Welcome to our first Holy Week service. These services intend to give you a space to reflect upon the events leading from Palm Sunday, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, through the confusion of Good Friday, onto the wonder and excitement of Easter Sunday. We will journey together through the emotional rollercoaster, the joyful times, and the difficult times. We will, throughout the week, be thinking of the people who were there and, in their own ways, were hanging on to every word Jesus spoke.
Before you start- find a comfy seat and light a candle.
Let us pray
Help us to use this time together to learn more about you. May you be with you as we recall the events leading up to Christ’s resurrection. Hard though these stories are to hear, help us to listen intently to what you are saying to us at this time. When so many are hurting, so many are dying, so many need your love and your peace, may we, through your words, help to bring companionship, healing and peace to those around us.
In Jesus name we pray
First reading: Isaiah 42.1-9
Second reading: Hebrews 9.11-15
Gospel Reading: John 12.1-11
1Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), 5said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ 6(He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’
9When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
Here we are back at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, in Bethany, high up the steep hill of the mount of Olives, where from the top, there are staggering views of Jerusalem. John tells us that it is six days before the Passover, a week where the air is electric, there is a show down coming! Jesus is now having dinner with his recently resurrected friend Lazarus, a miracle which undoubtedly kicked off the storm. The authorities, the Sanhedrin, had called an unplanned meeting and decided to get rid of Jesus. The gift of life to Lazarus, was to lead to his own death.
Now we hear the story of Mary anointing Jesus’s feet with costly oil. Washing the feet of visitors was normal practise but not heads and definitely not with expensive oil. I managed to buy a bottle of Nard whilst in Jerusalem, it had been my hope to anoint with it at this evenings service, it smells glorious! Perhaps you have a favourite perfume? How does the fragrance make you feel? What memories does it stir? Mary poured out not only her precious oil, but her own love for her Lord, and her love, like the fragrance of the perfume, spreads far and wide, right down to this day.
|Reflection and prayer (Martin L Smith)|
This woman breaking open her costly flask appears again and again in stories of faith. She has inspired artists in their creation of works that glorify God in wood, stone, paint, gesture, movement, melody, and thread, while the pious sneered that these things were necessary, wasteful, impractical, and unspiritual. She has inspired men and women following the Spirit’s call to monastic life, to make adoration their reason for being, when their friends and family complained that they were wasting their lives. She has smiled upon thousands who tend the flame of prayer and love of Jesus in the midst of busy lives, when those around them view their devotion as wasted effort diverting them from achievement and doing good. Her memory has been present like a fragrance in thousands of bold responses to Jesus in the face of condescension and disapproval.
Spirit of truth, how far from simple is the whole truth of who I am as you draw me once again into the solemn re-experiencing of Jesus’ death and resurrection. On the one hand I must cry “Crucify him!” with my fellow worshippers, and sing “’Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee: I crucified thee.” On the other hand I must not let hallowed phrases like “there is no health in us” lead me astray. There is health in me, because you are in me blowing into flame the spark of love for Christ! I can use the sense of sinfulness and impotence as a shelter for mediocrity and a pretext for not nurturing that person within me that the woman who anointed Jesus represents so wonderfully. Spirit of beauty, because you are alive in me I can delight Jesus with beautiful actions as she did. I can be extravagant with my time, in prayer and in worship, and defy the voices that accuse this extravagance as pointless and indulgent. With you moving in my heart I can throw away some of the inhibitions that restrain me from letting go in wonder, love, and praise.
Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race
sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The Lord’s Prayer
Go now, from this time of worship, knowing that Jesus has called your name.
Go now, from this time of worship, knowing that Christ has set you free.
Go now, from this time of worship, to be God’s light in this world, bringing peace, encouraging faith and giving love.
Go now, with God’s blessing.
Go in peace.
|Please follow this link for the recording of Compline (Night Prayer)|
The order of Service can be read here
But the readings may be different