Easter Reflections

This article is from Issue 70 of “On The Move,” a publication of new learning possibilities for churches, at one time published by The Joint Board of Christian Education of Australia and New Zealand.
Although some ideas and liturgies may appear somewhat “dated” in style, concept, imagery or language, they may nevertheless offer a spring-board for new ideas among people who find themselves leading worship, perhaps in a new context, and with some trepidation.
Reproduced by permission. May be reprinted for use in local congregations only.

These reflections were wntten over several years and for various purposes. Some have been published previously in Living Faith materials. Some have been changed from their original form to fit with the passages from Marks Gospel.

(Mark 14:27-31,66-72)’Lord, I will never leave you,
even though all the rest do!”
Fine words…
but I believed them,
of my own courage.
I should have known!They took him
and I followed at a distance,
joined the group
around the fire
and waited there,
cloaked in anonymity.

A girl came,
lingering in the warmth.
She looked at me
and I saw recognition
growing in her eyes.
“You, too,
were with Jesus of Nazareth!”
she said.
“No”, I said,
“I don’t understand what you are talking about.”

I moved away
but she followed,
inviting others to turn and stare.
“He was with Jesus”,
she said.
“He’s one of them.”

Everyone looked at me
A stab of fear –
wanting to panic and run.
“No! I said again,
more bravely than I felt,
“you are mistaken.”The minutes ticked away.
Perhaps they would lose interest,
leave me alone…
(And pigs might fly!)
“You are one of them”,
they said.
“Your accent gives you away.
I struggled
to keep my voice steady:
“I swear that I am telling the truth!
I do not know the man you are talking about!”

Even as I spoke
the night air bore the sound
from far away
of a cock crowing.
And I remembered
my fine words.
I went out
and wept bitterly.

(Mark 15:1-15; John 18:28-19:16)My name is Pilate:
Pontius Pilate.
Appointed governor
of the province of Judaea.
Stationed in Jerusalem.
May the gods deliver me
from warring Jews!Have you ever walked on a tightrope
or balanced on a razor’s edge?
I have.
That’s what it was like
being governor in Judaea.

Early one morning
they told me a group of priests
was waiting to see me.
They wouldn’t come in.
They wouldn’t defile themselves
by entering the palace!
Something to do with
their ritual laws
and the Passover festival.
But they had a prisoner
they wanted tried.

I went outside to see them.
“What do you accuse this man of?”
I wanted to know.
Their answer was evasive:
“We would not have brought him to you
if he had not committed a crime.”
Not good enough!
What crime?
“Then you yourselves take him
and try him according to your own law.”
“Oh no”, they said.
“We are not allowed to put anyone to death.”
So that was it! I must do their dirty work.
Must I? I was not their servant
but the servant of Rome.

I went inside
and sent for the prisoner.
Jesus, his name was.
I had heard of him.
A troublemaker?
Certainly no favourite
of those stiff-necked priests.
I felt some sympathy.

‘Are you the King of the Jews?’
I asked.
He looked me straight in the eye.
“Is that your own question
or have others told you about me?”

Who was asking the questions here?
I drew myself a little taller.
“Do you think I am a Jew?
I sneered.
“lt was your own people
and the chief priests
who handed you over!”
Why couldn’t they settle
their own arguments?
Why were they so dead set
against this man? 

“What have you done?”
I asked him.”My kingdom
does not belong
to this world”,
he said.
“If my kingdom
belonged to this world,
my friends would fight
to keep me
from being handed over
to the Jewish authorities.
my kingdom
does not belong here.”

‘Are you a king, then?’

‘You say that I am a king’,
he answered,
and went on
to talk of truth.

I could find no reason
to condemn him.
I argued in his favour,
tried to find
a face-saving solution
that would satisfy everyone.

It was a waste of time.
They wanted blood.
Not just anyone’s blood,
but his.
I did my best
but they went one better:
threatened to report me
to the emperor. for allowing a rebel
to make his claim of kingship.
The order was given,
the sentence carried out.
Pax Romana was restored.

Looking back
I often think
about that man Jesus.
I wish I could have
known him better.
lf only I had been free
to decide for myself…

(Mark 15:6-1 4, 22, 26, 29-30)I shouted for Barabbas:
“Set Barabbas free!”
I don’t know why.
Barabbas is a crook.
But I was one of the crowd
and those around me were shouting:
“Free Barabbas”
and I joined in.And when the governor asked,
“What will I do with Jesus?”
we all said, “Crucify him!”
I don’t know why.
Jesus was a good man.
But those around me were shouting:
“Crucify him”
and I joined in.


I went to Golgotha,
the Place of the Skull.
They nailed him to a cross
and they put up a sign:
“This is Jesus,
the king of the Jews.”And I shouted insults.
I don’t know why –
he’d never harmed me.
But those around me were shouting:
“Save yourself
if you are God’s son!”
and I joined in.


(Mark 15:1-1 5, 22, 24-26, 31-32)He had to die, of course.
We knew he had to die
but we didn’t have the power
to pass sentence.
That’s why we –
the priests, the elders –
took him to Pilate.
And he – coward that he is –
tried to divert us
from our chosen course.
He asked the crowd to choose.But the man had to die.
We knew that,
and we acted quickly,
moving among the crowd,
stirring them up
until they cried with one voice:
“Crucify him!”
Because Jesus had to die.


Sentence was carried out
and we saw him hanging there
upon the cross.
How we jeered:
“He saved others,
but he cannot save himself!
Isn’t he the king of Israel?
If he comes down off the cross
we will believe in him!”
We knew we were safe.
He was dying.

(Mark 15:16-20, 22-26)”Long live the king of the Jews!” we said.
He was some king!
I’m a soldier:
one of Pilate’s men.We took this Jesus
and stripped off his clothes
and put him in a purple robe.
He didn’t look like a king
standing there
with a stick in his hand
and a crown of thorns
on his head.
We saluted him:
“Long live the king of the Jews!”
He was some king –
and he wouldn’t live much longer.
We spat on him
and beat him,
then fell on our knees
and bowed down to him.
And when we were tired of that
we took off the robe
and dressed him again
in his own clothes.
Long live the king of the Jews!


We hanged him on a cross
and gambled for his clothes.
And then just sat and watched.
“This is Jesus,
the king of the Jews.”
That’s what it said
on the sign
we nailed
above his head.
Long live the king of the Jews!

(Mark 15:40-41, 47; 16:1-8)We stood at a distance
and watched,
our hearts breaking
along with his bruised and bleeding body.
How could this happen?
Our Lord – our love – was crucified.We stood at a distance
and watched
as the body was taken down –
taken and wrapped
in a linen sheet –
and placed in a tomb.

We stood at a distance
and watched
as a stone was rolled in place.

Long the night and day and night
that followed,
heavy the grief
beyond all telling.
One thing remained
for us to do.


The Sabbath past
at break of day we went
we three –
Mary, Salome and me –
with spices for his anointing
in a final act of love.
But the stone – so big…
“Who will roll away the stone?”The tomb was open!
Who had come before us?
we crept in
and found a stranger there
all dressed in white.
‘Don’t be alarmed’, he said. ‘I know whom you seek.
Jesus is not here –
he has been raised!
Now go and tell the others.’

We ran from the tomb
distressed and terrified
unable to speak
even to each other.

(John 20:19-29)It was late that Sunday evening
when I returned to my brothers,
thinking to find them still grieving
as I was.
They greeted me
in excitement
and great joy.
“We have seen the Lord!”
they said.
Had grief brought them to this –
that they would not accept
that he was gone from us for ever?
Again and again they insisted:
“We have seen the Lord!
He was here among us!”
“I don’t believe it”,
I said.
“Unless I see the scars
of the nails in his hands
and put my finger on those scars
and my hand in his side,
I will not believe.”
The days passed.
We were together
behind locked doors
when he came again.
There could be no doubt –
Jesus stood among us, saying,
“Peace be with you”!
Then he looked at me
a little sadly.
“Put your finger here”,
he said,
“and look at my hands;
then stretch out your hand
and put it in my side.
Stop your doubting,
and believe!”
I stared, transfixed,
unable to move or to speak.
At last I found my voice
and whispered,
“My Lord and my God!”

(Luke 24:35-48)We had such hopes for him.What happened?

He was killed
and our hopes died with him.
We had hoped
that he would be the one
who was going to set us free.

And wasn’t he?

How could he be?
He was killed.

How did it happen?

We were betrayed.
Our leaders handed him over
to the authorities.
He was killed
and our hopes died with him.

So what are you going to do?

What can we do?
Go home.

And then?


Go back to our lives
as they were before.Before?

Before we knew him.
Before he raised our hopes.
We had such hopes…

Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are,
how slow you are to believe…”

Risen Lord Jesus,
when all the world seems against us,
keep our hopes alive.
Help us to remember
that after crucifixion
comes the resurrection,
that after the darkness
comes the dawn,
and after the bitterness of defeat
comes a new beginning.
Keep our hopes alive
so that we may be ready.

Let us pray for those who do not share our Easter joy:We pray for those
who live in the shadow of darkness and despair;
for those who live with the hopelessness
of shattered dreams
trust betrayed
lost love denied;
for those who live
without faith or hope or love;
who see no resurrection,
no hope of new beginnings
for themselves or for the world.

If Christ be truly risen,
let us show forth his resurrection
so that all who meet us shall know
that he is risen indeed!

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