Good Friday

Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus

MARK 15:21
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.

From Station 8, by Alison Mackenzie

“Simon of Cyrene” - Textile work

Selection from Artist Statement: 

Only three verses in the New Testament refer to this event. Simon was from North Africa, going about his daily life, coming into the city from the countryside. How often, when we are carrying on with the ‘ordinary’ daily events, does something happen to change it all – unexpected, no choice, forced into a decision or a change of role?  How do we react?

And we struggle with the question – WHY ME? Was Simon in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time? Or did his skin tone have something to do with him being picked out of the crowd?

Suddenly – Simon was forced to help a man in desperate need. One last act of human kindness shown to Jesus before his death. Mark 15:21 says Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus. Romans 16:23 also names Rufus. Clearly, they were members of the early Christian community. What effect did Simon’s actions have on his family?

Jesus is Crucified

LUKE 23:33-34
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

From Station 10, by Leigh Greyling

“Arma Christi” – Acrylic on canvas

Selection from Artist Statement: 

This painting is meant to confront you with the physicality of what was happening in this passage. The fists shaking at the King whom they had so recently welcomed. Crucifying Him like a criminal. The bloody, greedy hands dividing up his clothes. How could they?
And yet… any one of these hands could be mine, they are just as bloody as the ones that nailed Jesus to that cross. Have I not shaken my fist at my King, choosing my own will over His? Have I not been willing to take what He can give but rejected Him as my Lord and King? 
The hand of their, of my, creator and King reaches out from the cross towards those stained with guilt and His blood. And He cries out to his Father, “forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” He doesn’t shake his fist at them or grasp for vengeance. They compete for His earthly garments and He offers and gives all of Himself in order to offer them life and forgiveness, full and free. To reconcile them to Himself through His blood shed on the cross.
Which of these hands will mine be? Which will be yours? Will we reach out to Him, as our God reached out to us on the cross? Or will we continue to shake our fists at Him and only take the earthly gifts He has to give? Or will we hear the words of our Creator and King and believe? Will we give all of ourselves and lay down our lives with His in order to find true life in Him, full and free?

Jesus’ Promise to the Thief 

LUKE 23:39-43
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

From Station 11, by Elizabeth Nihoniho

Black and white panel - 100% NZ merino; Red panel - 100% alpaca

Selection from Artist Statement: 

We are all like the thief on the cross represented in the black panel. Our lives are made in the image of God (shown in the top of the black panel being the same pattern as the white panel) but we choose to take other paths and make decisions contrary to him. This causes separation from him, which affects us (shown as the lumps and bumps and 'mistakes' in the black). This can eventually lead to the disintegration of lives, shown as the complete abandoning from the original stitch pattern to the jagged edges. 

The red panel shows the cross which is central to all. The three crosses are represented in the stitch pattern, but are slightly hard to find, as we need to seek to find. The red symbolises Jesus’ blood poured out for us, which covers and redeems us. 

The white panel represents paradise which the cross makes possible. What if paradise is deep communion and presence with God? Then redemption makes this possible for us and isn't this what everything is about? Redemption with God, with others, with creation, so all is interconnected and beautiful just as he intended, which is paradise. This is represented in the interwoven and delicate stitch pattern.