This one is for the local magazine for this village, part of a whole load of 'demystifying' articles I have done...
Perhaps I will post some of the others if things stay busy like they are for a bit.
More of the Easter Mystery
Last year, around this time, I tried to say a little bit about what happens in Church around Good Friday and Easter. Rather than going over the same ground again, this year I want to talk about Palm Sunday and the days which follow it, though it will be leading up to Easter Day again!
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. On that day we remember that Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem not as a King would be expected to do, with an entourage, chariots and great white horses, but humbly and riding on a donkey. The people who knew who he was still proclaimed him to be a great person and laid their cloaks and branches from Palm trees down on the ground in front of him , as there was no ‘red carpet’ available, which is why we call it ‘Palm Sunday’.
And though the crowds showed their adoration, Jesus didn’t declare himself to be King – but remained humble and continued to teach and pray at the Temple. This theme of humility continues throughout Holy Week, as we come to Maundy Thursday a few days later, when Jesus washed the feet of his followers to show how we should serve and care for one another. We remember this in a special service called ‘The Maundy Thursday liturgy’ part of a Holy Communion service which also remembers ‘the Last Supper’ which Jesus shared with his friends.
Again, on Good Friday, Jesus having been arrested and tortured didn’t fight back, but knew that God’s love is shown in humility and forgiveness. As he was nailed the cross, which we remember in special services through the day, he even prayed for his killers ‘Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.’ And on that first Easter Day, he didn’t appear with trumpets and fanfares but chose to appear first to Mary Magdalene, then to his closest friends, to show that he had been raised from the dead. Our greatest day, the most important celebration of our Church year, takes place on Easter Day – as we remember that God’s love is stronger even than death. Christ is Risen!