Holy Week. Where will your journey take you this week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday? Our congregations across the Synod will be marking points along the way with different patterns of services this week. Some of you last Sunday will have celebrated Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, recognising the path Jesus will take before we reach Easter Sunday. Others will have used the texts associated with this same Sunday, but with a focus on the Passion Sunday which draws out the agonising decisions which lead to the depths of the cross on Good Friday. Throughout Lent, and now through Holy Week, the emphasis is on the Church’s mission of discipling people in the way of Jesus.
This week my snapshot is of a painting hanging in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, entitled The Deposition (painted by the Italian artist Palmezzano [1459 – 1539] in Forli, in oils). This moment in time is frozen in the painting, where Nicodemus supports the broken body and Joseph gazes in contemplation on the face of Jesus and they mourn his death as they take his body to prepare it for burial. In Matthew’s Gospel we hear how “there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus” (Matthew 27:57). A vital part of that discipleship is in our identification with the brokenness of Jesus, and the place of brokenness within our own spiritual journey.
Please pray for:
our congregations as they offer worship and witness to their communities this Holy Week and Easter, that others may gaze on Jesus and “become a disciple of Jesus”
those who are preparing to lead our congregations, as they wrestle with texts and the ancient story – and then share the depths of the Passion in a vivid way where we can offer up our self-will in taking up the cross of Jesus today
a world which needs the hope of redemption and resurrection more than ever, in places and peoples across the globe
those who walk this week in brokenness and pain, seeking a healing and wholeness which comes from a Saviour who has trodden “the valley of the shadow of death” and comes to us in our darkness and distress.