ASK: Maundy Thursday – Easter

2020 Holy Week and Easter slider

Vicar's Blog ~ April 2020
ASK: Maundy Thursday - Easter


As we enter the great three days (Triddum) of Easter it is going to be one the like of which we have never seen or experienced.  Hard as it is, we must embrace this, embrace it with fortitude, conviction, determination, humility and a sense of purpose that this is necessary.  You would think that I am talking about the Corona Virus pandemic we are currently living - and dying -  through.  Yet I am talking about the Cross.  Jesus on the Cross - he ‘embraced it with fortitude, conviction, determination, humility and a sense of purpose that this is necessary’.  Perhaps like no other year, we have a new way to walk the Via Dolorosa this year, new ways of mapping our own isolations, fears, convictions and powerlessness onto that of our Lord.  
Be creative in your reflecting and praying.  Talk.  Keep silence.  Weep - for you will yet rejoice.  For this is the point - Jesus knew that what was necessary would be painful and many would be caused unbearable grief, yet dawn will come.  There is no Cross without resurrection and no resurrection without a cross.  This year our easy Easter has become harder, but that may be no bad thing in itself, even if some of what folk are living - and dying - through is awful.  All we can do is pray for and with them, and take every precaution so that when this is all over over, none of us can ever be haunted by the thought that we contributed to the chaos in any way.  For as in all things we are answerable for our actions, to ourselves, each other and to God.  I wish some members of our population understood that better.
I know that you are and do, and we thank each other for that, just as we thank God for the ministering angels who disguise themselves in NHS uniforms. Perhaps we can delay or interrupt our Agape/Maundy Thursday devotions this evening to put our hands together for them once again.  It is a strange, eerie and moving thing to do - a small, significant thing amidst a big problem.  On this Maundy Thursday, Jesus gave the new commandment ‘love one another' (Mandatum - to give) - and washed the disciples’ feet, with his bare hands.  So let us use our hands tonight to praise and thank all those who join their hands to serve the sick and dying.
And do pray for Sally Elphick’s family who have lost Ian Fusedale to the Virus.  I will share some details of his funeral so you can keep vigil for him and so many others at this time.  I’m reminded of that great John Donne poem, which speaks to us, not only of loss of a friend or acquaintance, but of the Passion story itself:
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 
Go well, keep well, sleep well and remember that ‘all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well’. 
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy.  Sustain and support the anxious, be with those who care for the sick, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may find comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.