Monday, March 19, 2007

Holy Week and Easter


Holy Week will soon be upon us (Palm Sunday is April 1st). There is a lot going on at St Peter and St Paul during the week - something for everyone I hope - as we recall the events of the week leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection. This isn't just an attempt at historical reconstruction though, and it certainly shouldn't be about wallowing in the past. The events of Holy Week should be a window for us not only into ancient history, but into our own times too. In this week we see the best and worst of humanity. We see the fickleness of friends, the calculating cruelty of oppressive regimes and vested interests, courage in the face of persecution and love which transcends death. There is the utter despair of the cross, and the amazing birth of new hope in the resurrection. As we pray our way through the week we think not only of Christ and those around him, but also (and much more importantly) of those who suffer and struggle in our own times. For many this week is a vital moment for re-focussing their lives, opening their eyes both to the pain and to the joy of human existence.
Why not come and share in it with us?
You can find details of all our services and activities during Holy Week here .

The week begins on Palm Sunday with a procession from the Lych gate into the church ,the blessing of the new palm crosses, and a dramatised reading of the whole of the story of the arrest and crucifixion of Christ in place of a sermon.
On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings there are services of Compline at 8pm - a quiet service of prayers and readings ton end the day in the Lady Chapel. On Maundy Thursday there is a communion service at 8pm which ends with "Tenebrae" in the Lady Chapel, which will be lit with 12 candles (the rest of the church is in darkness). We hear twelve short Bible readings, following the story of the arrest of Jesus, after each of which one candle is extinguished until we are in darkness. It is a dramatic and moving ending to the service.
On Good Friday there is a chance for all ages to use the church for reflection. There will be children's workshops in the morning with Easter crafts and activities. From 12 noon there will be a variety of adult focusses for prayer around the church, inviting us to reflect on the story of the crucifixion. This will be something to take at your own pace and in your own way. If you simply want to come and sit in the peace of the church, that is fine. A traditional Good Friday service of hymns readings and prayers from 2.30-2pm will conclude the afternoon.
On Easter Sunday morning we shall light the new Paschal candle, and candles for all the congregation from it, as we celebrate with joy Christ's resurrection from death.
If you've never come along to Holy Week services before, why not try it out this year. Come and join us - all are welcome!