Good Friday – an invitation to contribute

This coming Good Friday, we will “gaze upon the one whom they pierced” (John 19:37 / Zechariah 12:10).

You can have a part in this service. Here’s a simple invitation:

1. Pray. Spend a little time in prayer considering Jesus’ crucifixion. Place yourself in the scene, perhaps at the foot of the cross. Observe Jesus. Suffering. Bleeding. Dying. Forgiving.

2. Record. Consider what comes up for you, then take a short video (from your phone is fine) to record your thoughts in the following format, filling in the blanks with your own words:

  • When I look upon the one who was pierced I see ___________.
  • When I look upon the one who was pierced I am ___________.

Here’s an example: “When I look upon the one they have pierced I see unconditional love“. When I look upon the one they have pierced I am humbled.”

3. Send. Share the video (keep them very short – 20 seconds max) with Andrew at the office. We will compile all the videos into a collage of short reflections to be used in our Good Friday Service online and in-person.

 

Thanks for your participation!

Deadline for video submissions is March 29.

 

Good Friday Service:

April 2, 2021, 7pm.

Online (via Facebook) and In-Person.

 

 

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Good Friday Stations – Fasting & Prayer – Resurrection Sunday

The events celebrated during Holy Week are epic. Jesus’ passion, crucifixion, burial and resurrection are not only central to the Christian calendar, they are the central events of all of history. However, most of us skip over the discomfort and pain of Good Friday preferring to jump straight to Easter Sunday – joyfully imbibing all the excitement and energy of the resurrection. We are right to be excited and energized by Jesus’ resurrection (and our eventual resurrection too, by the way!). However, in our excitement for Sunday, we miss the gifts offered in Good Friday and Holy Saturday. If we resist the urge to short-circuit, and if we linger in the way of the cross on Good Friday, and the nothingness of Holy Saturday, our celebration on Sunday will take on a whole other quality. Light is most brilliant when juxtaposed with darkness.

Here’s what’s up this Easter at the Vineyard:

Palm Sunday (April 14, 10am):

Andy will be teaching about Fasting in order to prepare us for our community fast from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday.

Good Friday (April 19, 7pm)

Stations of the Cross Service & Exhibit

This year we will be worshipping together, and considering the Stations of the Cross through the eyes of one particular artist along with meditations from Scripture. Here’s what he writes about the images like the one above:

“The Stations of the Cross began as a practice of pilgrims going to Jerusalem who would retrace the final journey of Jesus to the hill where He was crucified. For the many who wanted to pass along the same route, but couldn’t make the trip to Jerusalem, a practice developed that eventually took the form of the Stations of the Cross that you can find in many churches today.

This journey to the cross is not only a meditation of Jesus accomplishing what He came to do – the redemption of humanity through His own willful sacrifice – but its also a contemplation of Jesus silently participating in some of the worst aspects of being human. Being tempted. Being betrayed by a friend. Being convicted in an unjust system. Physical pain. Mockery. Broken family relationships. Public humiliation. And a lot of our greatest fears… having to die. These are all aspects of human life that he was not insulated from. In fact on the cross he quotes King David saying “My God My God, Why have you forsaken me?”… as if to say ”Why is it like this?” He was one who was not separate from our own pain.

I don’t think our deepest question is “Is there a God?”
I think our deepest question is “Is there a God that’s with us in all this?”

These stations are a cross-section of elements, ideas, and objects from Jesus’ journey of being with us. As you work through these stations, may you see the that we are not troubled guests in this world… that we are not forgotten… and that the good news of this season was expressed best by Jesus when he said “in this world you’ll experience many trials. But take heart…. I have overcome the world.”

~ Scott Erickson

Fasting & Prayer: Friday – Sunday

Our Fasting will begin on Friday continue through Holy Saturday, a day of apparent nothingness, and be broken on Sunday.  The seed placed in the ground. Waiting. Our fasting echoes this “giving up” that Jesus did. This discipline isn’t to earn favour, nor is it an attempt to twist God’s arm into getting something you want. Rather, it’s a physical act of solidarity with Jesus. It’s a discipline and it’s a pain. Every time your stomach reminds you that you’re hungry you can recall what Jesus did and is doing, and you can offer a prayer – you can be reminded that ultimately we rely on Jesus for sustenance. When we break the fast on Sunday morning, we are rising with him – emerging from darkness to the glorious light of his resurrection – feasting on the new life He has for us and the whole world!

 

Resurrection Sunday (April 21, 10am)

Of course, this brings us to Easter Sunday. We will party, worship and celebrate God’s accomplishment all morning. Emerging from the shadows of the weekend, and blinking from the dazzling, blinding light of the resurrection, we will celebrate the first stunning glimmers of the new creation – and we’ll invite more (and He’ll show up)!

You are encouraged to contribute to the festive atmosphere in any number of the following ways:

>>Bring an acoustic instrument (drums, rattles, guitars, etc) or any other tool of worship.

>>Bring plants or flowers to decorate the space with signs of life.

>>Bring your Dancing Shoes (literally and figuratively).

 

Easter at the Vineyard

The events celebrated during Holy Week are epic. Jesus’ passion, crucifixion, burial and resurrection are not only central to the Christian calendar, they are the central events of all of history. In terms of importance Easter ranks higher than Christmas – a fact that is lost on most of our children and many of us adults too. We just like the cradle more than the cross. In a similar way, we typically skip over the discomfort and pain of Good Friday preferring to jump straight to Easter Sunday – joyfully imbibing all the excitement and energy of the resurrection. We are right to be excited and energized by Jesus’ resurrection (and our eventual resurrection too, by the way!). However, in our excitement for Sunday, we miss the gifts offered in Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

If we resist the urge to short-circuit, and if we linger in the way of the cross on Good Friday, and the nothingness of Holy Saturday, our celebration on Sunday will take on a whole other quality. Light is most brilliant when juxtaposed with darkness.

Here’s what’s up this Easter at the Vineyard:

Palm Sunday (March 25):

Joyce Rees from Epic Vineyard in Calgary will be sharing with us. She will be here with a team.

 

Good Friday (March 30): Into the Shadows

Walk of the Cross, 6pm – 6:45pm

During this year’s Walk of the Cross we will journey with Jesus as we read and listen to the scriptures concerning his final supper in Jerusalem, the agony of the knowledge of what was to come in Gethsemane, his betrayal on the Mount of Olives and his Trial in Jerusalem. As we walk with the physical cross we will stop at various points throughout the neighbourhood to consider our own crosses – find our own ways to connect with Jesus on this guided journey. Wear appropriate attire and walking shoes. This event will be child friendly. The Walk of the Cross leads thematically into the Good Friday Service – we recommend that you participate in both.

Good Friday Service, 7pm – 8pm

Then we’ll come back to 782 Main St. for our Good Friday Service to consider and experience his journey to what they called Golgotha, the “place of the skull”, where he was crucified. We will also be with him as they laid his body in the tomb. This service will employ all the senses. It will be a visceral experience. We encourage everyone to participate in both the Walk of the Cross and this service, however if you can’t make it on the walk, you’re still welcome to join this Good Friday service. Children are welcome (we will talk about death and the crucifixion and will nail our own stuff to the cross, literally, but it won’t be gratuitous). We end by placing the cross in the basement.

Fasting: Friday – Sunday

Our Fasting will begin on Friday continue through Holy Saturday, a day of apparent nothingness, and be broken on Sunday.  The seed placed in the ground.  Waiting. Our fasting echoes this “giving up” that Jesus did. You can fast for the whole weekend, or part of it. You can choose to fast from food, or anything else you feel God may be inviting you to give up. Ask him. This small sacrifice isn’t to earn favour, nor is it an attempt to twist God’s arm into getting something you want. Rather, it’s a physical act of solidarity with Jesus. It’s a discipline and it’s a pain. Every time your stomach reminds you that you’re hungry (or every time you go to check your phone – if you’re fasting from social media), etc, you can recall what Jesus did and is doing, and you can offer a prayer. When we break the fast on Sunday morning, we are rising with him – emerging from darkness to the glorious light of his resurrection – feasting on the new life he has for us and the whole world!

 

Darkness to Light (God’s Joke): Sunday, 10am

Of course, this brings us to Easter Sunday. We will party, worship and celebrate God’s accomplishment all morning. Emerging from the shadows of the weekend, and blinking from the dazzling, blinding light of the resurrection, we will celebrate the first stunning glimmers of the new creation – and we’ll invite more (and he’ll show up)! On April Fool’s day, we will celebrate God’s great surprise ending – the ultimate joke.

You are encouraged to contribute to the festive atmosphere in any number of the following ways:

>>Bring an acoustic instrument (drums, rattles, guitars, etc) or any other tool of worship.

>>Bring plants or flowers to decorate the space with signs of life. You’ll be invited to bring your items forward at a specific time in the service. Afterwards, you can gift your flowers to someone in our community as an act of sharing God’s love with them. 

>>Bring your Dancing Shoes (literally and figuratively).

 

 

Invitations to Lent

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer. ~ 1978 Book of Common Prayer

Today is Ash Wednesday. Today, we begin the season of Lent – a 40-day preparation for and pilgrimage towards the Holy Triduum (the three days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday) – where we celebrate Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

During Lent, we are especially reminded of the divisive and destructive nature of sin – of the ways in which it dilutes, distracts, and outright opposes loving relationship with God, our neighbours, and creation. Through the illumination and power of the Spirit, we are invited to a vigorous time of struggle against temptation and sin – reminiscent of the Israelites’ 40 days in the wilderness and Jesus’ 40 days in the desert – that we may be led more fully into the life and joy set before us.

This life and joy is the real theme of the season. The English word “Lent” comes from the Old English word lencten, which means “lengthen,” and refers to the time in spring when daylight begins to lengthen. We consider, struggle with, and repent of our sin because God is making all things – including us – new. The glorious daylight of his kingdom is coming and Lent is a way for us to respond to and participate in this exciting renewal.

Christians throughout history have taken on several practices during Lent in order to facilitate this renewal. I commend the following to you as concrete rhythms through which you may more fully enter the heart of the season. May the Father’s love, Jesus’ truth and grace, and the Spirit’s conviction and comfort be with you.


  • Examination and Repentance
    • With his help, ask God where have you sinned against him in thought, word, and deed, by what you have done, and by what you have left undone? Where have you not loved him with your whole heart? Where have you not loved your neighbour as yourself?
    • Trusting in his immeasurable kindness and unquestionable grace, ask God for forgiveness and mercy.
    • Ask God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to strengthen you in all goodnesss that you may be led in the way of life everlasting.
  • Prayer, Fasting, and Generosity
    • Fasting is a form of self-denial whereby we voluntarily set aside something for a time in order to intensify attention to and awareness of God (this attention and awareness is prayer). The things we are most reluctant to set aside are the very things that probably get in the way our life with God.
    • Fasting is a helpful, practical way to focus prayer and realize that God – not food, Facebook, friends, or what have you – is the real source of all pleasure, goodness, and satisfaction.
    • In tandem with fasting, Christians have often given special attention to generosity (“almsgiving”) during Lent as a way to avoid self-absorption and to inspire self-giving in love and service to others (e.g. fasting from food might give you more money to share with those who don’t have as much food).

Minutes with Raymond around the Cross

Here, Raymond Funk shares his perspective on Jesus, the Cross and forgiveness.  This was recorded a few years ago before Ray died.  Thanks to Stephan Recksiedler for the movie.

This is a good way to enter Good Friday.

NOTE: The Walk of the Cross starts at 6pm and our Good Friday Service begins at 7pm.

Minutes with Raymond from WCV on Vimeo.

Into the Shadows & Darkness to Light: Easter Experiences

Easter is the number one celebration for followers of Jesus.  In terms of importance it ranks higher than Christmas – a fact that is lost on most of our children, and, let’s face it, many of us adults too.  We just like the cradle more than the cross.  In a similar way, we typically skip over the discomfort and pain of Good Friday preferring to jump straight to Easter Sunday – joyfully imbibing all the excitement and energy of the resurrection.  We are right to be excited and energized by Jesus’ resurrection (and our eventual resurrection too, by the way!).  However, in our excitement for Sunday, we miss the gifts offered in Good Friday and Holy Saturday.  If we resist the urge to short-circuit and if we linger in the way of the cross on Good Friday, and the nothingness of Holy Saturday, our celebration on Sunday will take on a whole other quality.  It will be enriched in a beautiful way.  Light is most brilliant when juxtaposed with darkness.

Good Friday: Into the Shadows

Walk of the Cross, 6pm – 7pm

To that end, we want to invite you to participate in our Good Friday: Into the Shadows experiences.  We will have a Walk of the Cross like we haven’t done before.  We will journey with Jesus as we consider his final supper in Jerusalem, the agony of the knowledge of what was to come in Gethsemane, his betrayal on the Mount of Olives and his Trial in Jerusalem.  As we walk with the physical cross we will stop at various points throughout the neighbourhood to consider our own crosses – find our own ways to connect with Jesus on this guided journey.  Wear appropriate attire and walking shoes.

Up “The Hill of the Skull”: A Good Friday service, 7pm – 8pm

Then we’ll come back to the church for our Good Friday Service (first one ever) and consider and experience his journey to what they called Golgotha, the “place of the skull”, where he was crucified.  We will also be with him as they laid his body in the tomb.  This service will employ all the senses.  It will be a  visceral experience.  We encourage everyone to participate in both the Walk of the Cross and this service, however if you can’t make it on the walk, you’re still welcome to join this Good Friday service.  Children are welcome (we will talk about death and the crucification and will nail our own stuff to the cross, literally, but it won’t be gratuitous).

Fasting: Friday – Sunday

Our Fasting will begin on Friday continue through Saturday – a day of apparent nothingness, and be broken on Sunday.  The seed placed in the ground.  Waiting.  Our fasting echoes this “giving up” that Jesus did.  You can fast for the whole weekend, or part of it.  You can choose to fast from food, or anything else you feel God may be inviting you to give up.  Ask him.  This small sacrifice isn’t to earn favour, nor is it some attempt to somehow twist God’s arm into getting something you want.  Rather, it’s a physical act of solidarity with Jesus.  It’s a discipline and it’s a pain.  Every time your stomach reminds you that you’re hungry (or every time you go to check your phone – if you’re fasting from social media), etc, you can recall what Jesus did and is doing and you can offer a prayer of solidarity to Jesus.  When we break the fast on Sunday morning, we are rising with him – emerging from darkness to the glorious light of his resurrection – feasting on the new life he has for us and the whole world!

Resurrection Celebration: Sunday, 10am

Of course, this brings us to Easter Sunday.  We will party, worship and celebrate his accomplishment all morning – all of us (Downstairs & Upstairs, children and youth all together).  Emerging from the shadows of the weekend, and blinking from the dazzling, blinding light of the resurrection, we will celebrate the first glimmers of the new creation – and we’ll invite more (and he’ll show up)!

Good Friday: Into the Shadows (April 14)

  • 6pm, Walk of the Cross (NOTE THE DIFFERENT TIME FROM PREVIOUS YEARS)
  • 7pm, Up “The Hill of the Skull”: a Good Friday Service
  • Fasting Begins

Sunday: Darkness to Light (April 16)

  • 10am, Resurrection Celebration
  • Fasting Ends

Splinters of the Cross – a Good Friday reflection

When the death of Jesus began to seem just over the horizon of time, followers of Christ began to want to touch something that would seem like a physical bridge between them and that moment.

Cross RelicRelics begin to surface. People wanted to hold the cup that Christ held at the Last Supper. They wanted to touch the garments that Christ wore. And they hoped to hold in their own hand a splinter of the True Cross upon which Christ died. Any town that boasted possession of one of these things, or if many other kinds of physical relics from the time of Christ, could be guaranteed to be a destination for pilgrims.

What if closeness to Christ does not depend on touching the same part of the physical world that Christ touched? Jesus never hinted that we should treasure these things. But he did declare boldly that if the poor were always among us, as he said they should be, we would continue to see him in them. In their sufferings, we see the sufferings of the Christ. It is not that they are a complete representation of who Jesus is; rather, their vulnerability shows us who are more privileged something about what Jesus lived, felt, and endured when he emptied himself (Philippians 2).

Ken's Cross

Ken’s Cross at the front of the Vineyard

Since Winnipeg Centre Vineyard came to reside at the corner of Main and Sutherland, an old cross has leaned up against the wall of our sanctuary. Ken Lewis put this cross together from an old door frame that had likely been a part of this building for over a hundred years. Ken shares that as he ran his hand over the wood and contemplated it’s rough, rustic surface, he realized that the cross of Christ was also a door.

But we do not pretend that this cross is a relic.

Cross WindowEvery Good Friday, we carry this cross to where are people have died in the midst of violence, poverty, and addiction. We stand this cross up, usually right at the place where they suffered, and tell their story. We try to name how they are like a window into the past for us, a window into the sufferings of Jesus. There are many aspects of their story and his story that are parallel: their betrayal by friends or authorities, their physical sufferings, sometimes their relative innocence, or the reasons for which they were killed.

They are a relic, they are our piece of the cross, they are our window into the past.  While we dwell in this moment of contemplation on Good Friday, we hope and pray for resurrection here and now, because we know the end of the story of Christ.