Good Friday, 2003

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.

My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.

Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!

Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

Bernard of Clairvaux, c.1153.


I remember sitting in the Museum of Antiquities at Macquarie University and passing various small pieces from archeological digs to each other. It was a strange feeling to be holding in our gloved hands links to the past. Then we were given some enormous nails, bigger than my hand span, and about as thick as my thumb. The lecturer explained that the nails at the crucifixion were probably similar to these. The group, not all Christians, was quite silent as these were passed around and we felt the heavy weight of metal and looked at the sharpened end and the thickness of the nail.


When I was a student doing my Diploma if Ministry at Wesley Institute for Ministry and the Arts, Good Friday was a busy day for students. As a choir member, I always had a couple of performances.

The main event of the day was a "march" through the strreets of Sydney. All would be in black, girls with black veils over head and face. At the head of the march was a student, apparently scourged, painfully dragging an enormous cross, flanked by Roman guards and accompanied by an anonymous executioner carrying an enormous hammer and nails. A single drummer thudded a heavy, monotonous, steady beat as we walked silently, heads bowed through the streets for 10-15 minutes. Echoing through the near empty streets was the kyrie eleison from the Missa Creola by Ramirez. Even now, that music has the power to send shivers up my spine. I found it a very powerful experience every time as we silently walked the streets.



Here is an update to my comment yesterday about the failure of the Electoral Commission in the last state election: although manual allocation of preferences had been started, the system was tried once more. It worked! In a short time the preferences were distributed and the election of our upper house was declared. Still expecting some heads to roll or at the very least, to wobble.


Darren is going on holidays to Tasmania. Wish him well. A lovely place and a beautiful time of the year to be visiting.

He has left a locum who will be blogging from the Living room while he is away.


I often spend some time talking to the woman who runs the newsagency down the street where I get the paper each morning. She is India, from Fiji, Hindu. Darren has been talking abouty understanding the cultures around us. I live in an area of Sydney where there are many different cultures and also find it fascinating to explore some of the practices and beliefs of others. Her eldest son is being married on Saturday but the whole process really continues over several days. Today and for the next two days, the women come to anoint the son with oil and spices such as turmeric are rubbed over his body. Unlike western custom, it is her duty to provide the bride and the bride's mother with a complete set of clothing, including the wedding sari.


AP - Abul Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian group that killed an American on the hijacked cruise liner Achille Lauro in 1985, has been captured in Baghdad, US officials said.

Abbas was taken by American special operations forces during a raid last night on the outskirts of the capital city, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A number of his associates were also detained during raids at several sites around Baghdad, defence officials said. Commandos also seized documents and weapons.

The man known as Abul Abbas, whose name actually is Mohammed Abbas, led a faction of the Palestine Liberation Front, a Palestinian splinter group. His faction was in Tunisia until the attack on the Achille Lauro, after which it relocated to Iraq.

Abbas had eluded arrest since the Achille Lauro was hijacked as it sailed from Egypt to Israel in October 1985. Elderly American Leon Klinghoffer was shot in his wheelchair and tossed overboard. The hijacking ended with the militants surrendering to Egyptian authorities.
Link from ninemsn (probably only temporary post)

I did a double take when I saw this headline. 1985!



Being away from blogging last week for a few days, I was unable to participate in the debate about the war in Iraq. I still do not feel that the end justified the means and I am saddened by the looting and civil unrest, although not surprised by it. From the coverage I sw, it seemed that perhaps more could and should have been done in this area. It is going to take a lot of time and money to help the Iraqi people now. More than that, much wisdom, diplomacy and tact will be needed. Who is up to that?

And where will Constable Plod try heavy handed tactics next? There are rumblings from Washington in this morning's paper against Syria.


Blood donors who have been in SARS affected areas, have been prohibited from giving blood in case the virus is in it.


Several weeks ago, state elections were held in New South Wales. The results for the upper house of Parliament have not been finalised yet. New software, trialled extensively before the election, has been unable to be used. The data base of votes is intact but cannot be properly transferred for the correct tallying of votes. Several million may have to be recountd by hand. This is complicated by our preferential system of voting here. The preferences from the lowest candidates are distributed and the process goes on till the winner is apparent. There were at least twenty groups or individuals standing for seats. Our upper house seats are allocated on the percentage of votes gained, so the major parties have several. Minor groups often get together to decide on preferences so that at least one is elected. However, the ballot paper had two ways to vote. One allocated preferences automatically, according to a preregistered plan. This could be over ridden by any individual voter who allocated preferences as desired. Results are not likely to be declared for some months.

The Premier is muttering darkly and obviously is considering what he can do to the Electoral Commission.



For Palm Sunday


All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s Name comest,
The King and Blessèd One.


The company of angels
Are praising Thee on High,
And mortal men and all things
Created make reply.


The people of the Hebrews
With palms before Thee went;
Our prayer and praise and anthems
Before Thee we present.


To Thee, before Thy passion,
They sang their hymns of praise;
To Thee, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.


Thou didst accept their praises;
Accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King.


Theodore of Orleans, circa 820.


I have seen reports of car accidents in various blogs, and hoped never to have one to report myself. However, a friend was driving son's Saab on Friday evening with my grqndson (4) and baby granddaughter in it. A man signalled he was turning but came straight ahead. Car and suspension are badly damaged and the car will probably be written off by the insurance company. I am so thankful to God to be able to report that no one was hurt, although the driver was very shaken up. The baby even slept through it and for another ten minutes after.


"I can see clearly now the rain has gone..." or at least now I have collected my new glasses. What a difference. Certainly there was a big, long overdue change in the script for reading and close work. Just brilliant. Now I can read without squinting and changing the angle of the paper so the light fell on it to fix my fuzzy focus. Not cheap. Even with inexpensive frames on special, by the time I added multilenses and Transition photosensitivity, the bill came to $536.