Soon we shall be invited to enter once again into the events of Holy Week. We look again at the heart of our faith; challenge ourselves again with the telling of Christ’s last week of preaching and teaching, healing and debating, remind ourselves again of his last words, his last actions, his last agony.
Why do we do it? It isn’t cosy and comforting like Christmas, it doesn’t attract large numbers to church it doesn’t cause an outbreak of tree cutting and bauble hanging, it doesn’t induce us to eat too much and spend too much. Why do we do it? Quite simply because it is the purest expression of our faith that we have.
Our faith was born, not out of a book, or even a collection of teachings, but out of an extraordinary set of events experienced and witnessed by a group of Palestinian Jews two millenia ago. Such was the power of those events and what they have meant that they have inspired and challenged many millions of people over the years since.
We can rad about those days we call holy in the Bible, we can think we know what they were and what they meant but faith isn’t something that only feeds the mind. If it doesn’t also feed the heart and soul then it is nothing but an intellectual exercise, just a piece of history to be debated.
By holding our palm crosses on Palm Sunday, sharing the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, watching with the dying Jesus on his cross on Good Friday and finally hailing the risen Lord on Easter Sunday we can give ourselves an opportunity to feel what our faith is about. To understand with our hearts not just our heads why Jesus did what he did and said what he said, why the disciples reacted as they did. In our imaginations we follow in their footsteps, and so seek to follow them in their unbreakable confidence in the life made new on Easter morning.
People often mistake faith as something that is to be believed. In my opinion, it is first and foremost something to be lived, practised, experienced. At the heart of what it means to be a Christian has to be Christ’s journey to the Cross and his resurrection.
William Prescott, Rector.