|Published on Mon, 6 Apr 2020 15:16|
The great drama of Holy Week began yesterday. The photo above is from a previous age... But we had a virtual Palm Sunday procession yesterday, watching a video of the route from St Andrew's to St John's as we sang in our living rooms, Ride on, ride on in majesty! I think a lot of people found the procession and the service very moving: I certainly felt strangely close to the congregation even though we were scattered across the globe.
The Passion Gospel worked well. We had some fine (over)acting. If you would like to watch it, it's here. Re-telling the story of Jesus' arrest and crucifixion in a way I never imagined I would see it.
We are starting to build up a record of this lockdown period. Holy Week is the most important week of the year, for St John's. I say, every year, that we become actors in the eternal drama of the crucifixion and resurrection. This year it will be quite different. Against the backdrop of coronavirus, and in the midst of physical separation, we will still be re-living and re-telling the story. I would be really pleased to read, afterwards or during, your reflections on how these days are for you. We will put some of them online. So do, if you would like to, keep a record - perhaps in words, or pictures - of your journey through the week.
We are also beginning to build up some resources for Holy Week. There is a choral piece written by Michaiah Mukiibi our Organist, recorded during Holy Week last year. It speaks of Jesus' work in the six days before the Passover. Click here to download.
This evening, and tomorrow and Wednesday at 6pm there will be Stations of the Cross and a eucharist. The service sheet is here. We will say more about the Triduum - Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday - in our email tomorrow.
I haven't included a poem in this email for a few days, so here is one which Jenny O'Neill sent me, by Pablo Neruda. It was originally in Spanish but reads well in English too.
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let's not speak in any language;
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence might interrupt
this sadness of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I'll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
And Saul James sent me these verses from the Message translation of Psalm 34.
Come, children, listen closely; I'll give you a lesson in God worship. Who out there has a lust for life? Can't wait each day to come upon beauty? Guard your tongue from profanity, and no more lying through your teeth. Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace-don't let it get away! God keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan. God won't put up with rebels; he'll cull them from the pack. Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath. Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.
Psalm 34:11-19 MSG
I hope to see you later,
With love, and prayers,