Today several downtown Northampton clergy and church members walked to seven sites around the city, with brief meditations on the Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Gospels.  Here are pictures and several quotes and reflections from everyone.  Blessed Good Friday to everyone.

Stop 1: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.”

Dailey and Halligan Memorial
on Route 66 going up Hospital Hill

Rev. Michael McSherry, Edwards Church UCC

Rev. Michael McSherry

Rev. Michael McSherry

 

Dailey and Halligan were executed for a murder they did not commit in 1806.  They were exonerated in 1984.  It is here that we begin our Good Friday journey, with a few quotes from each speaker.

“They were other. Foreigners, undocumented convenient targets… Can imagine them saying.  ‘Father forgive, for they know not what they do’?  For the people did what has been done since Cain and Abel. …The next convenient target.

 

 

 

 

Stop 2: “Behold your son: behold your mother.”

Grace House

Rev. Catherine Munz, St. John’s Episcopal Church

Rev. Catherine Munz

Rev. Catherine Munz

“Grace House is a place for healing, love… children and mother can reunite. Jesus looked from cross with love and care, talking to mother who was losing him.. ..Care, love look after one another. This is taking care as Jesus called us to do…. This is a place for courageous women to overcome their struggles.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop 3: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

First Baptist and St. Mary’s Church Buildings

Rev. Todd Weir, First Churches of Northampton

Rev. Todd Weir

Rev. Todd Weir

 

We are standing between two abandoned church buildings. They are sacred and beautiful places, where loving communities once thrived, baptisms, weddings, potlucks, the Gospel was preached to big crowds on Palm Sunday. Did the people fail, where was God when the doors were finally shut? It may make us wonder about the future of the Christian faith, as over 5000 churches close every year….

I’ve spent 25 years in ministry hearing about the demise of the church and the way things used to be. I don’t know the future. But I do know scripture. And I trust that as I proclaim it, in front of abandon churches, or at the foot of whatever cross is to be bared, God will be God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop 4: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

First Churches steps, site for Cathedral Worship

Rev. Stephanie Smith, Cathedral in the Night

Rev. Stephanie Smith

Rev. Stephanie Smith

 

“The thief on the cross next to Jesus says,  ‘Remember me, when you come into your Kingdom.’  He did not say, ‘Save me.,’ but ‘remember me,’  Put things back together…

We strive at Cathedral to remember each other. … to accept each other as we are…. Take off the mask, and be ourselves….. We are in Paradise when we remember each other.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop 5: “I thirst

Edwards Church and Manna

Rev. Eric Elley, Deacon, St. John’s Episcopal Church

Rev. Eric Elley

Rev. Eric Elley

Manna meals are served here at Edwards Church twice each week.

I thirst…This reminds us of Jesus’s humanity, he thirsts… parched dying. A human tragedy…. Others cry out each day of their lives for sustenance. Others thirst for love, long to be valued…. Feed us with manna, the promises of God.


 

 

 

 

 

Stop 6: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Hospice Thrift Shop

Deb Moore, Commissioned Minister, Edwards Church

Deborah Moore,  Commissioned Minister

Deborah Moore,
Commissioned Minister

 

Palliative care helps transition from life to death. Hospice does not leave people alone…they aim for death with dignity…

Jesus died in the trust of God…’Into your hands I commit my spirit’…. Hospice gives opportunity to come to terms with death in peace and freedom.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop 7: “It is finished.”

Memorial to Domestic Violence, Center Street

Rev. Sarah Betuex, First Churches

Rev. Sarah Buteux

Rev. Sarah Buteux

 

photo 1

“I walked past this plaque 1000 times. I was looking for bigger monument….We prefer heros over victims….We hate idea of being powerless. Power might save us.  It does not…. God did not send hero but a savior.

Violence leads to more violence….Power cannot protect or make people love you….

Jesus came to show another way, a way of peace, forgiveness and love…Love can’t protect from everything….except from the impulse to strike back

Jesus did not hit back….so it ends here….It is finished.”