We’ve made it! The term has come to end. Not in the way we would normally celebrate, but we are now able to stop for a short time and reflect on the changes that have become part of normal everyday life. When we began 2020 no-one could have foreseen the place we now find ourselves in.
For me personally, I could not have envisaged spending the last six weeks first in hospital and then recovering at home. Thank you for all the beautiful messages, cards, flowers and gifts. Your support has meant the world to me during this time. I am recovering well and will be ready to be with you next term, whatever that might look like.
This Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week - a week where we journey with Jesus from the celebrations and Hosannas of Palm Sunday through the Last Supper to Jesus on the cross. This week will look like no other I have experienced in the Church. It will be surreal to be marking each event from my home rather than together in community with others. But there are many ways in which we can continue to remember the Easter story in our homes and I include some suggestions for you to do with your family.
The following prayer has been shared by several Bishops around the world and I invite you to pray with me for all in our world at this time:
Ever present God,
be with us in our isolation,
be close to us in our distancing,
be healing in our sickness,
be joy in our sadness,
be light in our darkness,
be wisdom in our confusion,
be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar,
that when the doors reopen,
we may with the zeal of Pentecost,
inhabit our communities
and speak of your goodness
to an emerging world
we pray in Jesus’ name
Celebrating Easter and Holy Week
Palm Sunday - place some palms or cut branches of a tree from your garden on your front door. Make a public recognition of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem, celebrating Hosanna. Read Matthew 21:1-11.
Maundy Thursday - share a simple meal together as family. Perhaps add Middle Eastern flavour, have lamb, pita bread, couscous. The symbol of breaking bread reminds us of Jesus' love for his disciples and us. Read the story of the Last Supper from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 and John 13:1-17. Reflect on how we can be servants to others.
Good Friday - traditionally this day is a quiet day spent reflecting on God’s great love for us. Encourage your family to spend some time in silence. Perhaps journal or draw what this last few weeks have been like for you. Think about the challenges and the joys and give these over to God. Today is also when we share hot cross buns. They have been in stores since January but I will only buy some this week to eat on Good Friday. Perhaps find a recipe and try making some yourself. Read John 18:1 - 19:42.
Holy Saturday - a day of waiting and anticipation. In many church communities, this day would be spent cleaning the church in preparation for the celebration of Easter Day. What could you do to prepare for Jesus' resurrection? Read Matthew 27.57-66.
Easter Day - at St Luke’s we would usually begin in the darkness of the early morning, lighting the Pascal Candle from a new fire. There would be singing as we light individual candles bringing God’s light in the world. As you celebrate new life with Easter Eggs and chocolate, think about how we can still shine God’s light into the world despite being safe in our homes. Connect virtually with the people you would normally celebrate Easter with. Read Matthew 28.1-10
Many churches are sharing this Holy Week with services online. St Luke’s has a service on Facebook live each day at 9:00am and there will be special services for Easter. Follow them here Facebook or website
You will find some other great resources to celebrate Easter at home here
May God continue to surround us all with love and grace during this time.