I have many good memories from my childhood of Easter Day. I remember it as a big day when all the generations of the family would happily gather together. On the Sunday morning we would go to church in our absolute finery and the place would be packed to the gunnels. The hymns would be well known and resoundingly sung… and everyone would have a smile on their face. We would return home to a sumptuous lunch and a general feeling of bonhomie! Easter was and still is special.
Holy Week was special too, although in a different way. As I grew up I loved Palm Sunday with the subtle smell of the waving palms… I was fascinated by Maundy Thursday as I watched and wondered at feet being washed and learned to watch and wait in the dark as Jesus was betrayed. Good Friday was always a sombre day… followed by Holy Saturday where I would feel numb as the rest of the world carried on as if nothing momentous had just happened.
Holy Week and Easter are the pinnacle of the Church’s year, as we follow Our Lord from the great entry into Jerusalem through to his crucifixion, his death, and passion, then on to Easter Day itself. And it is a demanding time for us all – not just for clergy. The Passion story is brutal, and its events take up most of our Gospel books. Yet in order to appreciate and drink fully of the joy which is Easter Day, we have to take part as much as possible with Jesus in the previous week. If you skip from Palm Sunday to Easter Day you miss out. You truly miss out.
The last week of Jesus’ life shows us unequivocally the love and depth of forgiveness of God. It shows us that though we may do so much wrong in this world and to each other – when we turn to God, God still loves. ‘Having loved His own, He loved them to the end,’ as we say in our liturgy. The darkness is conquered, and life and love will forever win in the end. All shall be well and we can sing Alleluia again!
This is the pattern of Holy Week and Easter. It is the pattern of living in this world. For the events played out over 2000 years ago show us that there is no darkness, no event which is so terrible that God is not already a part of, totally immersed in, and working to transform. Sometimes it is hard for us to see – as it must have been hard for the disciples to see. But it is our faith. It is our hope. It is the Easter message.
So, come. Come and share as much as you can in the events of Holy Week. There information about what is happening at Holy Trinity later in this magazine. Enter, with your whole heart and imagination, into what happens in Holy Week, and then prepare yourself for the overflowing of joy which will surely come on Easter Sunday.
with love, Liz