by Deacon Selina
The Crucifixion was painted by Matthias Grünewald in 1516, as part of an altarpiece.
The Isenheim altar piece was painted for St Anthony's monastery near Colmar.
The monks there specialised in caring for plague victims and those with ergotism (an illness caused by eating diseased grain). The body of Jesus is depicted with all the marks of ergotism so that sick people felt that Jesus was entering into their own suffering. It is an extraordinary piece of work that I would love to see one day.
The altar piece has numerous views depicting scenes from the annunciation to the resurrection and folds in many different variations.
This poem is by the superb contemporary performance poet Godfrey Rust.
In the end we have to state
that no agreement was reached.
His stubborn opposition to compromise
was never breached.
Talks went on through the night
to meet Friday's deadline.
Even the governor was woken early to sign.
But no peace formula was found
at the eleventh hour.
Between the princes of earth and of heaven
there will be no sharing of power.
Every effort was made
to break down his reticence
but he would not join in any talks
and maintained his silence.
The release of prisoners
was the final opportunity.
It is reported that he did not take advantage
of the governor's offer of clemency.
There is no bilateral statement
for the six o'clock news.
The communiqué displayed says simply
He is the King of the Jews.
On reflection it is clear
his agenda had been set from the start.
He planned a suicide mission
against the strongholds of the heart.
He did not negotiate with sin
when matters reached their head.
He would not de-commission his arms
but spread them wide instead.
There can be such a sense of finality to Good Friday as we are called to journey with Jesus to a place of despair and darkness. Churches throughout the world pray "Solemn Collects", prayers which originate as far back as the fourth century. One of these collects says:
"Dear people of God: our heavenly Father sent his son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved ..."
As you reflect, consider what personal salvation through Christ means for you.
All Saints Methodist Church
There is free parking in our car park behind the Church in Dorchester Crescent.