Reflection for the Month
From the Rectory . . .
St Margaret’s & St Michael’s Churches
Passiontide starts on Sunday 2 April. It’s the most moving time in the Church’s calendar. To mark the start of Passiontide the choir at All Saints, Maldon will give a performance of Stainer’s Crucifixion (6.30pm in All Saints Church) a moving, musical telling of the events from Palm Sunday to Good Friday.
On Palm Sunday in Church we will listen to the whole Passion Narrative and each person will receive a palm cross to remind them of the crowd’s adulation of Jesus on Palm Sunday, and their turning against him on Good Friday. The cross is, of course the supreme symbol of Christianity. We believe that Jesus, God’s own Son, challenged the religious and political authorities so much that they conspired to put him to death. That death was a cruel and torturing one, nailed to a cross and slowly suffocating to death. For Christians it’s very important to walk through Holy Week, recalling the events, becoming part of the story. There’s always been a temptation to leap straight from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, but that really misses the point. Only if we have experienced the desolation of Good Friday, Jesus’ death and his being laid in the tomb, will we also experience the joy of Easter Sunday: Jesus alive, the stone rolled away from the tomb and Jesus’ encounters with the disciples.
The disciples were, actually, very slow to believe. Mary Magdalene thought that Jesus was the gardener until he spoke her name. Another two disciples were so devastated by the events of Good Friday that they left Jerusalem altogether. They were joined on the Emmaus Road by a stranger who opened the scriptures to them, explaining the events of the past few days as part of the sweep of Israel’s history. It was only when they sat down to eat with this stranger that they recognised him as Jesus himself, once more breaking bread with them. And Thomas, famously declared that he would not believe in Jesus’ resurrection until he could put his fingers in the nail holes, and his hand in Jesus’ side where he’d been stabbed by a sword. Jesus suggested that he do just that when he met him and the other disciples in the upper room.
There will be opportunities for worship in St Michael’s, St Margaret’s and All Saints churches during Holy Week. I do hope that you can join us.