At first sight my title might suggest that I am asking you to remember this past week – a week which has been memorable for its toll in lives and loss of livelihoods because of the raging pandemic. However, I’m going to push our memories back even further to a week two thousand years ago when something happened that changed the course of history. Whatever your views about the death of Jesus, it has to be acknowledged that his death affected history, and therefore our lives, in a big way. Europe, and many other parts of the world, would not be what they are today had it not been for the Christian faith that developed after Jesus’ death, and our attitude to love, suffering and death has been indelibly shaped by his story.
So, why remember this week, the coming week that Christians call ‘Holy Week’? In a series of posts next week I want to show how the story of Jesus resonates with the story of our time and of our lives. It is a story that incorporates the suffering of innocents; the notion of giving one’s life in suffering service to others; and the idea that God can be found at the point where human existence begins to run out in the peace that follows the sheer silence of devastation.
On our church website – http://www.ststephenscanterbury.net – we will be offering reflective Services to cover each day of Holy Week, kicking off with a Palm Sunday celebration this Sunday. On Monday to Wednesday we will be offering a Compline to end each day and, on Maundy Thursday, there will be a Eucharist (with the invitation to make ‘Spiritual Communion’) that will incorporate reflections on the washing of feet and the stripping of the altar – things that would usually take place in church. On Good Friday and Holy Saturday there will be some liturgies to help us reflect on the death and burial of Jesus, and then on Easter Sunday we will celebrate the new life of Easter with a festal Eucharist and reflection on the dawning of the new day with its light and promise of unlimited life.
Please do join us as we remember this very special week, and may the blessings of this holy season be with you as you continue to live through these difficult days.