Daily Worship

No skipping

Rhona Cathcart March 28, 2023 2 1
Image credit: Unsplash
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Isaiah 53: 5 (NRSVA)

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
    and by his bruises we are healed.

Isaiah’s words are both beautiful and brutal. Jewish scholars connect this passage to the suffering of Israel. Christians believe that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy through his suffering, death and resurrection. It isn’t easy to get our heads around the idea of Jesus ‘dying for our sins’ without getting tangled in an image of an angry vengeful God.

The Sanctuary First study material for this week helps us to combat this unhelpful image with the observation that “to love is to bear the cost of forgiveness”.

Love demands that we recognise that actions have consequences. Forgiveness is neither free nor cheap.

It would be pleasant, and less of a theological knot, if we could skip to Easter Sunday without the mess of Holy Week, with all its betrayal, abandonment, suffering and grief. But skipping to the end is not how we find or generate forgiveness.

That would be cheating. We can’t skip the cost of forgiveness, just as we can’t skip the consequences of our actions.

Engaging with Christ’s suffering helps us walk the journey with him. A journey which isn’t about anger, but about love. Because Jesus is God. The God who chose to suffer rather than let us bear the cost of forgiveness.




God of the cross,

Wounded. Crushed. Punished. Healed.

Powerful words, yet they only brush the surface of the mystery of Christ’s suffering.

Help us this season to enter fully into that mystery,

Acknowledging where we have been wounders

Accepting our need for forgiveness

Astonished at the depth of your love.

We have wounded. We have crushed. We have punished.

You heal.


Lent Disciplines


This week we focus on ‘patience’. Try taking some time each day to quietly spend five minutes in silence, not doing anything, just stilling yourself before God and resting. You don’t need to feel any pressure to think about anything in particular. Don’t worry if you get distracted. Gently calm your mind and, if it wanders, bring it back to the idea of quiet and silence.