Welcome to our 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. Today our reflection comes from our friend Revd Louise Brown.
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 50.4-9a
The servant of the LORD said:
4The Lord GOD has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens –
wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.
5The Lord GOD has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backwards.
6I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.
7The Lord GOD helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
9It is the Lord GOD who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
All of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up.
Second reading: Hebrews 12.1-3
1Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
3Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.
Gospel Reading: John 13.21-32
21Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ 22The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23One of his disciples – the one whom Jesus loved – was reclining next to him; 24Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ 26Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ 28Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
31When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.’
Glorify God in Holy Week:
What a joy to share a few thoughts with you all this week in lock down holy week. One thing is certain our faith does not need to be in lock down and if we use this period to allow our faith to grow, what mighty warriors God will have when we are returned to society. Slowly, as we go through Holy week we get from our readings a sense that Jesus realises the enormity of His calling to die for the sin of the world, while in contrast the disciples become increasingly paralysed by the fear of what is happening . The loneliness of Jesus’ way towards the cross inspires Jesus to rely on the scriptures, which is why he quotes from the old testament on a number of occasions. The way of the cross strengthens him to rely on His relationship with the Father, and confirms that His heart’s mission is to glorify God in everything he faces ( John 13:31). In contrast the disciples dispute among each other, ‘who’s going to betray him?’ They fall asleep rather than pray alongside Jesus in the garden and ultimately their fear drives them to desert Him.
In lockdown which will be hard for all of us in different ways, those on their own, those in a family, those in a care home how are we facing it? Are we facing it like Jesus by being inspired to read our bible more, just think how much we could read in these weeks, on our own or with each other. What about our relationship with God, have we realised that we need to talk to him more every day, rather than rely on our weekly trip to church. How are we continuing our heart’s mission to glorify God, and how does this look like in lock down. The prophet Isaiah in our passage today writes ‘to know the word that sustains the weary’ how are we using our words? Who are we phoning, to encourage, or sending an email to or indeed doing that old fashioned thing of writing a letter to someone. Glorify God in your words. The Gloucester diocese (which is where I am now from) has just sent us a suggestion that we stand outside in our garden or from our windows at 10am on Easter Sunday and sing Jesus Christ is risen today..what a challenge, we can clap for those who are serving us during this lock down, have we the courage to sing for our Saviour, for all that he has done for us? Or in lock down are we like those early disciples so full of fear about what is happening that we cannot see the daily strength that God wants to shower upon us if only we would turn to him, his words and his love for us. The letter of the Hebrews reminds us we are ‘surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses’ not just in eternity but in lockdown all around the world so ‘ let us not grow weary or lose heart’ and ‘let us fix our eyes on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of faith’ God bless you all.
Spend some time in quiet reflection followed by your prayers.
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.
Here are some words from St Francois de Sales:
Do not look forward anxiously to what may happen tomorrow
The same everlasting Father who cares for you today
Will take care of you tomorrow and every day.
Either he will shield you from suffering,
Or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations,
And say continually: The Lord is my strength and shield;
My heart has trusted in him, and I am helped.
He is not only with me, but in me, and I in him.
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