Rev Chris’ Weekly Update – 10/04
Holy Week is upon us, and events start with Palm Sunday when we commemorate Jesus’ entry into the City of Jerusalem on a donkey. As he does so people lays palms in his path to celebrate the presence of what they think is a new political leader who will be instrumental in releasing them from the burden of Roman rule. By the end of the week the tune has changed, and the cry is for him to be crucified. In church we will all be given Palm Crosses in remembrance of this event – these are to be kept until next year when I ask for their return so that I can burn them to use on Ash Wednesday.
The next part of the journey through Holy Week is when we come to Maundy Thursday. On this day we remember Jesus’ final meal with his disciples, known as the Last Supper. It is from this that the tradition of the observance of Holy Communion developed which has been passed down through the centuries and is still central to worship today. At that supper Jesus also famously washed the feet of the disciples as a display of extraordinary humility. Services in church on this day often include a ‘Last Supper’ and a ‘foot washing’ ceremony – the service usually ends with a further ceremony called ‘Stripping of the Altar’ when all altar frontals/cloths/linens and ornaments are removed that is symbolic of the humiliation of Jesus at the hands of the soldiers following his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane and subsequent trial by Pontius Pilate.
Good Friday follows Maundy Thursday and is often observed by a service of an ‘Hour at the Cross’ at 2pm to coincide with the traditional understanding that Jesus died at 3pm in the afternoon, having been crucified at 9am (Mark’s gospel says this took place at the ‘third hour’ with hours counted from sunup in the culture of the time). The exact origins of the term ‘Good’ Friday are unknown, although some say it has evolved from ‘God’s’ Friday.
Holy Week, in the Christian calendar, is hugely significant as it is loaded with meaning around how God works for the sake of all humanity. I never cease to be overwhelmed by this and find services during the week speak at a very personal level – the depth and gravity of all that takes place only seeks to heighten the celebration of Easter Sunday knowing that God will have the last word even in the darkest of situations.
May you find this Holy Week a time of profound significance in your walk with God.
p.s. for those that knew Hetty Longhurst her funeral is to take place on Tuesday 19th April, 10.15am, at Vinter’s Park Crematorium