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he’, they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7Again he asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ 8Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.’ 9This was to fulfil the word that he had spoken, ‘I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.’ … 12 The soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people. … 19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20Jesus answered, ‘I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.’ 22When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’ 23Jesus answered, ‘If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?’ 24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. … 28 Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate went out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ 30They answered, ‘If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.’ 31Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.’ The Jews replied, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death.’ 32(This was to fulfil what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.) 33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 37Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ 38Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth? ’After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I find no case against him. 39But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ 40They shouted in reply, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a bandit. 19Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3They kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face. 4Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.’ 5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ 6When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.’ 7The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’  8 Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. 9He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Pilate therefore said to him, ‘Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?’ 11Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’ 12From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.’ 13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King!’ 15They cried out, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but the emperor.’ 16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.” ’ 22Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. 28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.

30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, … the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. .. 36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’ 38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Hold the Cross in your hands

Behold the wood of the cross,

on which our Saviour died.

We glory in your cross, O Lord,

and praise you for your mighty resurrection;

for by virtue of your cross

joy has come into our world.

Intercessions at the Foot of the Cross.  Let us pray:

For all victims of violence and for those who commit violence against others. For all who live in war torn countries and for those who seek, and those who are sent to restore peace and justice. For all who are mocked and insulted and for those who seek to belittle their neighbour, that the ways of gentleness and servant-hood may reign.

Holy God, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

For the mission of God in the world and for a church that seeks to be true to the ways of Christ; that love, tolerance and acceptance of difference will be seen as strength and not weakness. For all Christians, everywhere, that they may be inspired to be the servants of  God’s people and stewards of God’s creation.

Holy God, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

For those who are weak and in pain, especially for those living with incurable disease, those affected by the Covid19 Virus and those hurt by the violence of others. For those who are physically and mentally exhausted and those weak and sick from hunger and famine. For those who care for others and those who seek to help relieve the pains of life.

Holy God, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

For the dying, for all in the last hours of their lives this day, that none may die alone or without hope. For those who mourn and those bereft of hope and joy, that they may find comfort and relief. For those who care for the dying and the bereaved that they may be supported and encouraged in all they do. For all who have died, that they may come to share in the risen and eternal life of Christ.

Holy God, holy and immortal,  have mercy on us.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Seven Last Words from the Cross

Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Silence)

Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise.” (Silence)

Jesus said: “Woman, behold your son. Son behold your mother.” (Silence)

Jesus said: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Silence)

Jesus said: “I thirst.” (Silence)

Jesus said: “It is finished.” (Silence)

When I survey the wondrous Cross,

On which the Prince of glory died.

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

 

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast

Save in the death of Christ my God;

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to his blood.

 

See from his head, his hands, his feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down;

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

 

His dying crimson like a robe,

Spreads o’er his body on the Tree;

Then I am dead to all the globe,

And all the globe is dead to me.

 

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were an offering far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

The Agnus Dei 

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world: have mercy upon us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world: have mercy upon us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world: grant us your peace.

Silence

Closing Prayer

Merciful God, you have restored us to life by the triumphant death and resurrection of Christ. Continue this healing work within us.  Grant that by faith in him who suffered on the Cross we may triumph in the power of his victory and never cease to give you dedicated service.  We ask this through Jesus Christ, our crucified Lord. Amen

Palm Sunday 28th March 2021

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 27/03/2021 - 11:37

PALM SUNDAY 2021

On Palm Sunday we usually do not preach a sermon but allow the Palm and Passion Gospels to preach for us. This year things are a bit different but none-the-less the words of the Gospel still speak clearly to us.

In the Palm Gospel, we hear of the joy of the crowd as Jesus entered Jerusalem. They saw him riding on a donkey and believe him to be the King who would save them from Roman oppression. In Jewish pageantry the King always rode at the back of any procession in the place of honour, not on a horse but on a donkey. By entering the Holy City on that beast of burden Jesus is proclaiming himself as the promised Messiah, the anointed one. The people read the symbolism and are overjoyed, here at last is hope for a better future.

How quickly this all changes in the following days as the Passion Gospel relates to us. The jubilant, hopeful cries of the crowd turn to jeers and a desire for blood is expressed. No more ‘Hosanna!’ the cry is now ‘Crucify him’. Jesus the gentle Messiah has let them down, or so they think. He hasn’t over powered the authorities by force, life is unchanged and their disappointment is vented as anger and hate.

Yet the Gospel tells us of the salvation won for our sakes by Jesus Christ in his death on the Cross. How in his blood he made a once and for all time atonement for the sins of all humanity and has ensured that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.

The Passion Gospel (verses from St.Mark’s Account )

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’ So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.’ They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, ‘Surely, not I?’ He said to them, ‘It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’ (Later) They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’ Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?’ But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power”, and “coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?’ All of them condemned him as deserving death. Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, ‘Prophesy!’ The guards also took him over and beat him. As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so.’ Then the chief priests accused him of many things. 4Pilate asked him again, ‘Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.’ But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed. Now at the Passover festival Pilate used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he realised that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?’ They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ 14Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace and they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’ 2And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.’ And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’ There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem. When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.