Holy Week

Please click on the pictures for a prayer or piece of music

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The Bishop of Chichester has sent this message to parishes:

This is to be a Holy Week like no other in living memory for most of us.

It is clear that parishes across the diocese are rising to the challenge as preparations are now in hand to present the drama of the Lord’s passion, and the joy of his resurrection, in new and exciting ways.

My personal experience of Holy Week is that it feels like the beginning of a week in retreat. All other demands are set to one side. It’s a busy and demanding time. Tempers fray, life is intensified, our limitations and priorities are exposed. These are indications of authenticity. They are the terms and conditions of our humanity, in which we enter Jerusalem, stand bereft at Calvary, and come starkly to the tomb.

Like any retreat, it takes a bit of time to get into the rhythm of the days. This year, we have the unprecedented gift of time, because there is nowhere else to go. How will you use that time?

There are already more than enough suggestions on our website and on social media. So forgive me if I make another suggestion. I hope it will help you deal with the rest.

Do not make yourself busy. Resist the attraction of too much streaming and the temptation to check on what others did.

This Holy Week is a week for being re-created, for understanding the complexity of nature, even in its destructive manifestations, and marvel at it. Take God as your example, from the opening of Genesis.

Do one thing well in each day. Review your day: discern the points at which you can rejoice and give thanks from what is good.

Keep an eye on the Genesis list. Rejoice in creation – sun, moon, stars, hills, rivers, seas, etc. Take note that the beasts of the field are made on the 5th day (Thursday), as the paschal lamb is prepared. Take note that humanity, the crown of God’s creation, is made on the 6th day, as we are re-made on the wood of the cross.

And on the 7th day, take note of what sabbath rest is and does. It is the gaze of love that transforms irrevocably what it sees, in its intensity and delight. It is eternity at peace with itself, capable of whatever space is needed for the recovery of what was lost (the harrowing of hell).

Do not make yourself busy but delight on Easter Sunday in the 8th day of creation: God’s new work. This is the day of the new creation. It is the day of your baptismal renewal when you became a pledge and sign of the perfection of God’s work.

The truth of this holy week is not diminished by the limitations on our freedom to assemble. Death is a part of the whole story. Fear and grief are the part we play in the story; joy and peace and glory must be the conclusion that we can demonstrate to the people among whom we live and whom we are called to lead by hope and love into the future.

Please be assured of my prayers for each of you. May God bless you in the sabbath rest and re-creation of the paschal mystery of Easter.

And keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, who was wounded for our sins, that you might bear in your life and ministry, the love and joy and peace, which are the marks of Jesus in his disciples.

+Martin

There is a service being streamed from the Cathedral every day during Holy Week. The full programme can be found here:

https://cofechichester.contentfiles.net/media/documents/document/2020/04/Holy_Week_2020_hc1asqT.pdf