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    words from the cross

Poems introducing the seven recorded
       sayings of Christ on the cross

Words from the cross was first performed in April 2004 at St John's, West Ealing, and used subsequently as a Good Friday meditation.

The poems imagine words which might have been spoken by Jesus, or may have gone through his mind, leading up to each of the seven recorded phrases. 

In the original event there were seven repeating sections (one for each sentence), as follows:

1. A bible reading which included the sentence
2. A series of images shown on screen in silence
3. A poem 
4. A piece of music
5. A fragment of a psalm for audience/congregation response

If used in this way, the length of the meditation depends on the music chosen and the length of silence. On another occasion a short talk was given on each sentence and the whole formed a traditional three-hour Good Friday vigil.

In the original event the music was written by my son, the composer Joel Rust, and the psalm responses were sung by a small choir of children to simple settings composed by Joel. Anyone wishing to use the poems in this way may of course choose their own music, images and responses: and of course the poems may be used in other ways or contexts.

The complete order for the meditation used at St John's on Good Friday 2011, including the text of the bible readings, is shown here.

Words from the cross were commissioned by Geoff Shattock for WorkTalk, a teaching/training programme based on the seven sentences. The poems appear, in earlier forms to those published here and without their titles, in Geoff’s book Jesus And The Racing Rat, and recordings of all seven read by Natalie Kirk, with visual interpretations by Marta Barnert, are posted on YouTube (listed under their opening words):

accomplices (“Father, forgive them”)
thief (“It's hopeless”)
son (“Woman”)
wager ("To be human”)
animal (“Nothing”)
masterpiece (“I saw it first”)
legacy (“I have travelled light”)