Easter Greetings

March 25, 2018 Sarah Dunn

 

On Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter Sunday, Holy Week begins. The week, carefully delineated in the Gospel of Mark, follows Jesus through his last days. It begins with a triumphal procession and ends with Jesus entombed and the quiet stillness of Holy Saturday. In those few days much happens that is of great significance. And the significance is carried, not in the words, but in the actions performed each day. Jesus enters the great city of Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, the symbol of coming in peace; he turns over the tables of the money changers; he curses a fig tree because it is fruitless; his feet are anointed; he shares bread and wine at a passover meal with his disciples; he is betrayed; he is tried; he is crucified. Throughout the story of Jesus many words are used, he teaches, he debates, he tells stories, he warns, he forgives. But now it isn’t the words that matter but what happens, it is the actions that speak the loudest – symbols that shout down the ages, ‘Take notice of this!’ We convey with words what we believe the actions to mean, but words are a poor substitute for experience. They are merely aimed at our thinking mind, they do not enter that deeper self that might understand what our reason cannot, that place of empathy and feeling, the place where true prayer comes from. To walk in a Palm Sunday procession, is different from merely hearing about it, to sit and have warm water poured over your feet, is different from hearing about it, to be quiet and still for three hours, immersed in music and image on the theme of Jesus’ death, is different from hearing about it. And because it is different is the reason why our services for Holy Week are different and involve more physicality than at any other time of the year. Culminating in the greatest act of physical remembrance of the week, when we stand outside the church and light the Paschal flame from which we spread the light of the resurrection of Christ, not the mere coming to life of a corpse but the declaration of the ultimate truth of God, that he transcends the bounds of life and death and that death is only the limit of our sight. I do hope that you will be able to enter into some of these experiences for yourselves, and see what I mean for yourself.

William Prescott

Rector