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Rector's View - April 2009

Dear friends,

The week leading up to Easter is traditionally known as Holy Week. In Holy Week we are reminded of the main events in the last week of Jesus' ministry. We recall these events not as impassive observers but so as to fully enter into them, that we might share His victory. In Holy Week, then, we re-enact the last scenes of the life of Christ in liturgical drama.

Palm Sunday is on 5th April. We commemorate Christ's entry into Jerusalem to accomplish His saving work by dying and rising again. Palm Crosses will be distributed at the services on this day, so that we may spiritually join with the crowds celebrating His arrival.

Our Maundy Thursday service, on 9th April, is at Denston at 7.00pm. We gather to call to mind what Jesus said and did at the Last Supper. Who, on the night in which he was betrayed, gave His disciples an example of loving service - the Mandatum Novum, or New Comandment, from which Maundy Thursday derives its name.

Also Jesus gave Himself to His disciples in His gift of the Eucharist, which He instituted on this night. This is followed by the Watch of the Passion for one hour. People gather, for as long or as short a time as they wish, in front of the Altar of Repose, which represents the Garden of Gethsemane. In this way we keep watch with Christ, present with us in His Blessed Sacrament.

The word 'Good' in Good Friday originates from the traditional 'Goode' meaning 'holy'. On this day we commemorate the sufferings and death of Jesus. Our churches stand in stark barrenness, and our services are marked by simplicity and the sense of spiritual desolation.

We observe the day with a United Walk of Witness setting out from the United Reformed Church in Wickhambrook at 10.00am. There are two devotional services later in the day - "An Hour at the Cross" at Cowlinge at 2.00pm and then "Stations of the Cross" at Lidgate at 6.00pm.

On Easter Eve, or Holy Saturday, we remember Jesus in the darkness of the grave. But yet we wait in prayerful expectation, confident of the triumph of God's love over pain, suffering and death. Out of the darkness of the night comes the rumour of Resurrection and the whisper of new life. We celebrate the Easter Vigil at 8.00pm at Stansfield. This is a service rich in symbolism and drama, as we rejoice that Jesus has burst from the tomb.

Easter Day, 12th April, is the Sunday of Sundays. We joyfully celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, and the new life which He brings to us. The Benefice shares in the glory of the Risen Christ with a Eucharist at Lidgate at 10.00am.

Holy Week and Easter stand at the heart of our faith - by attending, and fully entering into these services, our faith will be enriched and deepened.

With every blessing for a holy and joyful Easter.


Revd Stephen Abbott

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Last Modified Sunday 04 March 2018