The journey that Jesus and His followers went on over Holy Week is one that can speak directly to many of our circumstances if we allow it. It speaks to the realities of a life of faith and the circumstances and challenges that we face. This year, instead of a Good Friday service, we are encouraging you to meet with your family or other community to explore this journey together and we have prepared a variety of resources that will help you explore our theme of ‘Buried Hope’. It’s really easy to take part and we have designed activities appropriate for all ages.
The Garden of Gethsemane
As we observe Jesus praying with His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, we have the chance to consider how we can journey through pain well with God and others.
At the Cross we come face to face with a God who suffers with us. Whether you are facing buried hopes in your own life or you are seeing it in the lives of others, come and meet with Christ together.
Between the Cross and Resurrection we see different pictures of what it means to engage with God in our sorrows and struggles. Here we see what hope can look like in the waiting.
For Families with Kids and Teens:
Good Friday is a great opportunity for parents to minister to children about basic principles of the Christian faith. If you are spending Good Friday with kids or teens, click the button below to visit the family section.
Where to Start
- Find a group of people to meet with.
- Decide on a time and location, it could be someone’s home, a coffee shop, or somewhere else.
- Before you meet take a look at the resources available and decide which will work best for your group/family. We recommend taking at least one activity from each section but it’s up to you!
A zealous and emotional character. Not only had he just seen Jesus die but he also realised that he had betrayed his teacher and friend just as Jesus had earlier prophesied.
As a Roman citizen/ soldier he would have not been overly involved in the strong emotions connected to this crucifixion. He may well have found a detached amusement in the way the Jews turned on their own teacher, seeing it as a further reason for the superiority of the ruling people.
He was responsible for the decision to crucify Jesus despite believing in His innocence, having given in to pressure from the crowd.
His wife had asked him not to be involved in sentencing Jesus because she believed He was innocent.
Joseph of Arimathea:
A member of the Sanhedrin (Jewish Council) who was also a disciple of Jesus. He was opposed to their decision to crucify Jesus.
Earlier in His ministry, Jesus had cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene and from that point onwards she had been a committed disciple. She led a group of women who provided for Jesus and His followers from their own resources. She was there during His ministry in Galilee and Judea.
Mary, the mother of Jesus:
Mary was the mother of Jesus and as He grew up, she had been challenged in many ways by the realities of the fact that He was the Messiah. This was a moment of ultimate pain for her as a mother and confusion given that she so clearly knew He was the Messiah.
This group had given up everything to follow Jesus. Over time, they had come to believe that He was really the messiah.
Not only has their hope died, they are also fearful for their lives and need to decide what to do now their teacher is no longer around.
Over the course of the week, the crowd had gone from welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem and publicly declaring Him as Messiah to demanding for Him to be crucified. This was a dramatic turn around in opinion and no doubt affected by the general mood of the crowd. As they saw Jesus on the cross with the fading emotional high they would have had to process what they felt about Jesus. Many would have distanced themselves or been disappointed.
by Giotto. c. Italy, 1305
After the Betrayal of Christ (Kiss of Judas), the Lamentation of the Death of Christ is the most famous of the Scrovegni Chapel frescoes painted by Giotto in the first decade of the 14th century. Recognised immediately as a masterpiece of Pre-Renaissance painting, Giotto’s fresco cycle introduced a revolutionary style of naturalism with more realistic figures and more realistic emotions. Suddenly the conventional style of medieval painting – as practised, for example, by the Sienese School of painting – appeared wooden and old-fashioned.
by Michelangelo. Italy, 1498–1499
Michelangelo’s interpretation of the Pietà was far different from those previously created by other artists, as he sculpted a young and beautiful Mary rather than an older woman around 50 years of age.
The marks of the Crucifixion are limited to very small nail marks and an indication of the wound in Jesus’ side. Michelangelo did not want his version of the Pietà to represent death, but rather to show the “religious vision of abandonment and a serene face of the Son”, thus the representation of the communion between man and God by the sanctification through Christ.
Entombment of Christ
by Caravaggio. Italy, 1603-1604
Caravaggio did not really portray the burial or the deposition in the traditional way, inasmuch as Christ is not shown at the moment when he is laid in the tomb, but rather when, in the presence of the holy women, he is laid by Nicodemus and John on the Anointing Stone, that is the stone with which the sepulchre will be closed. Around the body of Christ are the Virgin, Mary Magdalene, John, Nicodemus and Mary of Cleophas, who raises her arms and eyes to heaven in a gesture of high dramatic tension.
by Solimena. Italy, 1729
The ladders and the Cross, which Nicodemus has climbed up to from behind, counter this fragmentation by creating a strong formal framework. Christ’s body is being handed down from above and is already in steady hands below. The viewer’s gaze is led first to the body and then directed by the extended right arm of the crimson-clad Joseph of Arimathea to the group of mourning women. A deathly pale Virgin Mary makes their importance clear and contributes to the stability and legibility of the composition. The mirror-image facial expressions of Christ and Mary have a highly emotional quality, and there is a correspondingly nervous use of colour.
by William H. Johnson. United States, 1944
William H. Johnson began painting religious scenes in the 1940s, after he lost his wife, Holcha, to cancer. Here, the light-skinned Christ with a neatly trimmed beard may symbolise the artist, still wounded from the loss of his companion. Three women in brightly printed cotton shifts raise their hands in stylised gestures that evoke African mourning rites, and the ladders, which appear in European scenes of the Crucifixion, also bring to mind African American spirituals like “Jacob’s Ladder.” In Lamentation, Johnson filtered his personal grief through centuries of European art, African traditions, and the public expression of faith in African American churches.
Christ of Saint John of the Cross
By Salvador Dalí. Spain, 1951
Consistent with his theory of nuclear mysticism, Dalí uses classical elements along with ideas inspired by mathematics, science, etc. Some noticeably classic features are the drapery of the clothing and the Caravaggesque lighting that theatrically envelops Christ, though like his 1951 painting Christ of Saint John of the Cross, Corpus Hypercubus takes the traditional Biblical scene of Christ’s Crucifixion and almost completely reinvents it. The union of Christ and the tesseract reflects Dalí’s opinion that the seemingly separate and incompatible concepts of science and religion can in fact coexist.
by Kehinde Wiley. United States, 2016
Together these works offer a bodily representation of the Christ figure. By choosing to focus on the body, the most concrete and vulnerable, if not animal, aspect of his “personality”, Kehinde Wiley takes a highly contemporary approach to reviving the debate of the divine or human nature of Christ, the eternal dichotomy between body and mind.
The Awaiting Chained Dreamer
By Clare Fok. Member of the Vine Church, Hong Kong, 2018
Just as Abraham, in times of old, gazed upon the star-filled sky and was reminded of the great promises from God to him, the hair that crowns this girl symbolises the many dreams and promises that have been deposited in each of us. The black backdrop depicts how overtime, when there is a misalignment between the reality of our present circumstances and those dreams and promises that we have embraced, hope is buried deeper and deeper in our hearts. This is emphasised by the chains around the girl’s heart, the very place in which hope resides is locked away and never wanting to be touched again.
When we pray the words that others have prayed before us, we remember that no matter how unfamiliar, lonely, or difficult the journey is, we do not go through it alone. Both God and generations of Christians have been where we are now. Read this prayer together, as one or alone, and receive it as a prayer over you as you bring your buried hope before The Lord.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ excerpted from Hearts on Fire