Message from Julia
Palm Sunday 5 April 2020
Holy Week is the most poignant time of the year. As spring bursts beautifully all around us, the terrors of this world are more evident than usual. As we re-enact once again the Passion of Jesus Christ this coming week, we are reminded of the sorrows of human existence.
It is painful being unable to bring alive the drama of Holy Week and Easter through the ancient liturgies of the Church.
We will not gather under the blossom in De Beauvoir Square for the blessing of the palms and make a straggly procession into church singing All glory, laud and honour, wondering if we will all be in the same key when we get there. We will not listen to the rich mix of voices from the congregation retelling the Gospel of the Passion as we stand together in solemn silence.
We will not gather around the altar in the sanctuary for mass with meditations on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Holy Week.
On Maundy Thursday, on the holiest night of the year, there will be no quiet laughing as naked feet are offered for washing, in this most tender of acts as we commemorate the Last Supper on the night before the death of our Lord. We will not follow the profoundly moving procession of the sacrament to the altar of repose, lovingly decorated with spring flowers and candles, a reminder of the Garden of Gethsemane and the garden at the tomb.
We will not witness the heart-stopping stripping of the sanctuary as we dumbly listen to the words of Psalm 88. We will not be enveloped by the shadows of the church as we watch and pray with Jesus in the deepening darkness.
On Good Friday we will not congregate in funeral black to kiss the feet of Jesus on the cross as we softly sing traditional Passiontide hymns – There is a green hill far away, O sacred head sore wounded, Were you there when they crucified my Lord, When I survey the wondrous cross.
We will not busy ourselves on Holy Saturday decorating the church with spring flowers and branches to recreate the Easter morning garden.
This year Holy Week and Easter will be re-enacted in our homes and in our hearts.
Each of us has a ‘memory theatre’ in which we can place all these acts. In this digital age, our memories may be less prone to glitches, timing out, slow bandwidths – and sharper than screen time.
Think of the church as a set with props and the ministers and congregation as the cast. Try to visualise the space, the objects, the faces, the sunlight, the music, the smell of incense, the hardness of the pews…and remember being touched by God in this place.
This year we will need to create a sanctuary space at home and to make our own props – a palm cross from twigs/cardboard and wool/string/ribbon, hand-picked or cut-out flowers to make an altar of repose…just see what the Lord will provide. And please send photos to share.
This week we provide ~
- Readings, Hymns and Intercessions for Holy Week
- A Home Liturgy for Holy Week for use with children
- Words & Music for Holy Week curated by Peter Day
- Praying the Stations of the Cross
- St Peter’s Memory Theatre
St Peter’s is blessed with faithfulness and creativity. I trust that each of us will be given what we need to make our Holy Week worship acceptable to God. Let us together make it a week to remembered.
With every blessing for this Holy Week
Antonella da Messina Christ crowned with thorns 1470 Oil on wood 42.5 x 30.5 cm
Metropolitan Museum, New York