Our church year starts with the promise that Jesus will return (Advent) and then the joyful celebration of Christmas that God is with us. Learning to live in this amazing promise of Divine accompaniment is something that we gradually undertake throughout our lives. When life is smooth and assured, when life is plentiful and joyful, it is easy to claim the reward and blessing for ourselves, and forget that God is rejoicing too. In the moments of intense sorrow, struggle, pain, and anger, we are quick to bear the burden ourselves forgetting that when we weep, God weeps too (John 11:35) and when we are frustrated, God is frustrated too (Matthew 21:12).
Sharing these moments of sorrow and joy with God is a fundamental expression of our walk with Jesus Christ, and essential to our discipleship. This year during Holy Week and Easter we are asked to pause and reflect on God’s presence in our lives, and consider what we might learn through the events of this week. Over the course of the next few days we will consider the events of Holy Week through our five senses to help us experience God through our own humaness and intimacy.
I invite you to slow down, to pause and rest while we reflect on the events of that most Holy Week. Consider what Jesus underwent in order that the joy of Easter morn would echo in your soul, heart, body and mind.
This booklet outlines the services in our three parishes and makes suggestions for daily reflections at home. The week will begin with our Palm Sunday service. Evening worship for Monday through to Wednesday will be a time of contemplation and corporate reflection; on Maundy Thursday we will mark the last supper with a quiet reflective said Communion service, including anointing with oil; and on Good Friday we keep the last hour at the Cross, a time to reflect on Christ’s final act before his death. On Easter day we will mark the resurrection and the joy of Easter in all of our three parishes.
We hope this Holy Week and Easter will be a moving and blessed experience for you, and pray that you will be able to engage with this earth shattering story in a way that enlivens you and blesses you. May God bless you this week and may his peace dwell richly in your hearts and minds this Eastertide and always.
Revd Jeremy Putnam
From Hero to Zero Les Reed, once manager of Charlton Athletic FC has held an extraordinary record ever since his time in office in 2006. Mr Reed lasted only 7 games in charge, and still to this day holds the shortest reign in Premier League history. I’d like to think this is an exceptional example, but unfortunately there are plenty of managers that over the years have lasted less than ten games. The game of football has often been accused of being very short-sighted. Heroes reduced to zeros in a matter of days, messiahs to mess-ups in a month, kings to criminals in a season.
I can’t help but think that the culture of our time all too often reflects the same short-sighted attitude as that of the premier league. Celebrities come and go, politicians rise and fall, major government policies are often accused of being vote winners instead of really investing in the future of our country. The ‘quick fix’ seems to be a slogan of honour for a new generation of movers and shakers, rather than taking time to consider the future as well as the present.
If you lived in the 1950s, you may remember how the country felt at the time. Still rebuilding from the devastation of the war, there was a strong sense of unity, both in recovery, as well as hope for the future; unemployment was low; the welfare state and the introduction of the NHS meant that people were eating better, working more safely, and living more healthy. The spirit of Britain at the time was to bless the next generation, and leave their children with a healed and prosperous country.
Have we lost this desire to invest in the future? In the midst of a world that is obsessed with instant gratification making the most of life now, have we lost the culture of ‘paying it forward’, of legacy and gift; handing on a better world to our children?
his week the Church marks the beginning of Holy Week with our Palm Sunday celebrations in which we are reminded of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. On that day in Jerusalem palm leaves were waved by the hundreds; praises sung with loud voices rejoicing at the sight of the one who would reclaim Israel, and begin the liberation of God’s people.
Six days later they were calling for him to be crucified.
In their view he’d gone from hero to zero, from messiah to mess-up, from king to criminal, in a matter of days. How fickle the crowds were. It is easy for us to look back and say they were too impulsive and quick tempered, but are we any different?
Despite our short-sightedness, the Easter story reminds us that God is not. His plan is for eternity. He cares for the here and now, but he also cares just as much for tomorrow and forever too. Jesus championed a way of life that was exemplified by his cross and passion. His sacrifice and resurrection ensured that we have life; a life for the here and now, but also a life for all eternity. Choose His way and you choose life; for today, for tomorrow and forever.
May you have a blessed and life filled Easter season.
Revd Jeremy Putnam