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Conversations - Simon of Cyrene 

Today begins a series of reflections in which Baptist minister John Rackley seeks to describe a possible response of some of the people who were intimately involved in the 24 hours before the death of Jesus. Each reflection is accompanied by suggestions for scripture reading and prayer.

John first performed them as part of the Good Friday Service at Bath Abbey. Some have already been featured on John's blog; today and each day next week - beginning Monday 30 March - a new reflection will be published both in the blog and The Baptist Times. 


Simon of Cyrene: Mark 15:20-32

My family told me they could see something had happened.
All they needed to do was look at my face.
The boys told me later in life they were terrified.
I looked like I had stared into the pit of hell.

Titian - Christ Carrying the C
Titian: Christ Carrying the Cross - Wikimedia Commons

It wasn’t what they were expecting.
My wife had been preparing for the Sabbath.
She had expected me home early.
This was going to be a special time,
more special than usual;
we were not only back in Israel from years of exile,
but celebrating a Sabbath in Passover
and what’s more
within sight and sound of the sacrifices
of Passover.
This was going to be a wonderful celebration
of all that God meant to our Faith.
But because I was made to carry a cross
I was fit for nothing.
When my wife is worried she gets angry.
The questions follow.
Who made you do that?
The Romans – of course, occupation gives them every right
And us none at all.
Whose cross was it?
Jesus – another fake king.
Did no one help you?
Women? What women?
There’s always women when one of those miracle-men are around.
Then she started fussing.
She could see I was not ready to answer sensibly.
I heard he died quickly.
When you are crucified you have nothing left to give but your life.
Alexander and Rufus found out more.
They met some of his friends.
The rumours of a return from death.
The official denials.
It’s beyond me.
But if you want to know what it means to carry a cross at Passover, then I can tell you.
You are nobody.
You are wasted.
You are everyone’s sacrifice.
You are beyond the touch of God.
You are good for nothing but to be forgotten.

Lord Jesus Christ – helped by a stranger from Africa-
Pour your grace on all
who have no one to turn to
who are everyone’s victim
who give the hospitality of the stranger 
Forgive the people who bear your name when they overlook the victims of their faith
And by your compassion transform us all. 


John Rackley is a Baptist minister who blogs at windingquest.wordpress.com

Further conversations can be found on his blog


Baptist Times, 27/03/2015
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We could make a game-changing contribution by acting together, writes Andy Atkins, CEO of Christian nature conservation organisation A Rocha UK
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Many victims / survivors of exploitation access services from churches, writes Dan Pratt, editor of a new book exploring faith responses to modern slavery
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