Clergy Letter for April, by the Rev’d Derwyn Williams
It’s always great when people come along to services on Easter Day. A busy congregation joining together in exuberant Easter praise stirs the soul and inspires the heart mightily. If you can join us on 16th April for the early Easter Ceremonies at 8am, or the Parish Communion at 10am, you’ll be very welcome to celebrate Christ’s resurrection with us.
You’ll also be most welcome if you can worship on Palm Sunday, and in the days leading up to Easter, when we have special services focusing on different aspects of Jesus’ experience during his final week of earthly life. And I suspect that the better we share the journey of those days with Jesus, the more meaningful will be the joy and wonder which Easter brings us.
Holy Week gives us the opportunity to plumb the depths of sorrow and the heights of Christ’s love for us, as we read and act out his beautiful story. A story which is nearly 2000 years old and yet ever fresh and new.
On Palm Sunday we can join the adoring crowds who greet Jesus with ‘Hosanna!’, as he enters Jerusalem, but also hear how their (and our) chant changes to ‘Crucify him’ later in the week. Maundy Thursday shows us the vast extent of Jesus’ love as he washes feet, gives us the gift of communion and makes his way to arrest and trial for our sake. On Good Friday we can enter the fullness of human grief, for the sufferings of Jesus on the cross, and for the sins we have committed which sent him there.
The special services in Holy Week are profound and often solemn. Once the Palm Sunday procession is over they don’t contain much of the fun or laughter we sometimes crave in today’s entertainment-driven society. These are not easy or entertaining times of prayer, if we take them seriously. Yet they can be the most precious moments we ever spend in church, if we let them show us 2 the truth about ourselves and our world, and about what God has done to redeem each of us, and all of his children. And when we take that mystery into our hearts, the Good News of resurrection life at Easter comes with an extra dimension of joy.
So if you next plan to attend St Michael’s on Easter morning, do come gladly and joyfully, and with hope and expectation in your heart. But why not join us in the meantime, especially if you have never given Holy Week worship a try, in your Christian journey so far. It could both offer a profound connection with Jesus in itself, as well as making Easter richer, deeper and more joyful than ever before.