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Cn Jansma 2017

Holy Week and the Journey Towards the Cross

Canon Theologian, Dr. Henry Jansma

The Exhortations, or the announcement of Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer, can become an effective guide in personal prayer through Holy Week. Because its purpose is self-examination in light of Christ’s death on the cross, it is possible to divide the third exhortation under six points of meditation for the believer. Joined to particular prayers of your choosing (here I’ve edited some excerpts from The Valley of Vision) each point may become a theme of a devotion each day of the week as we ponder our sinfulness in relation to God’s grace and the necessity of the cross in our gracious redemption.

1. Monday before Easter: We tremble at the warning against our presumption of God’s grace. “O Father of Jesus, help me to approach you with deepest reverence, not with presumption, not with servile fear, but with holy boldness. My heart melts at the love of Jesus, my brother, dead for me, risen for me. He is mine and I am his. But my love is frost and cold, ice and snow. Let his love warm me, lighten my burden, and be my heaven.”

2. Tuesday before Easter: We respond to the call to self-examination and repentance of sins. “O God my exceeding joy, help me to extol you with entire heart-submission, to be diligent in self-examination, to ask myself whether I am truly born again, whether my spirit is the spirit of your children, whether my griefs are those that tear repenting hearts, whether my joys are the joys of faith, whether my confidence in Christ works by love and purifies the soul.”

3. Wednesday before Easter: We offer Trinitarian worship in thanksgiving to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “O Father, you have loved me and sent Jesus to redeem me. O Jesus, you have loved me and assumed my nature, shed your own blood to wash away my sins, worked righteousness to cover my unworthiness. O Holy Spirit, you have loved me and entered my heart, implanted there eternal life, revealed to me the glories of Jesus. Three persons in one God, I bless you and praise you, for love so unmerited, so unspeakable, so wondrous, so might to save the lost and raise them to glory.”

4. Thursday before Easter: We remember our redemption by the death of our Savior Christ who is both God and man. “Blessed Lord Jesus, no human mind could conceive or invent the gospel. Acting in eternal grace, you are both its messenger and its message, lived out on earth through infinite compassion, applying your life to insult, injury, death, that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed. Take me to the cross to seek glory from its infamy. Strip me of every pleasing presence of righteousness in my own doings. O gracious Redeemer, I have neglected you too long, often crucified you, crucified you afresh by my hardness of heart, put you to open shame. O unite me to yourself with inseparable bonds bonds, that nothing may ever draw me back from you, my Lord, my Savior.”

5. Good Friday: We recall His humility, His death, His blood shed for we who were under the curse of everlasting death. “Blessed Lord Jesus, before your cross I kneel and see the heinousness of my sin, my iniquity that caused you to be ‘made a curse’, the evil that excites the severity of divine wrath. Show me the enormity of my guilt by the crown of thorns, the pierced hands and feet, the bruised body, the dying cries. Your blood is the blood of the incarnate God, its worth infinite, its value beyond all thought. Let me walk humbly in the lowest depths of humiliation, bathed in your blood, tender of conscience, triumphing gloriously as an heir of salvation.”

6. Easter Eve: We offer ourselves in submission and in service. “O God, all-sufficient, make me deeply sensible of my need of Jesus your Son’s saving grace, of the blood that cleanses, of the rest he has promised. And impute to me that righteousness which justifies the guilty, gives me a title to eternal life, and possession of the Spirit. May I love the freeness of salvation, and joy in its holiness. Give me faith to grasp your promises, that are my hope, provide for every need, and prevent every evil. Keep my heart from straying after forbidden pleasures. May your will bind all my wishes. May I be alive to every call of duty, accepting without question your determination of my circumstances and my service.”

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