Monday, March 25, 2013

Fr David's Holy Week Invitation

The following is the text of a message we sent out last week to worshipping parishioners as well as enquirers:

This is YOUR invitation to join us for our journey through Holy Week and our celebration of Easter.

Our regular worshippers come from a wide range of backgrounds and age groups. What we have in common is the discovery of God’s love in the ups and downs of everyday life. Joining together at Mass we lift our hearts and voices in praise to the Lord as brothers and sisters together, we gain insights into his ways as the Scriptures are taught, and we draw strength from him for our daily life as we pray and receive Holy Communion.

It is possible that, like many other people, you have a suspicion that there is more to life than what you have so far experienced. You might even be wondering if there is, after all, a spiritual dimension to reality. 

Or you might look back half nostalgically to a time when you were very conscious of God’s presence and love; but your career, your ambitions, or just the stresses of keeping up with modern life, have caused you to drift away.

What better time than Holy Week to think about these things, maybe for the first time, or maybe “dipping your toe back in the water” after years of trying to make it through just in your own strength? What better time to reach out to God? 

You’ll find a real welcome in our services!

There are many ways of looking at what happened when Jesus died on the Cross that first Good Friday. Some speak of the Cross as a demonstration of God’s love, others as a battle in which darkness and evil are conquered, and others, still, as the sacrifice that takes our sins away.

I find it really helpful also to see the Cross as God’s way of sharing with his people - and with the whole of creation - in the anguish and pain we know only too well, not just “helping us through it”, but, even in the midst of it, pouring his love and strength into our lives. One of my favourite writers is the Orthodox spiritual guide, Bishop Kallistos Ware. He puts it like this:

“ . . . there was a Cross in the heart of God before there was one planted outside Jerusalem; and though the Cross of wood has been taken down, the Cross in God’s heart still remains.  It is the Cross of pain and triumph - both together.  And those who can believe this will find that joy is mingled with their cup of bitterness.  They will share on a human level in the divine experience of victorious suffering.”

The Cross is God’s way of loving the world back to himself - transforming it - and that includes you and me.

The services of Holy Week are arranged with music, Bible readings, art, drama and traditional ceremonial so as to draw us deeply into the suffering, dying and rising of Jesus.
We do not pass glibly to the joy of Easter Day without treading the road to Calvary with its pain and sorrow. Our journey is measured and reflective. It changes us. Holy Week is a fresh experience of God’s wonderful transforming love, a deeper knowledge of sins forgiven, and a new grasp of the victory God is trying to win in our lives over sin, evil and hatred.
I know that if you make the most of Holy Week 2013, you will emerge on Easter Day a new person. That is just as true for those who have been through 70 or 80 Holy Weeks as it is for those experiencing Holy Week for the first time.  If you tread the way of the Cross and journey to the Empty Tomb in sincerity of heart and - however falteringly - reach out to God, your relationship with him will be made new.

Sharing in these special services will help you put the world’s problems and tragedies in perspective, and make a little more sense out of your own life. 

See you in church!


Alice C. Linsley said...

"The Cross is God’s way of loving the world back to himself."

Yes! So true, but the world doesn't get it.

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