In Holy Week, the run up to Easter, a reflective service took place, at 7.00 p.m. each day – either at St. Mark’s Church or The Good Shepherd Mission or Bescar Lane Methodist Church.
The week began, at St. Mark’s Church, on Palm Sunday (14th May), with an all Age Worship Service (at 11.00 a.m.) led by The Rev. Eileen.
Monday’s service, at the Good Shepherd Mission opened with reflection on the pain of a mother, who in her love sees the suffering of her precious Son, in whom she invested her love, emotion and care for his well being. This, of course, was based on the pain of the Holy Mother Mary but the service went on to reflect on the pain we all feel at the sufferings of those we love and the innocent and vulnerable.
This pain is often so deep, and so profound, that it cannot be alleviated by human hands. Only the Father can heal it.
Tuesday’s service, was also at the Good Shepherd Mission. This time reflection focused on looking at the withered fig tree. This led to thoughts of the uselessness, and barrenness, of religion without love. These considerations were aided by reference to Paul’s fist letter to the church at Corinth. (Chapter 13)
During Wednesday’s Service, at Bescar Lane, Anne and David opened up a way for us, as we reflected on the mighty prayer of Jesus as he died on the cross, “Father forgive them”. we looked at what might stop us from receiving this blessing of God, by that act of not forgiving.
Ann used large stones to represent the heaviness and burden we carry, the wounds of resentment, fear anger pain and bitterness, hardness of heart – a burden too heavy for us to carry a burden that can be released by the power of forgiveness. This is a choice we must make out of our own free will.
How do we do this?
On Thursday, again at Bescar Lane, Patrick showed us how to do it!
It is in thinking about another and not just ourselves and in the service of others.
Jesus demonstrated this in the washing of his disciples’ feet –the work of a lowly service.
The Good Friday service, at The Good Shepherd Mission, was quiet and reflective. We remembered that Jesus stood alongside Barabbas in the choice of who to set free was made.
We heard the meaning of the name Barabbas:-
(Bar – son) + (Abbas – father) = (Barabbas –Son of the father)
Eileen told us:-
It was always going to be that Jesus would die.
Because he loved Barabbas in all of his sin and violence in all that he had done wrong.
She went on to say:-
“Jesus had to died to save the likes of him the likes of you and me.
Because sin is sin no matter the little whiteness of it.
No matter the depth of the depravity of it.
None of us can come before the Holy One except through the blood of the lamb, His own beloved precious Son.
As we reflect this morning we are standing on Holy Ground.
I wonder how those in heaven felt as they watched on.
The pain they felt for their beloved Jesus – so loving, so kind so faithful and true.
How they wept as the light of the world was extinguished and put to death, separated from His Father for a world that did not seem to care.
Our just deserts are anger and wrath.
Instead we receive forgiveness and welcome, so we are on holy ground, the ground of the Lamb of God sacrificed for us.”
[At the beginning of the service we all lit candles to represent Jesus, the light of the world but after we heard John read, from Mark 15, about the moment of Jesus’ death, in silence, we all blew out our candles and pinned our palm crosses to the cross at the front of the church.]