The final hut of this years Holy
Week event captured the moment of Jesus' death when a mighty storm
covered the land, the veil of the temple was torn in two and Jesus
yielded up his spirit to God.
Darkness came over the whole land, the sun stopped shining.
The veil of the Temple was torn in two. Jesus called
out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
When he had said this, he breathed his last."
The curtain in the temple separated
the holy of holies from the rest of the temple and where you could
be closest to God. The only person who was allowed to enter
that place was the high priest who would offer sacrifices on behalf
of the people.
The tearing of the veil in two
symbolically destroyed the barrier between God and humanity.
From this moment onwards we all have direct access to God
through Jesus' death on the cross and don't have to rely on others
to intercede for us. We can now all experience the presence
May you know God's presence with you this Easter and
It seemed very appropriate on this
Good Friday to have some of Jesus' words from the cross at the
heart of the art in the Holy Week Hut this evening. "My God, My God, why have you
forsaken me", is the anguished cry that Jesus utters from the cross
and is recorded in the accounts of the crucifixion in both Mark and
From noon until three o’clock, the whole land was covered with
darkness. 46 About
three o’clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice. He said, “
Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
This means “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” (
22:1) In saying this Jesus is quoting
from the Psalms so it's not a new thought unique to him, but
something common to human existence. It's such an extraordinary
statement from the Son of God and it's somehow comforting to know
that Jesus echoes the thoughts of so many who suffer and wonder
where God is in the midst of their pain. Paradoxically it gives us hope to
think of God who experiences the absence of the divine and who
understands that we too question God's presence, especially during
times of suffering and distress. The art in the hut was a beautiful
collage of Jesus with head bowed as he contemplated his situation.
The rips of the paper echoed the wounds of the whips and the thorns
in the crown that tore Jesus' flesh and added to the pain of
In the background was a soundtrack
of rain and rolling thunder as the gospels describe the land being
dark and a storm rising as Jesus came to the end of his life.
This hut speaks to us of a God who accompanies us through all
the storms of life, even when it seems that he is absent.
was rather grey and cold with quite a strong wind blowing along the
seafront which deterred all but a few hardy souls down to the
were still there though with the fourth instalment of our artistic
Easter story, Tonight we were focussing on Pilate and his
abdication of responsibility for Jesus even though he suspected he
was innocent. Matthew tells this part of the
story in some detail:
was placed before the governor, who questioned him: “Are you the
‘King of the Jews’?”
Jesus said, “If you say so.”
But when the accusations rained down hot and heavy from the high
priests and religious leaders, he said nothing. Pilate asked him,
“Do you hear that long list of accusations? Aren’t you going to say
something?” Jesus kept silence—not a word from his mouth. The
governor was impressed, really impressed.
was an old custom during the Feast for the governor to pardon a
single prisoner named by the crowd. At the time, they had the
infamous Jesus Barabbas in prison. With the crowd before him,
Pilate said, “Which prisoner do you want me to pardon: Jesus
Barabbas, or Jesus the so-called Christ?” He knew it was through
sheer spite that they had turned Jesus over to him.
While court was still in session, Pilate’s wife sent him a
message: “Don’t get mixed up in judging this noble man. I’ve just
been through a long and troubled night because of a dream about
Meanwhile, the high priests and religious leaders had talked the
crowd into asking for the pardon of Barabbas and the execution of
The governor asked, “Which of the two do you want me to
They said, “Barabbas!”
“Then what do I do with Jesus, the so-called Christ?”
They all shouted, “Nail him to a cross!”
He objected, “But for what crime?”
But they yelled all the louder, “Nail him to a cross!”
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was
imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full
sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility
for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge
crowd answered, “We’ll take the blame, we and our children after
Then he pardoned Barabbas. But he had Jesus whipped, and then
handed over for crucifixion.
installation was made of fabrics which were drenched in
the colours of blood and night, with banners hanging down
quoting some of Pilates own words to a figure who stood in the
middle with his back turned to us. This represented Pilate
turning his back on Jesus but asked us the question, "what do we
turn our backs on, and what responsibilities do we wash our hands
of. There was a bowl of water, stained
red, for attendees to wash their hands in but the cold and wind was
a strong disincentive for this activity. The question still stands for us
all though - what do we abdicate responsibility for?
The next episode in our journey
with Jesus is where things begin to go wrong - his betrayal by
It can seem odd that the symbol of
Jesus' betrayal is a kiss, even given the custom in the Middle East
of greeting with a kiss. It seems such an intimate and
friendly thing to do, which is how we can find a way to connect
with this part of the story. Sadly many relationships are
destroyed when one of the partners betrays the other with a third
Jesus had just finished speaking when Judas (the one from the
Twelve) showed up, and with him a gang from the high priests and
religious leaders brandishing swords and clubs. The betrayer had
worked out a sign with them: “The one I kiss, that’s the one—seize
him.” He went straight to Jesus, greeted him, “How are you, Rabbi?”
and kissed him.
said, “Friend, why this charade?”
Then they came on him—grabbed him and roughed him up.
In many cases this betrayal begins
with an illicit kiss. Judas' kiss was much more public than
most adulterous betrayals but it was still an act that began
the disintegration of all of the relationships between Jesus,
Judas and the other disciples. Unfortunately infidelity
often breaks a wide ring of relationships, not just those
The artwork featured a cross
dressed in a shirt covered in kisses. Mounted at the 'head'
of the cross was an image of a sculpture of Judas kissing Jesus
which can be found on the Sagrada Familia cathedral in
The artwork was interactive and
attendees were invited to think about a time that they were
betrayed or an instance when they betrayed someone and to write
about this on a S.W.A.L.K. (Sealed With A Loving Kiss). These
were then posted in the Betrayal Box to be prayed over on Good
Friday and absolved at the foot of the cross.
All the while a soundtrack was
playing Desree's Kissing You along with a voiceover recounting the
story of Judas and his kiss.
Tonight we visited the Garden of
Gethsemane with Jesus who went there to pray with his
disciples. According to the gospel writer
Luke, Jesus wrestled with the path that was set before him to such
an extent that he sweated blood as he prayed for God to take this
cup from him.
Leaving there, Jesus went, as he so often did, to the Mount Olives.
The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he
said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”
He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and
prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I
want. What do you want?”
At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He
prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of
blood, poured off his face.
He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them
asleep, drugged by grief. He said, “What business do you have
sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptation.”
The installation tonight was an
ingenious contraption which had a print of Van Gogh's Olive Grove
at its heart. This sat on a frame which was surrounded with
tubes which constantly trickled drops of red wine down the face of
the image. This painting had particular
resonance for the artist as it brought her to tears when she saw it
in real life. The whole installation sat outside
the hut where it caught the light from a beautiful sunset.