Dear Friends, In the early Church, even before the stories familiar to us in the Gospels were written down, Christians used to gather together to remember the events of Jesus’ last week with us on earth. It is said that, for people to feel that they were "there" in the stories, the events were effectively acted out, so that people had a primary experience of what had happened. They would share a meal, they would wash each other’s feet, they would gather in a garden in the darkness, they would walk through the places in which they lived, they would be the crowd surrounding Jesus, they would watch as He died in agony upon the cross, they would see someone’s body laid in a tomb. In this way, they would identify more closely with Christ, feel that Jesus’ story connected with their stories and the stories of their communities and those they cared about. In this way they would celebrate and make more real the fact that God is with us, in the pain and wonder of our existences.
Nowadays we have services which are based upon those same events, offering us a way of engaging more deeply with the Christ who is celebrated in those moments. We are invited to partake of the Passover meal at the Maundy Thursday Eucharist of the Last Supper; to watch with Christ in the Gethsemane garden; to walk through the streets of our town with Christ’s cross; to sit at the foot of the cross connecting Christ’s suffering with the suffering being experienced today; we are invited on Holy Saturday to embrace those buried in our grounds, praying them into Jesus’ death and resurrection, that we may all the more celebrate all that Resurrection means for us on Easter Day and for the creation of which we are part.
It is therefore with the greatest pleasure that I invite you to come along to St Mary’s for our Holy Week and Easter services. I hope that we can in this way, for the first time in three years, pray Christ’s resurrection power into a world which so needs to experience the healing and hope He alone can bring. Please see below the services which will be held at St Mary’s over the coming days and come prepared to meet with the God who opens His heart and makes Himself real to us in these extraordinary moments which resonate still in our unfolding human story.
With blessings and best wishes
Our Holy Week Services:
10th April, PALM SUNDAY : 9.30am Parish Eucharist and blessing of Palm Crosses 5pm Zoom Service 6pm Sequence of music and readings for Holy Week, with the Marble Hill Singers.
Wednesday 13th April 10am Eucharist
14th April, MAUNDY THURSDAY 7.30pm EUCHARIST OF THE LAST SUPPER, followed by Gethsemane watch until 9.30pm.
15th April, GOOD FRIDAY 9pm, Walk of Witness, beginning on Twickenham Green. 12noon Meditations at the foot of the Cross, praying especially for the people of Ukraine. 2.30pm Liturgy of Good Friday, with Communion.
16th April, HOLY SATURDAY 3pm A service will be held in our garden, praying the souls of those who are buried there into the death and resurrection of Christ.
17th April, EASTER DAY 9.30am FESTIVAL EUCHARIST and the lighting of the Paschal Candle. 5pm our final Zoom Service.