Good afternoon friends,
I hope all is well with you and yours.
Tomorrow is Palm / Passion Sunday. Why do we combine the two? The tradition began at least partly because so many people are away around the time of Holy Week and
Easter; and because those who don’t come to church on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday would otherwise not hear the story of our Lord’s Passion- the arrest, suffering and crucifixion of Jesus.
The great celebration of Easter makes no sense without the events of Holy Week- particularly the Great Three Days; the Last Supper Jesus shared with his friends, when he washed their feet, told them to love one another, and enacted the first Holy Communion; his anguished prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane; his betrayal and arrest, all happening on the evening of Maundy Thursday. On Good Friday he is ‘tried’ and, although found innocent of any crime, sentenced to death- the hideous, humiliating death by crucifixion. He is laid in a tomb and the world is silent on Holy Saturday.
Then on Easter Day, the women make the amazing discovery of the empty tomb and meet the risen Lord; the world can breathe again, and we cry ‘Alleluia’!
So tomorrow at the 7:30 service we gather outside the church door; at 9:30 we gather at the Cross at the edge of the carpark. We will hear the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem to loud cries and praise; we receive our crosses of palm; and we process into the church. Children will be given percussion instruments to make a joyful noise!
I hope you are able to come in person, but if not then please join us online at this link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC07_Yk9-h5ppfXAnltGEVGg at 9:30am.
I will leave leftover palm crosses outside the church door if you would like to collect one, or let me know if you would like one to be dropped off or posted to you.
If you are staying at home because of health reasons, please keep in touch so we know you are ok, or if you would like to be added to the prayer list. We are doing everything we can to be as covid-safe as possible, with good ventilation etc. If you would feel more comfortable in a smaller congregation you could try Wednesdays at 9:15, when there are usually fewer than 20 people so everyone can spread out.
On Maundy Thursday we will practice covid-safe foot-washing- which is, of course, optional.
On Easter Sunday breakfast is offered following the Dawn (6am) service; there is a sign-up sheet in the church if you’d like to stay, or please let us know by email for catering purposes.
- Tuesday in Holy Week: at midday in St George’s Cathedral will be the Chrism Eucharist, when our Archbishop blesses the oils for baptism and healing, and we can re-affirm our ordination vows and commitment to Christ. Everyone is welcome.
- Wednesday in Holy Week: Eucharist at 9:15am and the final Lent Study groups at 10:30am and 7:30pm.
- Maundy Thursday: Eucharist 7pm, as we remember the Last Supper
- Good Friday: Solemn Eucharist and Veneration of the Cross at 9:30am; we us the Sacrament that was blessed the evening before, because there is no celebration on this day.
- Good Friday: Stations of the Cross, 2-3pm. This is a prayerful contemplation, with prayer and Bible readings at each Station around the church.
- Holy Saturday: the church is liturgically silent.
- On Saturday between 9 & 11am St Nic’s Recycling Hub will be out the front of the church. Bring along your plastic lids; Containers for Change; household batteries; e-waste; plastic plant pots; old toothbrushes & floss containers; printer cartridges; blister packs (from medications); plastic beer clips; bread tags and light globes.
- Easter Day: at 6am our celebration begins as the first rays of the sun lighten the sky. A fire is lit, on the lawn at the side of the church; the new Paschal Candle is lit, from which everyone lights a candle; and we bring this new light into the darkened church, rejoicing. At 9:30am the celebrations continue. On this day there will be flowers in church and we sing the Gloria, the Hymn of Praise, for the first time since Lent began. We renew our Baptismal vows as we begin a new year in the life of the Christian church.
For those using the Lent study book, ‘Repairing the breach’, this is the link to the article mentioned in study 6: https://www.religion-online.org/article/the-liturgy-of-abundance-the-myth-of-scarcity/
It is well worth a read- for everyone.
Here is a Collect Prayer for tomorrow:
in your tender love for the human race
you sent your Son to take our nature,
and to suffer death upon the cross:
in your mercy enable us to share in his obedience to your will
and in the glorious victory of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Reverend Lorna A M Green