Good friday meditation

From Sharon Paine


Good Friday Meditation

This meditation uses imaginary dialogues from people who were at the foot of the cross to remind us of the very human elements of the events of Good Friday. Whilst reading this you might wish to hold a cross or look at a lit candle in order to focus your thoughts. If you are with someone else you may wish to take turns reading the scripture or narratives aloud.

Opening Prayer: -

Lord we pray that we would meet with you in this Good Friday Meditation, when we focus on some of those people who stayed with you at the foot of your cross. Amen. 

1st Reading, Luke 1: 46-55

Mary talks to John at the foot of the cross

“I never doubted him. How could I, after the way he was conceived. The things that happened at his birth, and during his childhood. But I never imagined his time to die would come before mine. I can feel every bruise on his body, every drop of blood he has shed, every tear he has wept. After all we did to protect him. But then I was told “a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

This has to be part of the story we must endure. A steppingstone on the way to the kingdom of God that we have all waited for, for so long. I know this is all part of God’s purpose, but I just don’t want it to be true. Surely there is another way.

But he was never mine to own. Mine was the joy of raising him, but now he must return to God. I can only pray have trust in the Lord.” 


Lord, at the cross you beckon me, in your love for me I am drawn to you. On that cross bruised and crushed you showed me just how much God loves me. Even during that suffering you were transforming people lives. Those present didn’t fully understand what was to come but they were being transformed. Lord when I don’t understand, in moments of doubt or fear, in your love for me I will be drawn gently to my knees and trust in You. 

2nd Reading, Matthew 10:1-8 and 16-25

Thaddaeus addresses Jesus from the foot of the cross

“I don’t think I am strong enough to bear this Master. I’m here waiting for a miracle, for you to do one, to save yourself. You’ve been the only thing in my life that I was certain of. Now what do I do? For three years I have followed you, ever since you came up to me at the water’s edge. I have wrought miracles myself, having followed your teachings. When you talked about the persecution we should all expect I never imagined anything like this. I would die for you, but for what? Will the cause be able to continue? How will we manage to go on without you there to guide us? Please don’t leave us. You must have something planned? I must try and keep your words in my mind. I must try and maintain the faith to go on.”


My small mind can’t comprehend

My simple heart can’t understand

My humble soul can’t take it in

The glory of the cross

I’m grateful that you love me still

And offer that your spirit will

Provide what I cannot fulfill

To glorify the cross. 

(Copyright 2015 Toni Umburger (

3rd Reading, Luke 23: 32-43 

The condemned man at the side of Jesus speaks to his own mother who is present

“I’m so sorry you have to see this, but so glad that you are here as well. I’m sorry for all the hurt I have caused you and others. It just happened, and it got easier as time went on. I’m no innocent, but I never hurt a child or a woman. Just took from those I thought could afford to lose. But I knew the score. This man next to me – he never took from anyone. He only gave. There is something really special about him. He’s pure, and good, just like so many people have been saying. Guess what? He told me that today I would join him in heaven. For some reason I know that’s true, and if he is going to be there, then it’s alright. I’m still petrified of the pain to come, but somehow feel there’s something bigger going on that I don’t yet know. Please don’t worry about me. I am too tired of running, and of fighting, and it stops here.”

For those online you may wish to access this piece of music:- 

For those not online these lyrics can be used for meditation:-

Lord, I offer my life to You
Everything I've been through
Use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
Lifting my praise to You
As a pleasing sacrifice


Lord I offer You my life

Things in the past
Things in the past
Things yet unseen
Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true
All of my hopes
And all of my planes
My heart and my hands are lifted to You

Lord, I offer my life to You
Everything I've been through
Use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
Lifting my praise to You
As a pleasing sacrifice


Lord I offer You my life 

Lord I offer You my life

4th Reading, Mark 15: 33-39

The Roman Centurion’s own thoughts about what he is witnessing

“I’ve never seen such darkness during the daytime. It often gets dark up here at Golgotha when a storm comes, but never this pitch blackness for three hours. And there is no storm. Almost as if the Gods themselves did not want to see what was going on down here. This man here in the middle was calling out to his God, asking why he had been abandoned. Odd, they don’t usually make much noise once up there. But I think we’ve all felt like this in the last few hours. I’ve done this too many times now to let the job get to me. But this time its different. What is getting to me? I think its these people watching. They don’t want to be here, but he obviously means so much to them they want to be close for whatever time he has left. And the rumours about him. All over the place they’re saying he was really something special. If what they say about him is true, and he is the son of God, I’ve just watched him die. And, you know, I think those stories might just be true.”


Purify my heart, let me be as gold and precious silver

Purify my heart, let me be as gold pure gold

Refiner’s fire, my hearts one desire

Is to be holy, set apart for you Lord

I choose to be holy set apart for you my Master

Ready to do your will.

Purify my heart, cleanse me from within and make me holy

Purify my heart, cleanse me from my sin deep within

Refiner’s fire, my hearts one desire

Is to be holy, set apart for you Lord

I choose to be holy set apart for you my Master

Ready to do your will.

(Noel Richards, Copyright 1994 Thankyou Music.)

5th Reading, John 19: 38-42

Joseph of Arimathea speaks to Jesus’ lifeless body

“I never agreed to this. But then I never challenged it openly either did I? I’m so sorry. I was scared of them, but you never were. I should have spoken up. I think there are a few like me, but none of us defended you. I wish I had done the right thing, but it’s too late now.

The only one thing I can do, and that’s to try and get you a decent burial. Your followers won’t get access to Pilate, but I can. I’ll ask if I can bury you before anyone else decides they want to do away with you. I’ll probably get into trouble with the others, but so what? It’s a shame I didn’t risk it before. But I will now. I hope that you will allow me to do this small thing for you. The burial place is lovely, a peaceful spot in a garden. It’s not much, but at least it’s something I can do.” 


Lord, I know that there is nothing that I can do to add to Your finished work on the cross, but I pray that by faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit I may present my life as a living sacrifice and thank offering to You, for Your goodness and grace to me, a sinner saved by God's grace. May I never forget the great price that You paid for my sins and give me I pray, a heart to love You more and a faith that stands firm in the truth of Your word - this I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ my Saviour, Amen

Closing Prayer

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, vv 3- 4

See from His head, His hands, His feet

Sorrow and love flow mingled down

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet

All thorns composed so rich a crown

Where the whole realm of Nature mine

That were an offering far too small

Love so amazing so divine

Demands my soul, my life, my all. Amen. Isaac Watts (1674-1748).


a thought for now, up to good friday

The Story of Self - based on Readings 1 John 2: 16-17, Romans 6: 6-9 and Luke's Gospel 9: 21-24

  In a land, not so far away, lived a tribe of Egos. The life quest of the Ego, even without thinking about it, was to end God created life on Planet Earth. Broadly it is a tale of how needs became Wants and Wants joined forces with Ambition to become a powerful motivating force.

But, and quite a big but, the great fallibility of the tribe is that every Ego thinks it is superior to every other Ego, which makes it an ideal working partner of Status, ensuring that both are completely detached from physical reality. Thus, placing both within the alliance of spiritual tormentors and motivations.

Spiritual entities who’s sole desire is to control the physical being.

This enslavement of the physical also involves many sub-species of Ego, such as Exploitation, Greed, Waste and Choice, a great ally of Waste and promoter of the unnecessary.

Many years ago,a rather unusual man, actually warned people of the insidious power of the Ego, which he referred to as,”The Self”. He offered ways of facing up to them and resisting them, but they were in a powerful position and broadly speaking he was ignored. So they crucified him, just as they may crucify us all eventually, thus achieving their objective.

Inspired by the writings of C.S. Lewis 



Sadly, our Church Buildings are no longer open.

Not even for weddings, baptisms or funerals.

Assistance during Isolation

Alison Dale and some of the churchwardens (see below, marked with *) have a list of contacts who can help or provide a service to everyone in the Group, from walking a dog to supplying take-away meals. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more, or wish to make an offer of assistance to others.


Priest-in-Charge Rev’d Jane Weeks: 01303 840219 (Monday to Thursday. Jane is not available on Thursday evenings and all-day Friday)

Associate Priest Rev’d Stephen Dougal: 07764775507

Pastoral Team Leader Paul Jarvis:

*Benefice Administrator: Alison Dale: 07985025381 (Thu-Fri 9-11am)


Elham *Peter Swain 01303 840408 - *Graham Ernest-Jones 01303 840645

Acrise*Simon Smith 01303 892162 - Martin Bradley 01303 864289

Denton & Wootton Sue Clough 01303 844324.

Lyminge Phil Hawken 01303 862151

Stanford *Sara Myers 01303 814183 - *Paul Smallwood 01303 813198

Postling Peter Le Feuvre - Chris Reynolds

Paddlesworth Celia Mosley 01303 893609 - *Lindsey Smith

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ways we can continue to worship together in spirit


At 8am every morning, the Ministry Team will be saying morning prayer - do join us in spirit!

And every Sunday at 10am, Rev'd Jane will be doing a service of Holy Communion (BCP Common Worship Order 2) - please contact Alison Dale for a copy of the words!


Here are some links for further resources from Canterbury Diocese and the Church of England:


NEW: some excellent resources and Apps for prayer



A Service of Daily Prayer

The Lord's Prayer...


Virtual Church of England service

The cathedral will live stream a midday Eucharist and Evensong at 5.30 p.m. weekdays, and at 3.15 p.m. weekends. Please follow this link to access the live stream on YouTube: 


the patch of blue

A poem by Father Andrew of the Society of Divine Compassion

The Patch of Blue

A small book 4 x 3 inches sits on my shelf. It was written by Father Andrew of the Society of Divine Compassion in 1942. He was a priest friar whose church in London was bombed twice and yet, busy as he was, took time to write this little book of poems. His desire was to lift the spirits of the British people, much as we need now, during this current crisis. Inside the cover is the name of the original owner, James H Trench, along with his service number and base address. The following poem may lift flagging spirits today, as it did then, and is Father Andrew’s gift of love.

The sky was grey and, so it seemed to me, 

The kind of grey that hovers threateningly

Above the world with all its fear and hate,

A lid to shut men down, not heaven’s gate.

Dear God, forgive me! That were never true, -

I looked again and saw a patch of blue.

One little patch of blue, but oh, so pure,

Where the grey parted, just to make me sure

The blue was there behind the shrouding grey.

That patch of blue gave courage to my day.

Friend of my heart, I pass the thought to you,

In your grey sky there’s still a patch of blue.

Grey days of duty and grey days of pain,

Grey days of weariness, again, again!

Yea, well I know it, but faith, hope, and love

Abide unconquered, and you yet shall prove

The sky holds still somewhere its patch of blue.

Here I have seen it: you shall see it too.

‘Tis grey to us maybe and wearily

We toil along; but we have had bright days;

While others wept we sang our songs of praise.

If now we only see a leaden hue,

Another’s eyes have spied a patch of blue.

Even when Christ our Lord for you and me

Breathed His last sigh of death on Calvary,

In all that darkness Love was still enthroned

And, though with bramble, royally was crowned.

Then came Ascension Day, when He passed through,

And skies for ever since have kept their blue!


Message from Rev'd Stephen Dougal

We have received advice from our Bishop that all acts of public worship are suspended for the foreseeable future. We have therefore moved into a whole new way of doing Church for the present, which means no meetings, even with two or three gathered in the Lords name, as per Matthew 18. 

Jesus commanded us to love God and to love our neighbours, with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. Loving our neighbour doesn’t just mean being nice to one another, it means actively looking after and safeguarding one another, as we would do to ourselves. This virus is a wretched one, which has the potential to affect each one of us, with someone close even dying from it, let alone all those thousands already around the world who have died. Look how it has already transmitted itself from one person in China to millions around the world through personal contact in a matter of months. It is a very serious and deadly thing. The Government, with the support of most politicians, have very sensibly been increasing the response in our country in a measured way and we have a Christian duty to follow that advice. This means no unnecessary gatherings, including Church services, home communions and other parish meetings. 

There are a few practical things we can do to help our community but one of the best things we can do is to pray, and it really doesn’t matter if we are praying alone at home, because God hears everything we ask wherever we may be. It doesn’t matter that we are not the two or three gathered together in one place – we are actually many more, praying in different places, and God hears us regardless. Pray especially for those who have been directly affected, and for those in our communities who are at most risk: For those who have no choice but to place themselves at risk, those who must continue to work; like our doctors, nurses, first responders, public transport workers, supermarket workers, shop keepers and others. Pray for anyone who has a job that brings them close to other people, as they are at risk. We must also pray for those who have lost or will lose their jobs because of this. The economic fallout from this is going to be huge, with many companies (including large ones) failing or having to downsize to survive. We must also pray for those who have lost love ones, for whom this is a most difficult time beyond any inconvenience of not being able to carry on the usual timetable of their daily lives. Every human life is precious, and God is very mindful of our emotions in such times. Jesus himself wept at the grave of Lazarus his friend, and God weeps with us, and those who have lost loved ones. 

Finally, while we hope and pray that this emergency will soon be over, we should always remember that God is with us throughout these dark times. It is certainly going to be tough, but the virus will eventually go, and then in God’s good time we can all get back to our normal lives. 

Please do stay safe and stay away from any unnecessary gatherings. 





Live stream services from canterbury cathedral

The cathedral will live stream a midday Eucharist and Evensong at 5.30 p.m. weekdays, and at 3.15 p.m. weekends. Please follow this link to access the live stream on YouTube: 

And as Bishop Rose said... Let's:

Keep people well

Keep people praying

Keep connected


Heavenly Father,
your Son Jesus Christ knew loneliness when his friends departed from him,
strengthen this day we pray all those who find themselves alone for safety’s sake.
Teach those isolated from their communities new ways of life,
open up new possibilities for those who feel without hope,
and help us all to know that you are always with us,
as our guardian, and our guide, and our friend,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Love and prayers



a family activity

A Game based on the Books of the Bible


Books of the bible games

This memory game with illustrated Books of the Bible Cards helps players become more familiar with the various books of the Bible. You can also use this game to introduce the different sections of the Bible.  Ages: 6 and above Group Size: 2 or more

Supplies: Books of the Bible Cards (see separate document)


Download, print and cut up 2 sets of the Books of the Bible Cards.
There are 66 cards in each set, corresponding to the 66 Books of the Bible.

How to Play

You may want to play this game on the floor as a fairly large playing area is required. Alternatively, if there are space constraints, consider the variations below.

Shuffle both sets of Books of the Bible Cards together and place them all facing down.

The youngest player starts and turns over two cards.
If the two cards match, he/she keeps the cards and turns over another two cards.
If the cards don’t match, he/she turns them back face down and the turn passes to the next player. Continue playing until all the cards have been collected.

The player with the most matching pairs wins.

Variation 1: Play with Fewer Cards

Playing with the full 2 sets of 66 cards can be challenging and perhaps discouraging for some players.

Consider playing with Old Testament and New Testament cards separately:
In one session, you can play with only the Old Testament cards (2 sets of 39 cards).
In another separate session, play with only the New Testament cards (2 sets of 27 cards).

Variation 2: Play with Even Fewer Cards

For younger children, you may like to play with even fewer cards.
For each session of play, you can play with cards belonging to only one or more of these sections of the Bible:
1. Old Testament: Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy)
2. Old Testament: History (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther)
3. Old Testament: Poetry (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs)
4. Old Testament: Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel)
5. Old Testament: Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi)
6. New Testament: Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
7. New Testament: History (Acts)
8. New Testament: Letters from Paul (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon)
9. New Testament: General Letters (Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John and Jude)
10. New Testament: Prophecy (Revelation)

Variation 3: Match Cards Belonging to the Same Section of the Bible

Instead of matching two identical cards, allow the matching of any two cards as long as they belong to the same section of the Bible.

For example, you can match “Genesis” with any card from the Old Testament Law Section, i.e. “Genesis”, “Exodus”, “Leviticus”, “Numbers” or “Deuteronomy”.

You can play this variation with the full 2 sets of 66 cards, or with fewer cards as in Variations 1 and 2 above.

Bible Lesson – Books of the Bible

1. Did you enjoy this game?
2. Was it easy to match the Books of the Bible Cards?

The Bible is not one single book, but a collection of 66 smaller books that tell one unified story.
These 66 books of the Bible are organized into sections.
Being familiar with how the Bible is organized helps us quickly find specific passages in the Bible.

3. The Bible is divided into two main parts. What are the names of these parts?
4. What are some differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament?

5. How are the 39 books of the Old Testament organized?
6. What are the 5 sections of the Old Testament called?
7. How would you describe each of these 5 sections?

8. How are the 27 books of the New Testament organized?
9. What are these 5 sections called?
10. How would you describe each of these 5 sections?

11. How important is it for us to know the organization of the Bible into the various sections that we have just discussed?

Being familiar with the 66 books of the Bible and how they are organized helps us more quickly locate specific passages in the Bible. More importantly, knowing which section of the Bible a passage is taken from gives us an idea of its genre and helps us understand the passage better.

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Events and Messages

Messages from our ministry team and notices of events


THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED! Lent Fellowship Evenings

6.30pm - 8pm

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THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED! Lent Fellowship Evenings

  "Live simply, live."  Ignatian spiritual exercises for every day. “Time for God - time for reflection” on Mondays in March;  2nd at St Mar...

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6.30pm - 8pm



Week of Accompanied Prayer

9.30am - 10.30am

St Mary's, Elham

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Week of Accompanied Prayer

TO BE CONFIRMED DUE TO THE HEALTH CRISIS                                                                                                    ...

Event Details

9.30am - 10.30am

St Mary's, Elham