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(rattle coins)

The remains of the kingdom
lie here

Thirty pieces of silver
the cost of forcing Jesus hand

Now surely he has to call down the angel armies
Now he has to call on God
to bring deliverance

Too many think
I want Jesus dead

I can hear them behind the shadows
whispering betrayal

This is not what I am doing

I need Jesus to live
and this is what it costs

I need him to live
and be now the Messiah we want him to be
and call on God Almighty
to bring on the Day of the Lord
and defeat the Romans
call on the warriors of heaven
and their double edged swords
and for the angels of death
to do here and now
what they did in Egypt 1000 years before
on that first passover

and if I hand him over
place him into the hands of the authorities
he will have to show his hand


I want him to be Messiah

so I am giving him a choice
I have made mine
and I will be in hell because of it
but because of me
this could be the moment of freedom
the only chance Jesus will have
to reveal himself as Messiah
to these sad and oppressed people

Thirty pieces of silver
for a soul betrayed
and an eternity in darkness

(drop the coins)



Holy Week




It was on Wednesday
that love found out
how much it was worth
and who would be willing to pay

It was on Wednesday
that thirty pieces of silver
sounded so little
for the betrayal of God

It was on Wednesday
everything started to go wrong
the conspiracy of the world
took a step closer to winning

It was on Wednesday
that Judas dared to take on God
and force God’s hand
but you cannot force heaven
to play the role
you want her to play
The Saviour
does not dance to any tune
except love’s own
so the angel armies did not appear
and the messiah did not become a warrior
and the betrayer found out he was just that
It was on Wednesday
that those who chose love
found out it would kill them
in the end

And here we are
caught between the betrayer and the Saviour
and the moment love
was sold out to the lowest bidder


What is truth?

Perhaps the one truthful question
Pilate ever asks
‘What is truth?’

And could he recognise it
bound before him?

The truth of love
is hard to see
for those who believe
in a more mighty way.

Jesus is questioned
six times that night
six trials
in the course of less than a day!
What do you need to do
to get six trials before dawn?

And there he is
and there is Pilate
and in a world that has lost itself to the darkness.
What does truth matter?

Yet there is it
before him,
before everyone,
the truth that love
gives of self,
the truth that love
will not stop for anything,
the truth that love
will love till it kills him.

But the world does not understand
nor tries to understand
and in the cynical question of Pilate
‘What is truth?’
the night grows darker


You want it darker?


A bird’s wicker cage
rolls into the shadows in slow motion,
a few rouge feathers
fall through motes of the remnants of a dust cloud;
and the clack of wings forcing a dove into escape
high into the blue sky
echo round the walls;
coins are still now
having jarred and clashed against the stonework;
a child cries
as she is huddled into the arms of her mother
and folded under the mass of her cloak
that she might be protected from seeing the man
the prince of peace
half bent
three-quarters wild
sweat beading on his face
eyes darting round the crowd,
everyone avoiding looking at him.
He becomes aware of his hands
and looks down
and with repulsion throws away the whip held in them
as if surprised to find it there,
and heads towards the crowd
who parts
as he leaves,
his disciples both embarrassed and confused
run after him
before the temple authorities
and traders
move in on them.
The temple
that lauds its power over the poor
extracting a harsh wealth from bitter subjects
a system that trades on sin in the name of God
is left to pick up the pieces
and a lesson
that a house of robbers
kills the flame
and brings on the darkness


You want it darker?


A: Let me wash your feet

B: But I should wash your feet

A: Let me wash away the worry you have about the days that lie ahead. Peter I know you worry. I know you worry about love, and the path love has chosen. Let me wash away that worry and ask you to trust, to follow, to travel with me through these days.

B: But I should be setting the example

A: But Peter, you are allowed to follow. You don’t need to be the one always at the front. Let me lead in this way, serving you all.

B: But I should serve you

A: Leadership is about serving Peter. This water is the same water through which I was baptised, to be among you, to serve you, to set the example of what God is like.

B: But that is not how I see God

A: Well then Peter, look more closely at me. This is as close to the image of God you will get: God who knees to wash feet and cleanse souls and bring this new freedom to all.

B: Freedom?

A: Yes, Peter, Freedom. Cleansing brings freedom. Remember you ancestor Moses leading your great great great and many more great grandparents through the Red Sea into a new land and a new nation. It was freedom you were called into through the water then and this water now.

B: Well then, wash not just my feet. Wash all of me.

A: Peter, I would, I will and I will wash you clean of all you are about to do.

B: What am I about to do?

A: Deny me. For fear will grip you and you will confess three times you do not know me. The darkness has never been deeper. The lights are going out in heaven and love is breaking so I wash your feet in forgiveness for what you will do. It is okay Peter. You shall find new freedom to live for me after this, new reason to follow like no one else. After all of this is passed.

B: But I will never deny you

A: Then Peter, let me wash you feet in that hope, that you will see how you will be, rock of the church, evangelist and leader, willing to serve in word and deed, servant of all… after all of this is done.


Last Supper

Of all the stories to use… it was the oldest of their tradition… steeped in significance… that shaped the very essence of how they understood themselves… The Passover and Exodus…

This is not just an important event… This was THE event…

Unlevened bread and bitter herbed wine with lamb, each piece a reminder of what God had done…

But this table spread not with symbols of only what had been done… but promises of what God was still doing… the 13 of them were all on the cusp of a yet greater revelation…

For God had not finished with salvation… The Messiah that Jesus believed he was to be… was about to be revealed…

A: I take this bread…

B: And he took himself

A: Broken for you…

B: His body, himself.

A: Whenever you do this…

B: in every meal, every gathering round any table in any place

A: Remember me…

B: put the body back together again. Re-member, all the different parts… all the different nations, cultures, tribes, bring them back. Re-member… Find a common meeting place here and God’s greatest promise…

A: And the cup also…

B: Full and running over

A: The new covenant…

B: the first covenant fulfilled in Passover, the final fulfilled at table…

A: Sealed in my blood…

B: This is no cheep grace… This is the love sealed by following it through… letting nothing stop it… choosing to cross every line the world lays down… sealed only in the final sacrifice that comes with death… and trusting even beyond that…

A: And when you drink of it all of you…

B: Christ’s invitation to take part in the great story of salvation.

A: Remember me…

B: Re-member… Bring back the stories… bring back the words… bring back the life that shaped the kingdom… bring back the times of healing… the touch of love… the grace that speaks to the lost and the stranger… Bring back the welcoming of the outsider… the Samaritan… the Syrophoenician… the Prodigal… the Roman… the Leper… all who have been excluded… Bring back the vineyard workers… the woman who touched Jesus cloak… bring back Lazarus and Mary… and the wife of Chuza… bring back the signs of the kingdom and the people who found they had entered it… when they turned the other cheek… kept on knocking… and blessed the poor… Bring back… Re-member… them all…

And so the ancient ghosts of Passover… joined the newest saints today… and in each story shared… Jesus was remembered…



Now in the garden
all the light has been stripped away
yet still there is Jesus
light still shining through the tears
and shaped in prayer

Everything else is in shadow
the words are used up
the birds have gone
the gnarled olive branches
twist around the soldiers
lurking among them
the betrayer
now staring at the ground
trying not to be recognised

but you can recognise his shoulders
hunched against the darkness

And Jesus
holds this last moment
before heaven is bound
and crushed
and crucified
Judas raises his eyes
and finds Jesus looking into him
and is flooded by the deeper
longer look of love

Judas’ spirit snarls
for he recognises still
that unconditional look

and before the pain becomes too great
and before the moment is lost
and before heaven can choose to back away
he ends it all
with the greatest irony in history

he moves on Jesus
and finishes him
with a kiss

Carnival of Darkness


There is a carnival of darkness
taking place this week
a sinister dance of shadows
that torments this moment
and wrings the light from it

double speak
and hidden clues
in an underground market
in conspiracy
of names exchanged for coins
and fig trees abandoned
tables overturned
and temple sacrifice
turned into the price is right

There is a carnival of darkness
in Holy Week
that dances too close to death
with stories of life
abused and harassed by the shadows
that are alive and pull at the light

The celebration
is among the arches
dangerous places
where deals are done

The dance is a macabre one
of deals and debts
or betrayal and denial
and the music is chaotic
upbeat and sombre
at the same time
owned by no one
and played by all

and in the midst
Jesus loves
and longs
and still lives to the rhythm
not of the darkness
but of the light




Holy week is a time of changing headlines
the writing is on the wall,
for what was once presumed
is now ambiguous
what was once called religion
is now be reborn as love
what we thought was power
has been shown to be wanting
what was once called death
is now… well even that is up for grabs

Holy week is a time of changing headlines
the writing is on the wall
for the inevitability of death
the way of the cross
is becoming the way of love
the betrayal
now no longer the forcing of God’s hand
everything is up for grabs

Holy week is a time of changing headlines
the writing is on the wall
for what was once assured
has become a question
and questions change how you see things
and reveal a moment of faith
that does not believe
everything is already worked out
that the inevitable headlines
are certain

Holy week is a time of changing headlines
and on this journey
we are invited
to be the change
ask the question
watch the movement of heaven
as The Word changes the meaning
of the words we thought were cursed

‘I do not know the man’

And it is out before he can regret it
like a scar across the night
which has enough scars already to last eternity

‘I do not know the man’

This time with pain attached
and tears
for he knows what he is doing
and the lash that must feel like
in heaven

‘I do not know him’

A third time.

It is becoming a chorus for the night,
a long night.
The longest.

And the fire crackles
and people mutter
and stare
and point
wondering why the man now in tears
has denied the one
he so clearly knows
and loves.

And in that moment
of denial
the flames from the fire die a little
as Peter does too

He has joined the others
in self preservation
while the one made all of light
gives of himself completely,
and suddenly
it feels colder and darker
as the world denies with him
and kills the flame


You want it darker?

In  the End


Lord Jesus
in the end
when the darkness has it
and the kingdom is sold out
for a bargain price
and thirty pieces of silver
seems reasonable for an ending
may we pause
and measure the world
against this kingdom moment
and in the silence
affirm the greater love
that chooses not to fight this
but love it
and not to respond
other than by giving self

Lord Jesus
in the end
when the darkness has it
and heaven’s hand is forced
and love is exposed
in the endgame of power
may we affirm
even at this moment
love does not let go
give up
or back away
but chooses even now
to cross the line
empty self
give everything
and trust
this way
is the only way
because there is nothing else to give

Lord Jesus
in the end
when the darkness has it
and the light stutters
beneath whatever shadow it is that covers us
may we affirm
deep in the silence

…in endings

Silence Falls


And now silence falls
on the last work of the world
even the word of God
has run out of word

When such a silence falls
there is nothing left to say
all that is holy is soured by fear
and love is put to death

What more can heaven do
The chaos before creation
has returned
the darkness before God spoke
has taken hold again
the face of the deep
is dark and long
the stars have gone out
and everything is void

The cross is being raised
and the son of man is bound
and all heaven can do is wait
and repeat those first words again
spoken over the chaos
on that very fist day
and believe they hold a promise
of a second Adam
a new creation
and from the returning chaos
a new day might dawn

What of Faith now?


When all the words have been sung… and the story told and retold… and the city entered… and the tables overturned… and the silver pieces exchanged… and the bread broken… and the wine spilled… and a kiss… left hanging in the garden…

it is then that faith comes into play…

for faith is what happens when you can’t see the future… when your bones tell you this can’t be all there is… but the world laughs at such optimism…

Faith is when the stories have been told and the words used up and wrung out and left to dry…

Faith is about what you do then… It is the choice you make… when there is no evidence for the decision you know you are going to take… to carry on following…

Faith holds you in the midst of what is unbelievable… Faith calls you when you don’t understand… Faith needs you when there is nothing else to see or believe anymore…

It is what is left when everything is broken… and the light splits into shadow… and the lies come…

Faith dares wonder… is God finished yet?…

Heaven is lost


Heaven has gone and got itself lost
and the words are all wrong
and where did the light go
sucked up by the shadows?

How can anyone
still believe
when belief itself is on trial

How can anyone speak
when the very word
has gone silent

How can anyone eat
when the bread of life
is broken

How can anyone
still shout hosanna
when a great crack runs through it
letting in the fear
of alternative truths
and fake news

the wrong words are being spoken
the wrong saviour is being sought
the wrong messiah worshipped
It is a long way to heaven from here

Heaven has gone and got itself lost
and we we wonder
on what hill
might we find it?

A Different Man


I knew a different man
from the one we follow today
on the way to the cross
along the alleys of shadows

I knew him
when he was crammed with life
when laughter erupted from him
and stories were filled with colour
and he was ever ready for an argument

I knew him
when he had time
to touch the untouchables
and speak the unspeakable
and love the unlovable

I knew him
when the words seemed hopeful
when the future seemed possible
when the moment seemed prophetic

but now
the rumour is tarnished
the saviour is broken
and the promise spent
silenced by a world
caught in a snarl of darkness

yet I cannot help believe
if this is the same man
he will not leave it here
this is not where it will end

so come
let us follow on

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