At our Good Friday Liturgy twelve small crosses were brought up and placed in the sanctuary alongside the large Cross that we reverenced. These words accompanied each of the small crosses:
1. Jesus is being crucified today when families and communities are victims of barrel bombs and gas and chemical attacks; when barbaric war is waged in Afghanistan, in Syria and Yemen; when in the land of His birth Palestinian rights to freedom and a homeland are violently repressed and walls of division are built between between Palestinian and Israeli; when Rohingya Muslims are massacred and ethnically cleansed from Myanmar.
2. Jesus is being crucified today when we refuse to change our life-style but continue to abuse our beautiful planet, exploiting the earth rather than living in joyful communion with creation; when 20 million people are on the verge of famine because of climate change, war and corruption and 66 million sisters and brothers are forced to flee their homeland and live as refugees
3. Jesus is being crucified today when our young people have no hope, no jobs and turn to drugs and alcohol; when addiction drives young and old into the dark world of crime and violence; when the poor of our nation have to pay for the excesses of the rich, as benefits are cut for the poorest and most vulnerable, essential social services are reduced, and health care diminished, while we spend £100 billion on nuclear weapons.
4. Jesus is being crucified today when, like Jesus, women and men are wrongfully imprisoned; when others are tortured for their religious beliefs or political aspirations; and when developed nations like the United States and China keep thousands on death-row awaiting execution, and when our own nation imprisons in our Detention Centres the innocent and vulnerable who seek safe asylum among us.
5. Jesus is being crucified today whenever survivors are haunted by memories of Genocide and massacre in Rwanda, the Darfur, Serbia, the Congo, Cambodia or Myanmar, knowing this evil continues today; and minds and hearts are scarred as well as their bodies; when millions die unnoticed in the Congo because we want their minerals for our computers, when both Moslems and Christians live in fear of muder and abduction by extremist groups.
6. Jesus is being crucified today when children and the vulnerable are hurt or abused, especially by members of the Church; when children are deprived of the love they need to grow whole and happy; when adults do not act to protect them from all harm; when people live for decades with inner pain because of past abuse.
7. Jesus is being crucified today when children are raised in a culture of violence, learning to be violent and aggressive to each other; when children and young people are perpetrators and victims of knife crime on our streets; when they are used in ‘County Lines’ or as cheap labour or child soldiers, or for sexual exploitation; when the rights of child refugees are not recognised and respected.
8. Jesus is being crucified today when LGBT+ people are not embraced with love by the Church or are discriminated against and their lives threatened around the world – and blasphemously in the name of God!
9. Jesus is being crucified today when women and men are abused, trafficked and used for sex or slave labour; when women are refused equality and dignity, whether in marriage, in society or in the Church.
10. Jesus is being crucified today when parents grieve the loss of their child, when children die in the womb for whatever reason, when hopes for the future lie shattered through separation or bereavement.
11. Jesus is being crucified today when in a wealthy country like ours we cannot value and care adequately for our elderly, and the homeless are given no hope of proper shelter and housing in which to build their lives and raise their families with dignity.
12. Jesus is crucified today when peaceful change is violently repressed by brutal regimes using terror and massacre, and when refugees and asylum-seekers are harshly treated by host countries like our own, detained without trial while innocent of any crime, or perish in the waters of the Mediterranean and crossing mountain ranges or locked out of freedom by razor-wire border fences; when nations build walls of hostility rather than bridges of welcome; when racism goes unchallenged and the victims of racial violence go unheeded.