This morning, Friday 12th April, the Headmaster Mr Lumb led Morning Prayer in the Concourse where he spoke about Holy Week and the hope that Easter time brings for all of us.
Our Tenebrae service on Sunday evening gave each of us some time to remember and reflect upon Jesus’ Passion and Death. I found it a very sombre and moving liturgy.
Holy Week begins this weekend with Palm Sunday recalling Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. It continues with the days of preparation on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday which was traditionally called ‘Spy Wednesday’, the day on which Judas agreed to betray Jesus. And then Holy Thursday recalls the events in the gospel concerning the Last Supper, when Jesus offered his body and blood to those at table, and also his washing of the disciples’ feet at that meal. The love he showed, he told them was a “new commandment.” The Latin word mandatum -meaning an order or instruction – led to this day being called Maunday Thursday.
Good Friday is the day on which Jesus died on the cross. Church services take place with a focus on the reading of the Passion from the Gospel and the veneration of the cross. The origins of the word ‘good’ are unknown, but it could be a reminder, on this day of mourning, that Jesus’ death was in fact a saving event.
Easter is so much more than a welcome spring holiday. It has its own special meaning and importance. It offers us real hope. It reveals the immensity of God’s love, as he died for us on the cross, and the future he has planned for each one of us in rising from the dead. Easter gives us an idea of what our life is for. Through Easter we see how the love of God shines through darkness and discouragement and death.
We now have a sure hope that there is a meaning and purpose in all that happens to us. Deep down inside there is a sense of hope which burns within each one of us. It is genuine hope based on personal experience of God’s continual care for us: God has walked at my side through thick and thin, he has been with me in all the ups and downs and I trust that he will continue to do the same in the future.
Let us pray this morning:
Father, in sympathising with Christ on the cross, we are sympathising with suffering people everywhere.
We are joining our prayers to the prayers of the hungry and the thirsty, the hurt and the lonely, the sick and the dying, the outcasts and the refugees. We are uniting ourselves with all who are oppressed, all the known innocents who are condemned to death, all who are betrayed by their friends.
We are sharing in the pain of all who are adjudged fools by the people they have served all their lives, all who are nailed to the cross of others’ sins and stupidities, all who feel in their hearts that you, God, have abandoned them.
We believe that Jesus Christ, your Son, is also the Son of Man. We believe that in Him all mankind has suffered, been humiliated and died. But we are confident too that by his bruises all of us are healed. This is why, Father, we take our place at the foot of his cross, knowing that Good Friday really is good because of him who loved us and gave himself for us. Amen.