Honesty, Humility and Hope in Holy Week
A highlight of the past week for me was the Archbishop of Canterbury zooming into the diocese for some pastoral care. He invited all present to offer three words to describe how they were feeling at present. Our amazing comms team enabled all this to be translated into a wordle. Front and centre was hopeful. Around this, words that stood out for me were exhausted, tired and weary. They reminded me of that Easter cartoon which did the rounds a few years ago and which proclaimed ‘The Lord is Risen. The Clergy is Dead!’.
In response to our three words (and three excellent words by Chris, Tara and Esther), I heard and saw Archbishop Justin articulate and model three words in response: honesty, humility and hope. Honesty was articulated through acknowledging his own mistakes and struggles in the past year; humility was expressed through a recognition that frenetic activism is not the answer to the challenges that face us; and hope was celebrated in recognising the sovereignty of the God who in Jesus leads us beyond the cross to the empty tomb.
I sense that inhabiting these three words will bring blessing to Holy Week this year. Let’s pray for honesty on Maundy Thursday as we allow Jesus to wash our feet, acknowledging that they might feel as if they can walk no further; let’s pray for humility on Good Friday as we recognise that nothing other than Jesus’ work on the cross can save us from ourselves and the delusion that we can save ourselves; let’s pray to be filled with hope on Easter Sunday as we sing again (in a Covid safe way!) that ‘we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!’.
It is such an immense privilege to serve the leaders and people of this diocese. I’m extremely aware that we arrive at this Eastertide after what has felt like a very long Lent. Please, please make sure that you take proper rest after Easter as we face an extended season of recovery.
With love and gratitude,
Paul Davies, Archdeacon of Surrey