Palm Sunday Prayer 2013

Palm Sunday Prayer.001

I had hoped to use a more contemporary image of the triumphal entry but because of the challenge of getting permission decided to use this instead. However I thought that you might like to see some of the beautiful images I have come across.

I particularly like this one by Dinah Roe Kendall who lives in the U.K

And this by Townsville artist Jan Hynes

Or this by William Hemmerling


Resources for Holy Week #2: Stations of the Cross

This year I thought that I would separate out the stations of the Cross from other Good Friday resources as I know many churches like to have Stations of the Cross available for people to walk throughout Holy Week. This year I tried to put together a collection from around the world attempting to highlight some of the challenging issues of our turbulent world that are portrayed. Most of the images are far from the traditional stations of the cross though I have ended the collection with a mimed rendition of Sandi Patty’s Via Dolorosa. If there are other international images you think should be a part of this collection please add them in the comments. Enjoy!

From Australia

Stations of the Cross by Indigenous Australian Shirley Purdue via

From New Zealand 

This series comes from Hamilton New Zealand

Cityside Baptist church in Auckland New Zealand has held an exhibit of contemporary icons to reflect on at Easter for a number of years. The photos shown were taken at their 2002 and 2004 presentations.

From Middle East and Sudan – 

Here is a heartrending presentation of the stations of the Cross using images of refugees from Iraq and Sudan as spectators and participants.  (The stations of the Cross are down the side of the post)

I also came across this  interesting set of Jordanian stamps which  Mansour Mouasher has found depicting the Stations of the Cross.

From South America

very powerful presentation of the stations from the perspective of liberation theology by Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina

From Asia

I enjoyed meditating on this series by a nun in Bangalore India

And another very beautiful, Korean Stations of the Cross by Korean sculptor Choi Jong-tae from Myeong-dong Cathedral.

From Africa

I love this stations of the cross from Hekima College, Nairobi, Kenya. The designs were created by Father Angelbert M. Vang SJ from Yaoude, from the Cameroon who was a well-known historian, poet, musician and designer and executed by a Kenyan artist.

This meditation is a poignant reminder of those who struggle daily to carry crosses we cannot even imagine.

From U.K.

This Stations of the Cross series by Chris Gollon was commissioned by the Church of England for the Church of St John on Bethnal Green, in East London. Gollon took the unusual step of using his own son as the model for Jesus, his daughter as Mary, and his wife as Veronica. Fr Alan Green is cast as Nicodemus, and David Tregunna (Gollon’s friend and agent) as Joseph of Arimathea. The juxtaposition of real figures with imagined ones creates a heightened sense of reality. I think that the images are both compelling and powerful.

From Netherlands

I found this mimed rendition of Sandy Patti’s Via Dolorosa very refreshing.


A Prayer for the Third Sunday of Lent

I posted this prayer on the Light for the Journey Facebook page earlier in the week and it was so popular that I thought I would share it here too. The beginning of next week we will be about half way through the journey of Lent and I think that many of us begin to feel a little weary at this point.

God go with you in your journey.001

A Reflection for Ash Wednesday 2013


Playing for the ashes… it conjures up for many of us (at least from the British Commonwealth) the test cricket match between Australia and England, probably one of the most fiercely fought international games.  But that is not what I am writing about here.  The ashes that I am thinking of have nothing to do with a game but with Ash Wednesday which ushers in probably the most serious event of history – Jesus final days and his walk towards the Cross.

For many of us today (yes it is already Ash Wednesday in Australia) marks the beginning of a personal journey too as we join Jesus in his final days. Unfortunately many of us treat the season of Lent like a game – more like the cricket match called the Ashes than like the serious turn around time it is meant to be.  We come to the season with a list of trivial things we intend to give up – TV, video games, chocolate, but most of us don’t really take the season seriously or use it as a time to dig deeply into our hearts to sweep out the corners in which sin has accumulated.

Burning the ashes

Burning the ashes

The ashes used in church services on Ash Wednesday are traditionally made by burning the Palm Sunday crosses from the previous year so this year I decided to experiment. My Palm Sunday cross from last year was still sitting in my office, so I burnt it, reminding myself that the repentance I seek at this season is only possible because of the incomprehensible gift of Christ and his death on a cross 2,000 years ago. 

Burning my Palm Sunday cross had a big impact on me. It reminded me that the crucifixion is not really meant to be the focus of our mourning and fasting. We mourn and fast not because we are heading to the cross but because we want to shed all that disrupts our intimate walk with God. We look beyond the cross to the life of God’s kingdom. Asking myself what still needs to be repented of and transformed in  my life so that I can be an effective citizen of God’s resurrection created world is probably the most important question of Lent. I want to become all that God intends me to be. I want to leave behind all that prevents me from becoming that person. I want to thirst for righteousness and hunger for justice rather than for water and food.

St Patrick’s Creeds

St Patrick

St patrick via

Saturday is St Patrick’s Day. As I have posted a responsive prayer and some links to Patrick’s Breastplate and other prayers in the past as well a post with his Prayer for the Faithful I thought that this year I would post his creeds instead. I have found two that are attributed to Patrick – both very compelling and worth a read.

Creeds of St. Patrick

 St. Patrick, from his Confession

There is no other God,
nor ever was, nor will be,
than God the Father unbegotten,
without beginning,
from whom is all beginning,
the Lord of the universe,
as we have been taught;
and His son Jesus Christ,
whom we declare to have always
been with the Father, spiritually and
ineffably begotten by the Father
before the beginning of the world,
before all beginning;and by Him are made all things
visible and invisible.
He was made man, and,
having defeated death,
was received into heaven by the Father;

and He hath given Him all
power over all names in heaven,
on earth, and under the earth,
and every tongue shall confess
to Him that Jesus Christ is Lord and God,
in whom we believe, and whose advent
we expect soon to be,
judge of the living and of the dead,
who will render to every man
according to his deeds; and

He has poured forth upon us
abundantly the Holy Spirit,
the gift and pledge of immortality,
who makes those who believe
and obey sons of God and
joint heirs with Christ;
and Him do we confess and adore,
one God in the Trinity of the Holy Name.

–.Another Creed by St Patrick

Our God, God of all men,
God of heaven and earth, sea and rivers,
God of sun and moon, of all the stars,
God of high mountains and of lowly valleys,
God over heaven, and in heaven, and under heaven.

He has a dwelling
in heaven and earth and sea
and in all things
that arc in them.

He inspires all things,
He quickens all things,
He is over all things,
He supports all things.

He makes the light of the sun to shine,
He surrounds the moon and stars, and
He has made wells in the arid earth, placed dry islands in the sea
and stars for the service of the greater luminaries.

He has a Son coeternal with Himself,
like to Himself;
not junior is Son to Father,
nor Father senior to the Son.

And the Holy Spirit
breathes in them;
not separate are Father
and Son and Holy Spirit.

Fall In Love – Prayer By Father Pedro Arrupe

Father Pedro Arrupe

Father Pedro Arrupe via

The following prayer is attributed to Father Pedro Arrupe (1903- 1991) from the Basque region of Spain who became the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus. I was first given this prayer on a card several years ago but have recently also come across it on Ignatian

It may seem like an unusual one to publish as a Lenten prayer but Lent is meant to be about re-evaluating our life focus. Finding and falling in love with God really does change everything in a way that is totally transformative of our lives.

Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is,

than falling in love in a quite absolute final way.

What you are in love with,

what seizes your imagination,

will affect everything.

It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,

what you do with your evenings,

how you spend your weekend,

what you read, who you know,

what breaks your heart,

and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love,

stay in love,

and it will decide everything.


Lenten Prayers: St Augustine of Hippo

St Augustine by Philille de Champaigne

St Augustine by Philille de Champaigne via Wikipedia

I have come across two prayers this last week that are Lenten prayers written by St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430) which I wanted to share this afternoon.

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.
Guard me, O Holy Spirit, that I myself may always be holy.

— Augustine of Hippo (from Huffington Post )

The following confessional prayer of St. Augustine, is also very much in the spirit of Lent.

O Lord,
the house of my soul is narrow;
enlarge it that you may enter in.
It is ruinous, O repair it!
It displeases your sight.
I confess it, I know.
But who shall cleanse it,
to whom shall I cry but to you?
Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord,
and spare your servant from strange sins.

You may also like to read this sermon on Lent that Augustine wrote.

Walk On – U2’s Lenten Anthem

Today’s post was submitted by Lee Wyatt who blogs at God’s Word, Our Words, and The World.


U2 Album All That You Can't Leave Behind

U2 Album All That You Can't Leave Behind - image via Amazon

The album cover says it all. A virtually empty airport concourse with only Bono and the boys gathered together awaiting their flight to be called. The album is All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000). The album cover suggests that it is each other that we can’t leave behind as we journey into the future. Yet there are not an abundance of “others” who will brave this journey with us. So we treasure those who do and count on them to hold us accountable and support us with what is necessary to journey well.

“Walk On” is perhaps the leading song on this album. The song is dedicated to Myanmar political dissident, author, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi who has chosen separation from her family and a comfortable academic life in Oxford to live under house arrest in Myanmar and struggle with her people for freedom and justice. In these respects, Aung San Suu Kyi stands as a prototype of a Lenten journey.

Michael Gilmour ( draws some apt comparisons between Suu Kyi and the prophet Jeremiah which Bono highlights by the reference to J33-3 added to the album to the left of the group on the airport ceiling. Bringing Jeremiah into relation to Suu Kyi adds commitment to the biblical God to fill out the profile of a Lenten journeyer.

Let’s look at “Walk On,” then, as the theme for a Lenten Journey.

And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage that you can bring…
And love is not the easy thing…
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can’t leave behind

Love is the ultimate destination of a Lenten journey, for God is love. Yet this journey is no light or easy matter. Undertaken with serious intention, a Lenten journey is like a home improvement project. It will cost more, take longer, and make a bigger mess than you ever imagined. U2 signals this cost with the claim that “the only baggage you can bring is all that you can’t leave behind.”

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it’s a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong

Walk on, walk on
What you got they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on, walk on…
Stay safe tonight

This journey is long and difficult (see U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” on The Joshua Tree album). We sometimes walk in darkness for long seasons. So long, that our fragile hearts start to break. We reconsider the trek and to turn back sounds sane and comforting. Do not do it, U2 pleads. Keep on walking! The gift you have in the love of God can’t be taken from you; indeed, that which tempts you to stop and turn back has not even a glimmer of the preciousness of this gift. The safety on this journey is to keep on walking, with and toward those who long to join you on the trek.

You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

Walk on, walk on
What you’ve got they can’t deny it
Can’t sell it, or buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

We don’t know where we’re going; we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor.5:7). It is tempting and easy to leave the road but our desire for God, his love and freedom, keep our feet on the way. We walk on, lured ahead by the gift we know in part and can be had in full only in this way.

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Home… hard to know what it is if you’ve never had one
Home… I can’t say where it is but I know I’m going home
That’s where the hurt is

and I know it aches
How your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Leave it behind
You got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you feel
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress-up
All that you scheme…

Nevertheless, a Lenten journey is undeniably difficult. It hurts. It costs almost everything precious to us. Nothing less than our whole-hearted passion to reach the end of journey, even if it costs us everything else, to get there, will do. Whatever we must leave behind, we do. All that can only weigh us down and wear us out. And when we reach the end, we discover that home, well, “that’s where the hurt is.” Our Lenten journey indeed ends with God, but the God we meet there is the broken-hearted God of Christian faith who continues to long for and struggle towards the shalom we designed his creation for in the beginning. Nonetheless, we walk on, walk on.

So, friends, walk on this Lent. Face the pain, shed all that is not necessary for this journey, link arms with fellow-travelers, keep going even when you don’t feel like you can take another step, for One unseen is with you. He whom you journey toward is already with you on the path. He will sustain you, he will lure you on with his love, he will meet you in whatever way you have need as you walk on, walk on.

Prayers for the Journey

This week’s prayers have focused on the season of Lent. You may also like to check out this prayer that I wrote for the first Sunday of Lent

God you are always ready to forgive,

Bend down and hear us,

Respond to our repentant cries,

Purify our hearts and cleanse our souls,

That we may honour and serve you.


God may I seek your light that only shines in darkness,

May I seek you truth only unveiled in the wilderness,

May I seek your reality only revealed in the struggles of life.


May we put on ashes

And mourn the death sin has caused in our lives

May we seek God’s pardon and embrace God’s salvation

May we journey beyond the Cross and find new life


Let us put on ashes and mourn,

Let us fast and weep,

Let us tear our hearts and repent,

So that we can return to the Lord our God,

Who is compassionate and merciful.


Jesus may we journey with you into the wilderness,

And move beyond the ordinary,

May we discover your unexpected sacred places,

That reveal you in a new light and make for us all things new.


May we follow Jesus on the pilgrim way of Lent,

May we journey with him beyond the cross to new light,

Until the One who transfigures the world with the spirit of life shines in our faces.

Ash Wednesday – Mourning the Death Sin Has Caused in Our Lives

Jesus helped by Simon

Journey thorugh Lent beyond the cross to resurrection

Ash Wednesday ranks with Good Friday as one of the busiest days on my blog. For many of us these days mark the beginning and ending of a journey as we walk with Jesus through the final days of his life to the cross. However the cross is not really meant to be the focus of our mourning and fasting. We mourn and fast not because we are heading to the cross but because we are wanting to shed all the hinderances that keep us from an intimate walk with God.

Lent is about looking beyond the cross to the life of God’s kingdom. Asking myself what still needs to be repented of and transformed in  my life so that I can be an effective citizen of God’s resurrection created world is probably the most important question of Lent.

I want to become all that God intends me to be. I want to leave behind all that hinders me from becoming that person. I want to thirst for righteousness and hunger for justice rather than for water and food as I wrote in the prayer I posted yesterday for the first Sunday of Lent .

It is not an easy journey, but then neither was Jesus journey through the cross to resurrection.