Daily reflection For Holy Week

Monday 29th March 2021

Photos by Fred Coutts.


My intention for today’s reflection was to record a video from Hobshill, located just outside Hatton, on the road to Easter Auquhareny. Unfortunately, the weather was not in my favour and all you could hear was the noise of the wind!  Whilst of modest height and stature (76 metres above sea level), Hobshill gives extensive views to the south and east, including the local landmarks of Slains Castle and St James’ Church. It also provides a good view of the Parish of Cruden, which includes Hatton, Cruden Bay & Port Errol, Winnyfold and Longhaven. Looking over the parish reminds me of the time that Jesus looked over Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. As he surveyed the bustling city Jesus broke down and wept.

Bible Reading

Luke 19: 40-44

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you.’


The Bible passage records Jesus entering Jerusalem and weeping over the city. Regretfully, the translation from classic Greek into English misses the drama and intensity of the passage. A better word would be lament – a deep inward anguish accompanied by cries, sobbing and tears. Here Jesus is revealing extraordinarily strong emotions – not just sadness and regret but real depth of grief and bitterness. It is a curious image. The messiah and God’s only begotten son, heartbroken, distraught, and inconsolable. It is a rare glimpse into the broken heart of God.

So, what caused such strong emotions? The traditional answer is that Jesus was weeping over the tragedy of lost opportunity. The lost opportunity was the rejection of Jesus as the messiah by the Jews. For centuries God had been revealing himself through the Law and Prophets and then came in person in Jesus. However, I think there is more going on here. In my view it is wrong to single out the people of ancient Israel because all of humanity have made resisting and ignoring our creator into an art from. Although we are made in the image of God, there is something about the human spirit that makes want to go our own way.

I think Jesus was shedding tears over Jerusalem as a heart-felt response to the ignorance, stubbornness, pride and spiritual blindness of humanity. One writer put it this way: He was weeping because He is not willing that any should perish. Of course, there is more to Jesus tears. Is he not also crying over all the hurt and pain and injustice of city and its inhabitants? And here we could add yet another dimension. Not only was Jesus’ crying ‘over city’ but also ‘alongside the city.’ Entering the grief of those who mourned and were in pain.

The passage also ends with a disturbing prophecy – the destruction of the city. Jesus words were fulfilled when after a Jewish revolt, the Romans swept across the country and on the 29th August 70 AD, destroyed the city. Those who survived were taken into slavery.

Returning to Hobshill and the sweeping views across the Parish of Cruden, I wonder what does God feel when he looks out across the villages and farms and cottages? I suspect it is a mixture of emotions – appreciating the devotion of those who know, serve, and follow Jesus. But is there also tears? Shedding tears alongside those who grieve and mourn and are hurting. And lamenting at the present generation who deeply grieve His heart by their indifference and apathy to spiritual things.

Rev Sean Swindells
Parish of Cruden

Prayers for Holy Week

Let’s go up the mountain.
Let’s go up to the place where the land meets the sky
where the earth touches the heavens,
to the place of meeting,
to the place of mists,
to the place of voices and conversations,
to the place of listening.
Open our eyes, Lord Jesus,
to the world around us.
Show us what we should see
but from which we hide our eyes.
Show us how people live in this world
and the reality of their days.
Give us courage to do what you ask and to
'Come and see'.
Open our eyes, Lord Jesus,
to the shape of your Kingdom.
Show us what life could be like
if only we could see in wisdom.
Show us what we could do
to change things forever with you.
Give us courage to have a vision and to
'Come and see'.
Open our eyes, Lord Jesus,
to the people all around us.
Show us what we should see,
but what we fail to notice.
Show us what people are saying to us
and what they long for.
Give us courage to be where you are and to
'Come and see'.

O God, who makes all things new,
new stars, new dust, new life;
take my heart,
every hardened edge and measured beat,
and create something new in me.
I need your newness, God,
the rough parts of me made smooth;
the stagnant, stirred;
the stuck, freed;
the unkind, forgiven.
And then, by the power of your Spirit,
I need to be turned toward Love again. Amen.
O God, You who are always doing a new thing,
we confess that we sometimes close windows
against the fresh air of new ideas,
against the noise of other people’s worries,
against the winds of change.
God of every place and time,
we confess that we often draw the curtains
against people who are different,
against world news or community concerns.
Forgive us our insulation in our locked homes,
our shuttered churches,
the security systems on our hearts.
Open up our lives,
and let your Spirit blow through.


Just as God’s Word was sent into the world
to heal and redeem,
so God sends you into the world this day
to be light and love, healing and hope.
Go now to be light for the world!
And may the grace and peace of God the Creator,
the Redeemer, and the Sustainer
come upon you this day
and remain with you always.
Photos by Fred Coutts.