Rector’s News April 2020

Stop Press!

I wrote my article a few days before we heard that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York had taken the decision to suspend public worship in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.  I’ve decided to share with you all what I had originally written as I hope it may offer you some thoughts to take with us through Holy Week and Easter and to remind ourselves of the symbolism of the liturgy, even though it is most unlikely that we shall be able to meet together for public worship at this most important time in the Church’s year.

Please do keep a close eye on the Holy Cross website and please do share information with each other.  Although we can’t meet together for corporate worship, please be assured that you all remain very much in my thoughts and my prayers.  I shall, of course, continue the worship of the church with morning prayer and evening prayer and I hope that although we are ‘dispersed’ physically, we will remain united spiritually.  We hope to be able to offer worship online, via YouTube etc., but please do continue the offering of prayer in your own homes at this time.

Rector’s News

As I write this, we are still very much in Lent but it will not be long before we enter Holy Week and follow the Way of the Cross.  This most Holy Week of the Christian year – the week which takes us from celebration, through betrayal, suffering and death and then culminates in the joy of the Resurrection.

On Palm Sunday morning we shall have our usual procession as we accompany Jesus into Jerusalem.  In the evening we shall begin the first in our series of three addresses for Holy Week followed by Compline.

Stationsof the Cross, together with Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, will focus our minds on Wednesday in Holy Week as we prepare for the events of our Lord’s passion and resurrection.

Maundy Thursday gives us new insights on our usual Sunday worship. It puts the Eucharist into its context in the Passion Story of Jesus. We very much become active participants in the Journey to the Cross. Also there is that foot-washing which never fails to bring a tingle to my spine. His disciples always found Jesus unpredictable; the trouble with us is that we sometimes shrug off anything that is different and may cause us to think again! ‘Lord, you washing my feet… whatever next?!’  In many ways, this was a radical departure for Jesus as he washed his disciples’ feet… an act of loving service, an act of hospitality and an act of humility.

The following day we shall enter the desolation of Good Friday and our worship on this most solemn of days will reflect this.  This will be a time to reflect on our Lord’s suffering and death… a time to reflect on his unconditional love for humanity!

The whole of Holy Week with its climax at our Lord’s resurrection, which we celebrate with the great Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening with the kindling of the new fire, the lighting of the Paschal candle and the first Eucharist of Easter together with the Eucharist on Easter Day itself, enables us to proclaim – The Lord is risen – He is risen indeed!

We are so privileged in our celebration of the seasons in our worship. We re-enact the story year by year with the great events of the birth of our Lord at Christmas, his death and resurrection at Easter and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. As we grow in our faith, I hope we learn something new with each new account that we read or listen to. Sometimes what we read seems to speak directly to the situation that we find ourselves in and we wonder why it has not meant the same thing to us in the past. But at the centre of it all we have the great truth that our Lord was ready to give up His life to save us.

Without Easter we would never have realised that the Cross was not a defeat but a victory. Easter is God’s mystery, full of surprises. We read in the Gospels how the disciples were always caught out by the Risen Christ. He turns up as gardener, traveller, cook. This Easter watch out for him in unexpected people and places. It is the eye of the imagination that so often reveals the Risen Life.

Let the story and the joy of Easter burn in our hearts and let us not be afraid to share it with anyone who shows interest.

Your friend and Rector

Matthew Tregenza

Photographs © Bill Jerman