I invite you to take up your palm cross, and as we pray to look at it
We look at its base, and imagine the cross of Christ plunged deep into the earth
Father God, we thank you for sending your Son to come and live among us, for his being one of us, his suffering with us and his death for us.
We thank you that in the face of lies, injustice and unspeakable brutality, our Lord Jesus, out of love for us, kept silence and bore in his own body the weight of our sin
We pray today for all who suffer: for those who suffer pain and grief, who see no hope or who are lost inside their own mind. But particularly today we pray for those who suffer because of injustice or the violence of others. We pray for our Coptic brothers and sisters in Egypt. We pray for safety for the many acts of witness that will be held throughout the world today. And we pray for those who would commit acts of terror. We ask that you frustrate them, and that you would touch their hearts and minds so that they turn to you; so that those who have declared themselves to be our enemies would become, in you, our friends for eternity.
We look at the crossbar, on which the arms of the Son of God are opened wide
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we thank you for your great love. We thank you for your delight in us, for your desire that we might come to know you.
Fill us with your Spirit that we might have the same love.
Give us grace to see others as you see them, and to sacrifice ourselves for those among whom we live and work.
Help us to proclaim your love with courage and clarity.
We pray for our town and villages, for our churches and projects. We thank you for the unity you have given us, and we pray that together we might be a beacon of light pointing people to you. And we ask today that as we walk through town, in respectful silence, behind the cross, people would be drawn to you.
We look at the cross
We see a symbol of utter evil and cruelty and hatred. But we also see a symbol of the most astonishing love and obedience and sacrifice
Father God, as you take the absolute worst and transform it into the bridge from heaven to earth and earth to heaven, so we ask you to transform us and our communities and our nation, so that what is death in us may become life for others and bring glory to you.
So we pray as our Saviour taught us:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name
Your Kingdom come
Your will be done, on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our sin, as we forgive those who sin against us
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are yours,
Now and for ever. Amen.