Church of England Diocese of Rochester Gillingham

Passion Sunday 29th March

28 Mar 2020, 1 a.m.

Sunday 29th March – 5th Sunday of Lent – Passiontide begins.

HOPE LOVE

Ezekiel 37: 1 – 14

Romans 8: 6 – 11

John 11: 1 – 45

There are many rainbows around at the moment, a growing movement of a symbol of hope. The symbol given by God to Noah after the flood.

We are a people of hope – we know we are not alone in this, but it can be difficult to maintain that hope when things are going wrong, when the whole world seems to be in free fall, and the people we would turn to for a handshake, a hug or just a touch on the arm are not there – They must be at least 2 meters away. I personally like to know what is going to happen, I like to plan my days, even if they are busy, to know where I will be and what will be expected of me. Now there is no plan, we do not know what tomorrow will bring. We do not know when we will be able to pick up our normal lives or what those lives will look like when we do. Living with uncertainty is difficult.

Our readings offer us hope, the seemingly impossible becomes possible with God. In Ezekiel God calls to those lost I will put my spirit within you and you shall live. Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Ordinarily there would have been a smell, a decaying body. But Jesus commands he come out and live. At moments of utter desolation we see the dawning of God’s new creation.

If we were together this Sunday we would be beginning passiontide. It would have been our first united service together and we would have had our Lent lunch in aid of Wateraid. We will still be turning towards the most reflective, quietest and frankly the darkest part of the Church’s year. We look to the celebration of Palm Sunday when crowds seem to understand Jesus as their Messiah and worshipped him, but also we look forward to the shadow of the Cross.

We consider how great a price Jesus paid for us – his journey through these weeks must have had uncertainty and sometimes doubt – he cried out to God in the garden of Gethsemane. He was fully human and therefor knows every emotion and experience we go through. He is with us now and knows how we are feeling. Even when we are isolated and alone we are not.

Instead of what we had planned Phil and I will celebrate the communion at 10am in our dining room, with my parish lists on the table so you can all be with us in Spirit. We will celebrate and give thanks for what we do have. We are so much better off than some of our neighbours who have nowhere to exercise or in countries where there is no medical support. Be with us at this time, and if you are able to go online and donate a little to Wateraid please do so.

God Bless