He is risen! He is risen indeed – alleluia!
Those are the words that we use at the beginning of our Easter Sunday worship. Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus after his death by crucifixion on Good Friday. It is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar but sometimes we skip straight from remembering Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday straight to Easter Sunday without entering into the story in between.
I’d like to invite you, whether you have a faith or not, to experience something of that journey from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday with us this year. On Sunday 9th April we will remember Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem by walking with donkeys from the war memorial in Birdingbury up to St Leonards Church where we will have a Communion Service. Then on Monday 10th April we will have a quiet service of Compline (evening prayer) at St Peters, Bourton on Dunsmore. This quiet service allows us to reflect on the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, in the knowledge of what happens later on in the week.
On Thursday we remember what happened at the last supper that Jesus celebrated with his friends. At the service at All Saints in Stretton on Dunsmore, we will recreate the moment where Jesus humbled himself to the role of a servant as he washed his friend’s feet before their meal. It can be a really powerful reminder of the words that Jesus spoke to his friend Peter, when Peter wouldn’t let Jesus wash his feet – Jesus tells Peter, that he must let Jesus wash his feet if he is to share in the experience of being with Jesus. In John’s Gospel Jesus tells his friends that “ I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13: 15 – 17) A direct challenge to all of us to serve each other, even if serving others means doing something that makes us uncomfortable. So if you plan to attend the Maundy Service please think about whether you could allow yourself to be served by me, as I offer to join with our servant Lord in a symbolic washing of your feet. After the Maundy Thursday service, there is an opportunity to leave All Saints or to stay as we then move into a vigil called Tenebrae, where we remember the events in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus prayed while his friends slept, then was betrayed to the temple authorities by Judas.
On Good Friday there is an opportunity for families to come together and enjoy Easter crafts at Stretton Village Hall at 9.30am before we move to All Saints, Stretton at 11am for a family friendly service. In the afternoon at 2pm we gather at St Nicholas Church in Frankton to spend the ‘last hour at the cross’ with Jesus, reflecting on the events that led to Jesus death. This service can be really moving, as when we experience something of that day that changed everything. On Holy Saturday we watch and wait until the glorious celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. He is risen! He is risen indeed alleluia!
However you and your family celebrate Easter, you would be very welcome to join in any or all of the services we offer this Eastertide.
As always, if you would like to get in touch, then please don’t hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07837124509
Love and prayers,