Fore Street Topsham, Exeter

Minister : Reverend Paul Collings BTh (Hons) : email : : Telephone : 01392 206229 : Mobile : 07941 880768

About Us

St Nicholas Methodist Church has existed on the present site for over 150 years since it opened in 1867.

We are a friendly community of believers where all are welcomed. We help each other to worship God, and strive to live more like Christ in service beyond the walls of our church building.

Part of the
Exeter Coast and Country Circuit of the Methodist Church.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Good Friday People - Torture

As we daily view the month long  incessant bombing of the Ukrainian people on our television screens, Shiela’s Cassidy’s chapter on Torture, written some 30 years ago, seems to speak with stark reality to the darkness of today. She writes -

“I think it’s my fury and impotence at the widespread use of torture that has, more than anything, fired me to write this book. (Good Friday People) On the one hand, we read the endless obscene descriptions of cruelty that emerge from countries where torture is practised, facts that no one, myself included, wants to know about. ‘Humankind,’ as Eliot reminds us, ‘cannot bear too much reality.’ On the other hand, we dwell upon the passion story, dramatising it in art and music, weeping over the ‘Sacred Head ill used by reed and bramble scarred’. ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’, the singer croons and the music makes my heart burst. No, I want to scream, no, I wasn’t there — but I was there in Chile, when they tortured some poor man in the next room, and I heard his screams with my own ears. I was there too when the guard threw his blood—stained shirt at us to wash and I have sat hour after hour at a Finnish Tribunal listening to the revolting

evidence of humankind’s inhumanity.

What should we do about torture, I ask myself, and I don’t know the answer. I just know we need to take the tears we shed for Jesus and use them to wash the blood stained faces of the Good Friday people of our won day.”

There is a danger that as we view today’s torturous plight of the Ukrainian people that we will become blind to the reality of such horror and we will reach a state of compassion fatigue. Perhaps we should pray with the psalmist on behalf of the Ukrainian people 

“ Vindicate me, O God, and champion my cause against an ungodly nation. From a deceitful and unjust man, deliver me! For You are my God, my stronghold.

Why have You spurned me? Why do I go about gloomy because of the oppression of the enemy? Send forth Your light and Your truth— let them guide me. Let them bring me to Your holy mountain and to Your dwelling places. 

Then I will come to the altar of God, to the God of my exceeding joy, and praise You upon the harp —O God, my God. 

Why are You downcast, O my soul? Why are you murmuring within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, the salvation of my countenance.” Psalm 42:1-5

Today my verse considers Christ’s torture before the crucifixion.

In royal robes and crown of thrones 

stands prince of peace to face the scorn.

He takes such punishment such shame

As flaying whip cuts deep his frame.

The judgement made, the sentence passed 

As from the hall, through crowds amassed

March Pilate’s men,  imperial guard

And lead Christ on with body scared.

Each whip on flesh, each hurtful smite

Each callous curse, each whealing bite

Upon his  battered sacred form

He bears through grace, its hurt transforms.

Transforms into a love outpoured;

A living peace midst earth’s discord,

As onto hill he walks forlorn

Intent just there our lives atone.

O Saviour Christ, O Master friend

Help me to walk ‘tward cruel end,

And take my cross, and follow you

The life, the way, the lasting truth.

© 2022 Paul Collings

Shiela Cassidy ends her chapter of Torture with this prayer.

Lord, we sit . 

in sackcloth and ashes.

We are a poor people,

weak and wounded, 

soiled and guilty.

We know we are trapped

in the sin of our world,

by torture and rape, 

hunger and child abuse.

Lord, we cry out,

from the depths of our path.‘

Bend the heavens

and come down,

pull us out of the mire,

for we are going under.


No comments:

Community Groups Regularly Usiing the Church

Regrettably, due to the current restrictions, there are no community activities at the church premises.

Watch this space for news of when activities will restart.