Yesterday, led by Gareth, we waved palm branches as we processed from the Peace Garden to the Cathedral. Our progress was punctuated by shouts of ‘Hosanna!’ as we remembered Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. There was a festive air about the place. Today, the donkeys have departed from the Peace Garden and there is a tomb cut from rock with three crosses in the background. We are journeying with Jesus through his last week on earth as a man.
Our journey will be marked by special services. Each day there will be an extra service at 6am SLT in addition to our regular midnight and noon services. As the week progresses we will remember the story of Holy Week as the gospel writers give it to us.
On 21 April it is Maundy Thursday, the day when we recall the Last Supper which Jesus ate with his friends in the upper room. Here he demonstrated how we should serve one another as he washed the feet of his disciples. At the end of the 2pm service we will take away all the decoration on the altar, the candles, the bible, and leave everything bare. In doing this we symbolize what happened to Jesus that Thursday night when he was arrested. The removal of cloth coverings reminds us that Jesus was stripped and beaten by the Roman soldiers. Removing candles reminds us that for a short time, evil seemed to triumph and the Light of the World went out as Jesus’ human life ended.
On Good Friday at 6am SLT together we will walk with Jesus through Jerusalem to Golgotha as we meditate on the Stations of the Cross. Each station is illustrated around the walls of the Cathedral. We will walk from one to another, listen to a meditation and walk on. This is a service that people can join and leave as they wish. Even if you can only walk a short way with Jesus, do try to take that opportunity. The full service takes over an hour. At 2pm SLT our Tenebrae service (a service of shadows) will take place in the Cathedral. If you would like to read at this service, do let me know.
For those first disciples, for Mary and the women who followed Jesus, Saturday was a day of grief. All hope had died with Jesus. We will grieve with them in a meditative service for Holy Saturday at 6am SLT. At 2pm the same day, is the Easter Vigil when we drive back the darkness by lighting the new fire, the light of Christ, and we retell the story of salvation from Genesis onwards. Readers are needed for this service also.
Easter Sunday (24th April) is the climax of the Christian year. Christ has risen and we will celebrate together at midnight, 6am, noon and 6pm, with the main service being at noon in the Cathedral. Do come and rejoice that death has been conquered!
Please visit the Peace Garden and the tomb for a time of meditation during the week and afterwards.
Helene Milena – Lay Pastor