The celebration of Palm Sunday marked the beginning of what is often known as
Holy Week – this is the period in the church calendar where we remember Jesus' final journey to the cross and then his resurrection. Read on below for more thoughts on how you can connect with Holy Week.
It always strikes me on Palm Sunday that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, all the people were excited and said the right things but for the wrong reasons – Jesus was to be a very different kind of King and Saviour than they expected. But the cry ‘Hosanna!’ which means ‘God Saves!’ was prophetic and looked ahead to the death and resurrection of Jesus. And because Jesus rose again, we can in faith cry ‘Hosanna!’ declaring God’s salvation into any and every situation we face. Over what do you need to declare and cry Hosanna today?
As I look back over the last couple of weeks, I can see lots of signs of ‘salvation’ – here are some examples…
I was very moved at Presence when during the time of response, 3 of our teenagers went and knelt at the big wooden cross – the mum of two of them then went and knelt with them as they worshipped together.
Last week we stepped out in faith and love to connect with people at school drop-off/pick-up by offering prayer, sharing the gospel and giving away coffee and chocolate eggs. We prayed with approx. 70 adults and children – some were moved to tears as we prayed. There was a wonderful sense of God's love permeating through the local community. The call to reveal the love and good news of Jesus Christ continues to build momentum as we become braver and braver! Thanks to Jane Kendrick, Bernard Dishman, Shei Lin Simmonds, and others who joined us.
I had the personal privilege of praying with a number of people at home, in church and in the school playground last week and was moved as I saw each one experience God’s presence in different ways.
Holy Week offers the opportunity to reflect on the events that are central to our faith – the death and resurrection of Jesus. In more traditional churches, Holy Week would have a service every day enabling people to journey in depth with Jesus through all the events described in the Gospels. This can be an emotional journey as we connect with Jesus in the lead up to the moment of his ultimate sacrifice - ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?’ Psalm 22:1 – and then experience the joy of the resurrection. We do not have such an extensive programme of services, but we do have services at the most significant points – Maundy Thursday (the last supper and Garden of Gethsemane), Good Friday (the death of Jesus), Easter Sunday (The resurrection) – details below. In our Easter Sunday service we have the joy of baptising some people. I encourage you to come to as many of these as you can so we can share this journey together. Also, why don’t you attempt to read through the Gospel stories of these events – pick one of the Gospels and follow the stories by reading a chapter each day.