Friday, 30 March 2018

The Last Hour

This meditation was written for our Good Friday Last Hour at the Cross service - Friday 30th March 2018.

The service included five music tracks that fit the theme of Good Friday, focussing on death, and the cross. You can find a list of them at the bottom of the meditation.

So, this is it. The Last Hour.

I remember when I was small, an hour would last a lifetime; 
boring car-journeys that went on for miles bending the laws of time and space; 
dull maths lessons that stretched out over eons, as far into the future as I could imagine. 
Now? Now, those sixty minutes can pass by in the blinking of an eye. 
I can sit down for ten seconds only to find an afternoon has been spent.

I look at your cross. I wonder how long that Last Hour lasted for you. 
Did it feel like eternity to you?

Was it eternity to you? 
Is it eternal?

To you, outside of time, it must surely have been both – 
the blinking of an eye, and the lifetime of a deity;  

Do you still feel that hour? Is it continual? 
Some form of everlasting Promethean punishment but, instead of the eagle feasting on your flesh, day after day, there are nails and thorns, mockery and perpetual denial? 
The hour that was, and is, and is to come?

The last and lasting hour? 
Writ across time.

What makes it last? 
I fear to ask, 
dreading my own complicity in the permanence of that punishment.

Instead, then, turning my face away, I’ll ask a different question. With the same words, though – 
What makes it last
What makes this final
Whose last hour is this?

It is yours – obviously yours – my Lord. Jesus’ final hour. 
Come the sound of the bells at 3pm, Christ will be dead. 

But, Jesus, you were God – God come to Earth. So this must, in some sense at least, be God’s last hour too? 
Over the next forty minutes or so, here will we sit on our hands, whilst God dies on a cross.

But, if this is the death of God, then woe unto me, for surely I am finished. 
For how can I live without my creator who gave me life, 
who formed me in my mother’s womb, 
who is my very breath
If this is God’s last hour, then it is mine also. 
When God dies, surely I must die too. 
I am crucified with him.

I am not ready, Lord. 
I have much left still to do, much I still want to see. 
Give me another of those unending night-time car-journeys, belted up in the back watching street-lamps go by in the driving rain; 
let me sit again in a classroom, staring longingly out of the window at an early-summer-beckoning-school-field;  
let me sit again with those I love
I am not ready for this hour; take this cup away.

You were ready, weren’t you? 
You knew your life was leading you to this point? 
You were younger then than I am now, but still prepared to face that Last Hour. How many years could you have had ahead of you?

Why did you not allow your disciples to fight back? 
Why did you not accept Satan’s offer in the wilderness? 
Why did you not call down angels to take you off that cross? 
It didn’t have to end like that did it?

Did it?

Could you not have achieved what you wanted another way?  
Any other way?

What did you want?

What did you achieve?

Was this the Last Hour for someone else too? 
For something else?

We herald your death on that cross a victory – a victory over sin, and death.

Was this the Last Hour for sin? 
Yes, I guess it was… for in your death, you freed us from its captivity; we are no longer its slaves. 
It is, in this perpetual Last Hour defeated. 
Sin was defeated. 
It is being defeated. 
Sin will be defeated. 
It has no dominion now.

And you, O Death, it is your Last Hour too. 
Now, you have nowhere left to turn; your sting is gone. 
For this is the death to end death. 
In this Last Hour, death dies, 
and life is born.

And so, I am ready for this Last Hour, 
ready to be crucified with Christ, and to die to sin, 
ready to live in newness of life with the risen Christ, 
where death has no dominion any more.

But… that is to come. 
That is Sunday. 
Today is Friday, and it is time for our Last Hour.

Music Set List:


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