Thank you for connecting with us via this blogpost on Passion Sunday. Although we are not able to meet physically in the church building today, we can meet spiritually as we engage with some material that we have put together. You can choose to follow today’s Holy Communion Service or our Sunday Xtra Service (click the respective links) and/or read the Reflection below. We have also added a few links to access hymns, songs and other resources, which you might like to explore.
On Sunday morning at 10am, a Holy Communion Service, led by Henriette Howarth, will be made available online via our newly set up YouTube channel. After the live streaming, the video will remain on the channel so you can always catch up later on. We suggest you subscribe to the channel (it’s free) so that you get future notifications of new videos.
Keep us, good God,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus. Amen.
A Reflection by Henriette Howarth
It is almost a week ago when we were told by the government to stay at home as much as possible and not to socialise anymore with friends and family. Initially some people may have thought; I can easily do this – actually, I’m glad to be able to let go of some of the unnecessary socialising I was doing anyway. Some people may even think – I’m glad not to have to go to church anymore. And, indeed, this time of lockdown may prove to be a cleansing, de-cluttering and humbling experience. But as the days and weeks continue, we will all notice how much we do need each other. God created us as relational beings. I am sure it will be a happy reunion when we all meet again. The gospel reading for this Sunday from John 11 is a story about life and death, and this fits within the season of Lent when we reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus. The gospel reading in John 11 is the story about Lazarus, a good friend of Jesus. He had become very ill. His sisters Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus and asked him to come quickly so he could heal Lazarus. Jesus came after a few days, but by then Lazarus had already died. Mary went to meet Jesus who was still outside the village. We read that she falls at his feet and weeps. She tells him “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” We read that Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and he was troubled when he saw her weeping and Jesus himself wept because he loved Lazarus so much.
I want to ask you a question: when is the last time you cried? Just have a little think. For some of you this may be an easy question. For some of you more difficult. Some people may have had so much trouble in their lives that they have come to a point that they can’t cry anymore. I have used up all my tears, someone said to me recently.
The reality is that behind closed doors, many people are crying at this time, with real tears or in their hearts. There will be a lot of laughter and fun too, but we have to take on board that the lockdown is very tough around the world, especially for those who are poor, ill and isolated. I am sure we will have thought of people in our own families whom we might not see any more before this is all over. This causes much sadness. In the story Jesus wept. He weeps with us wherever we are and whatever we are going through. Mary said ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ In other words – where were you when we needed you most? Where is Jesus now, in this crisis? His name is Emmanuel – he is with us. We can’t do anything but live in the present moment and find Jesus here, with us, in other people as a treasure and comfort. In the story Jesus goes to Lazarus’ grave and raises him from the dead. It’s a preview of the resurrection of Jesus who said: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die’. Even though we may feel isolated and physically distant from other people and from church, we are connected by faith, hope and love. We are alive and can live our spiritual lives to the full, even within the physical limitations. Pray, read, connect, meditate and enjoy your daily walk!
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever. Amen.
Follow the link for lectionary based children’s resources aimed at 5-11 years to be used during March. These resources can be printed out and used at home on a weekly basis by those who wish to do so.