There is no river

Good Friday


In the name of God, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. Amen.

(Eli, Eli, by Judith Wright,

And all the while he knew there was no river.

One of the things people most struggle with in regard to faith is the fact that God does not intervene. “Why does God let that happen?” people ask in the face of untimely death, natural disaster, war, disease or terror. Where is God when the drunken driver swerves on to the footpath, when the megalomaniac leader tortures and kills any opposition, or when unprincipled greed leads to the sale of addictive drugs and to the violence and murder of drug wars?

Where is God, silent and inactive while the world tears itself apart? Where is God?

The silent, suffering God is nailed to the cross, enduring the agony of watching those whom He created with such confidence destroying themselves and each other.

On the sixth day, God created humankind in God’s own image. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. If the world is less than perfect, it is by and large because we have made it so. Humanity, the “very good” of God’s creation, has chosen a path other than that which was intended by the creator. Given the choice, humankind chose competition with rather than cooperation with God – with disastrous results.

And though God in Christ holds out love and faith, humanity will not take it God’s hand. We would rather be in control of our own destiny and despite the evidence that we are making a very poor job of it, we continue to hold ourselves apart, to believe that the solution lies in our own hands. We continue to turn our back on God, and on all that is good, and in so doing we reduce God’s power to intervene to nothing.

There is no river but the morass we create for ourselves. There is no river but that of our own making. There is no river, but our own self-absorption, our need for power and control and our desire to make decisions for ourselves.  These are the nails that hold Christ to the cross. These are the causes of God’s apparent inaction. These are the wounds which we continue to inflict and which God in Christ continues to bear.

There is no need to drown in the river. If only we would let go of our pride and take the hand that is offered, the love that is proffered and the faith that is ours to claim we would learn that there is no river except that which we ourselves have created.

There is no river, but Christ will hold our pain and sorrow on the cross until at last we let go of ourselves and turn to him.





Suffering God,

open our eyes to the suffering in the world

and to the part we play in causing harm to others.

Give to us the gift of discernment

so that we might be wise in our decision-making

and alert to the broader consequences of our actions.

God who allows us to make our own mistakes.

Guide us into the way of your wisdom.

Holy God,

empower your church to proclaim your gospel and

to confront evil and injustice.

Help her to resist the temptation to conform and

to name greed and selfishness

especially when it destroys the lives of others.

Be especially with your church in the Middle East

and Palestine, that it might give wise counsel on

ways to bring about peace.

God who allows us to make our own mistakes.

Guide us into the way of your wisdom.

God of love,

be with those whose wounds are self-inflicted

because they cannot or will not accept your love

or the love and care of those around them.

Show us how to share your love with those whom we do not understand

and those whom we find to be unloveable.

God who allows us to make our own mistakes.

Guide us into the way of your wisdom.

Wounded God,

heal the bodies, minds and souls of all who turn to you for help and give them confidence and peace.

Endow with compassion and resilience those

whose task it is to heal broken bodies and minds

and be especially with those who work at the cutting edge of accident or disaster.

God who allows us to make our own mistakes.

Guide us into the way of your wisdom.

Dying Christ,

as you gave yourself completely to God,

so may we give ourselves completely to you

that in this life we may know peace and wholeness

and in the life to come may share your kingdom with all who have gone before us.

God who allows us to make our own mistakes.

Guide us into the way of your wisdom.


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