Category : Holy Week

A Prayer for the Day from the Church of England

Almighty Father,
look with mercy on this your family
for which our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed
and given up into the hands of sinners
and to suffer death upon the cross;
who is alive and glorified with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

We need “more emphasis on the blood of Christ, as well as the brutal method of his death”

Isn’t it curious that the Son of God would die in this particular way? Even Paul was permitted a nice, neat slice of the sword. Why did the Son of God die in the worst possible way? That’s the point here. Crucifixion was specifically designed to be the worst of the worst. It was so bad, good Roman citizens didn’t discuss it in public. It’s very much like the way we avoid talking about death and sin. The Romans avoided talking about crucifixion because it was so horrible, so disgusting, so obscene they used that word to describe it.

Why this method and not another? Because it corresponds to the depth of depravity caused by human rebellion against God. It shows us just how bad things really are with us. No wonder we don’t want to look at it. Yet again, the African American church has never been afraid to look at it. It gives them hope. It gives them strength. It gives them comfort. As for the blood: It is important because it’s mentioned so much in Scripture. It’s a synecdoche, a word that stands for the whole thing. When you say “the blood of Christ,” you mean his self-offering, his death, the horror of it, the pouring out of it. It sums up the whole thing.

And it’s not just a metaphor; he really did shed blood when he was scourged. He was a bloody mess. I remember one line from an article by a secular journalist. Concerning the crucifixion of Jesus, he wrote, “He must have been ghastly to behold.” That’s a great sentence.

Fleming Rutledge in a Christianity Today interview (emphasis mine)

Posted in Christology, Holy Week

Alone Thou goest forth for Good Friday

Alone thou goest forth, O Lord, in sacrifice to die;
is this thy sorrow nought to us who pass unheeding by?

Our sins, not thine, thou bearest, Lord; make us thy sorrow feel,
till through our pity and our shame love answers love’s appeal.

This is earth’s darkest hour, but thou dost light and life restore;
then let all praise be given thee who livest evermore.

Grant us with thee to suffer pain that, as we share this hour,
thy cross may bring us to thy joy and resurrection power [The Hymnal 1982 #164].

Posted in Christology, Church History, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer for the Day from Frederick Temple

O Lord Jesu Christ, take us to thyself; draw us with cords to the foot of thy cross: for we have no strength to come, and we know not the way. Thou art mighty to save, and none can separate us from thy love. Bring us home to thyself, for we are gone astray. We have wandered; do thou seek us. Under the shadow of thy cross let us live all the rest of our lives, and there we shall be safe.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

The Betrayal of Christ by Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) [1591-1666]

Posted in Art, Holy Week

“The most profound revelation of the heart of God apart from the crucifixion”

From Rod Whitacre here:

In the story of the footwashing, then, we have the most profound revelation of the heart of God apart from the crucifixion itself. We also learn more of the relation between Jesus and his disciples, the relation of the disciples with one another in humble service and the mission of the disciples to the world. These themes are similar to those of the Eucharist developed earlier (see comments on 6:52-59). The community that Jesus has been forming here takes more definite shape, revealing more clearly “the law of its being” (Bultmann 1971:479), which is humble, self-sacrificing love.

Posted in Holy Week, Theology: Scripture

Saint Peter

St. Peter once: ‘Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?’-
Much more I say: Lord, dost Thou stand and knock
At my closed heart more rugged than a rock,
Bolted and barred, for Thy soft touch unmeet,
Nor garnished nor in any wise made sweet?
Owls roost within and dancing satyrs mock.
Lord, I have heard the crowing of the cock
And have not wept: ah, Lord, thou knowest it.
Yet still I hear Thee knocking, still I hear:
‘Open to Me, look on Me eye to eye,
That I may wring thy heart and make it whole;
And teach thee love because I hold thee dear
And sup with thee in gladness soul with soul
And sup with thee in glory by and by.’

–Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Posted in Holy Week, Poetry & Literature, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for Maundy Thursday from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory

O Christ, the true vine and the source of life, ever giving thyself that the world may live; who also hast taught us that those who would follow thee must be ready to lose their lives for thy sake: Grant us so to receive within our souls the power of thine eternal sacrifice, that in sharing thy cup we may share thy glory, and at the last be made perfect in thy love.

—The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: Services of Praise and Prayer for Occasional Use in Churches (New York: Oxford University Press, 1933)

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

Blog Transition for the Triduum 2022

As is our custom, we aim to let go of the cares and concerns of this world until Monday and to focus on the great, awesome, solemn and holy events of the next three days. I would ask people to concentrate their comments on the personal, devotional, and theological aspects of these days which will be our focal point here. Many thanks–KSH.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Holy Week

(Spectator) Archbp Justin Welby–How do we celebrate Easter in the shadow of war?

I appeared on Question Time in Canterbury, the diocese I serve. It was the first time an Archbishop of Canterbury has been on the programme, so no pressure there. There were impassioned discussions about the appalling atrocities in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, the government’s energy strategy and the impact of lorry tailbacks on the people of Kent. There were also lots of sharp disagreements, but I came away with a strong sense that so many of us share a deep desire for justice, fairness and the common good.

Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, arrived in nearby Thanet in 597 ad. Being in this diocese, surrounded by reminders of my predecessors, I’m struck by the history of this church in this country – from the violent death of Thomas Becket on the orders of Henry II to the welcome of French Huguenot refugees in the 17th century. Our calling has remained the same: to be the Church for England, making the good news of Jesus Christ known, serving those on the margins and loving our neighbour. As I celebrate this Easter Sunday, I will do so with the suffering of people at home and abroad on my mind and the hope of the risen Christ in my heart.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Holy Week, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Day from Harold Riley

O Lord Jesus Christ, who on this day didst wash thy disciples’ feet, leaving us an example of humble service: Grant that our souls may be washed from all defilement, and that we fail not to serve thee in the least of thy brethren; who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

A Holy Week Message From Archbishop Foley Beach

As we begin Holy Week, I continue to be moved to prayer by the stories I am hearing from around the world. Some of these stories are front-page news, coming out of the war in Ukraine, while other stories come from quieter conflicts in places like Myanmar, Northern Nigeria, and South Sudan. In these moments, when it is sometimes hard to put into words what our hearts are feeling, I am thankful for the richness of our tradition which provides proven pathways for prayer – because God uses prayer to change things!….

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

G K Chesterton’s The Donkey for Holy Week

Posted in Holy Week, Poetry & Literature

Another Prayer for Spy Wednesday

O God our heavenly Father, who to redeem the world didst deliver up thine only Son to be betrayed by one of his disciples and sold to his enemies: Take from us, we beseech thee, all covetousness and hypocrisy; and so strengthen us, that, loving thee above all things, we may remain steadfast in our faith unto the end; through him who gave his life for us, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

R S Thomas’ The Coming for Holy Week

And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, A river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Holy Week, Language, Poetry & Literature

(Tish Warren via NYT) Tim Keller for Holy Week–How a Cancer Diagnosis Makes Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Mean More

How has cancer and this encounter with your own mortality changed how you see your life and how you see death?

On an emotional level, we really do deny the fact that we’re mortal and our time is limited. The day after my diagnosis, one of the words I put down in my journal was “focus.” What are the most important things for you to be spending your time doing? I had not been focused.

The second change was you realize that there’s one sense in which if you believe in God, it’s a mental abstraction. You believe with your head. I came to realize that the experiential side of my faith really needed to strengthen or I wasn’t going to be able to handle this.

It’s one thing to believe God loves you, another thing to actually feel his love. It’s one thing to believe he’s present with you. It’s another to actually experience his presence. So the two things I wrote down in my journal: one was focus and the other one was “Know the Lord.” My experience of his presence and his love was going to have to double, triple, quintuple or I wouldn’t make it.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Easter, Eschatology, Health & Medicine, Holy Week, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Kendall Harmon’s 2022 Palm Sunday sermon

There is also still more there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Holy Week, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology

A Prayer for the Day from Frank Colquhoun

O God, our heavenly Father, whose blessed Son before his passion cast out from the temple those who desecrated the holy place: Cleanse our hearts and minds, we pray thee, from all evil thoughts and imaginations, from all unhallowed appetites and ambitions; that in lives made pure and strong by thy Holy Spirit we may glorify thy name and advance thy kingdom in the world, as disciples of the same thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

(Eleanor Parker) An Anglo-Saxon sermon for Palm Sunday

The master of the asses asked them why they untied his asses, and in the same way the chief men of every people perversely opposed the preaching of God. But when they saw that the preachers, through God’s power, healed the lame and the blind, and gave speech to the dumb, and raised the dead to life, then they could not withstand those miracles, but all at last turned to God. Christ’s disciples said, “The Lord needs the asses, and sends for them.” They did not say ‘our Lord’, or ‘your Lord’, but simply, ‘the Lord’; for Christ is Lord of all lords, both of men and of all creatures. They said, “He sends for them.” We are exhorted and invited to God’s kingdom, but we are not forced. When we are invited, we are untied; and when we are left to our own choice, then is it as though we are sent for. It is God’s mercy that we are untied; but if we live rightly, that will be both God’s grace and our own zeal. We should constantly pray for the Lord’s help, since our own choices have no success unless they are supported by the Almighty.

Christ did not command them to lead to him a proud steed adorned with golden trappings; instead he chose a poor ass to bear him, because he always taught humility, and gave the example himself, saying “Learn from me, for I am meek and very humble, and you shall find rest for your souls.” This was prophesied of Christ, and so were all the things which he did before he was born as man…

Read it all.

Posted in Christology, Church History, Holy Week, Preaching / Homiletics

A Prayer for the Day from Handley C. G. Moule

As on this day we keep the special memory of our Redeemer’s entry into the city, so grant, O Lord, that now and ever he may triumph in our hearts. Let the King of grace and glory enter in, and let us lay ourselves and all we are in full and joyful homage before him; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

Paul Zahl–How Mary And I Spent Holy Week, 1973

Two days later I was pinned against the wall by the soullessness of Harvard Divinity School. Alone, I attended a sunrise Easter service on the roof of Divinity Hall. Krister Stendahl, who was then Dean, preached and conducted the service. He told us that the only trustworthy Resurrection text in the Bible was St. Mark 16:8c: “… and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.” Let me repeat that: the famous New Testament scholar Krister Stendahl, one of the founders of the “New Perspective on Paul,” told his congregation on Easter morning 1973 that the Resurrection appearances of Jesus are all “untrustworthy” except Mark 16:8c. And that what Christians need to do and be on Easter morning is be afraid. This really happened.

As if to pour salt in the wound, the rector of Our Saviour, Arlington, said something comparable during the main service there later that Easter morning. (Mary was wearing a black-and-white dress and looked stunning.)

The rector said that his Easter sermon was to be his public announcement that he had recently found the meaning of his ministry for the next phase of his rectorship in Arlington. That meaning lay in a popular new form of therapy known as “Transactional Analysis” (i.e., “I’m OK/You’re OK”). The rector was hoping that the congregation would find joy in joining him during the next half of 1973 and also 1974 as together we would enhance our relationships through that system. This really happened.

Even while sitting there, with Mary, I kept thinking of Peggy Lee and her song from 1970 entitled, “Is That All There Is?” I mean, seriously, here were two back-to-back Christian services on Easter Sunday in which “the hungry sheep look up and are not fed” (Lycidas).

Well, that is how Mary and I spent Holy Week 1973. Thumbs up for Piero Paolo Pasolini; thumbs down for Dean Stendahl, Professor Cox, and the rector of Our Saviour.

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Eschatology, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship, TEC Parishes, Theology: Scripture

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021, as we, in The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, pray for the work and…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, April 2, 2021

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Holy Week, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Easter Night

All night had shout of men, and cry
Of woeful women filled His way;
Until that noon of sombre sky
On Friday, clamour and display
Smote Him; no solitude had He,
No silence, since Gethsemane.

Public was Death; but Power, but Might,
But Life again, but Victory,
Were hushed within the dead of night,
The shutter’d dark, the secrecy.
And all alone, alone, alone,
He rose again behind the stone.

–Alice Meynell (1847-1922)

Posted in Holy Week, Theology

Yet Another Holy Saturday Prayer

Lord God our Father,
maker of heaven and earth:
As the crucified body of your dear Son
was laid in the tomb
to await the glory that would be revealed,
so may we endure
the darkness of this present time
in the sure confidence
that we will rise with him.
We ask this through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

Joel Garver on the 20th century’s greatest Theologian of Holy Saturday

From here:

Balthasar’s theology of Holy Saturday is probably one of his most intriguing contributions since he interprets it as moving beyond the active self-surrender of Good Friday into the absolute helplessness of sin and the abandonment and lostness of death.

In the Old Testament one of the greatest threats of God’s wrath was His threat of abandonment, to leave His people desolate, to be utterly rejected of God. It is this that Jesus experienced upon the Cross and in His descent into the lifeless passivity and God-forsakenness of the grave. By His free entrance into the helplessness of sin, Christ was reduced to what Balthasar calls a “cadaver-obedience” revealing and experience the full horror of sin. As Peter himself preached at Pentecost (Acts 2:23-24; 32-33):

[Jesus] being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you, by lawless hands, have crucified and put to death; who God raised up, having abolished the birth pangs of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it…This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He pour out this which you now see and hear.

We ought to pause and note the passivity that is expressed here. Christ experienced what God was doing through Him by His purpose and foreknowledge. Jesus was truly dead and fully encompassed within and held by the pains of death and needed God to abolish them. He was freed from death by God, not simply by God’s whim, but because for God it was impossible that death should hold Christ. Christ Himself receives the Holy Spirit from the Father in order that He might pour out that Spirit. Balthasar writes:

Jesus was truly dead, because he really became a man as we are, a son of Adam, and therefore, despite what one can sometimes read in certain theological works, he did not use the so-called “brief” time of his death for all manner of “activities” in the world beyond. In the same way that, upon earth, he was in solidarity with the living, so, in the tomb, he is in solidarity with the dead…Each human being lies in his own tomb. And with this condition Jesus is in complete solidarity.

According to Balthasar, this death was also the experience, for a time, of utter God-forsakenness—that is hell. Hell, then, is a Christological concept which is defined in terms of Christ’s experience on the Cross. This is also the assurance that we never need fear rejection by the Father if we are in Christ, since Christ has experienced hell in our place.

–S. Joel Garver on Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)

Posted in Christology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Holy Week

God knows our Dying From the Inside

Jesus dies. His lifeless body is taken down from the cross. Painters and sculptors have strained their every nerve to portray the sorrow of Mary holding her lifeless son in her arms, as mothers today in Baghdad hold with the same anguish the bodies of their children. On Holy Saturday, or Easter Eve, God is dead, entering into the nothingness of human dying. The source of all being, the One who framed the vastness and the microscopic patterning of the Universe, the delicacy of petals and the scent of thyme, the musician’s melodies and the lover’s heart, is one with us in our mortality. In Jesus, God knows our dying from the inside.

–The Rt. Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Rowell

Posted in Christology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Holy Week

A Prayer for Holy Saturday (III)

O Lord God, who didst send thy only begotten Son to redeem the world by his obedience unto death: Grant, we humbly beseech thee, that the continual remembrance of his bitter cross may teach us to crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof; that in the union and merits of his death and passion we may die with him, and rest with him, and rise again with him, and live with him for ever, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory; world without end.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Truth of Holy Saturday: Only the wound is there

Suddenly all of them standing around the gallows know it: he is gone. Immeasurable emptiness (not solitude) streams forth from the hanging body. Nothing but this fantastic emptiness is any longer at work here. The world with its shape has perished; it tore like a curtain from top to bottom, without making a sound. It fainted away, turned to dust, burst like a bubble. There is nothing more but nothingness itself.

The world is dead.

Love is dead.

God is dead.

Everything that was, was a dream dreamt by no one. The present is all past. The future is nothing. The hand has disappeared from the clock’s face. No more struggle between love and hate, between life and death. Both have been equalized, and love’s emptying out has become the emptiness of hell. One has penetrated the other perfectly. The nadir has reached the zenith: nirvana.

Was that lightning?

Was the form of a Heart visible in the boundless void for a flash as the sky was rent, drifting in the whirlwind through the worldless chaos, driven like a leaf?

Or was it winged, propelled and directed by its own invisible wings, standing as lone survivor between the soulless heavens and the perished earth?

Chaos. Beyond heaven and hell. Shapeless nothingness behind the bounds of creation.
Is that God?

God died on the Cross.

Is that death?

No dead are to be seen.

Is it the end?

Nothing that ends is any longer there.

Is it the beginning?

The beginning of what? In the beginning was the Word. What kind of word? What incomprehensible, formless, meaningless word? But look: What is this light glimmer that wavers and begins to take form in the endless void? It has neither content nor contour.

A nameless thing, more solitary than God, it emerges out of pure emptiness. It is no one. It is anterior to everything. Is it the beginning? It is small and undefined as a drop. Perhaps it is water. But it does not flow. It is not water. It is thicker, more opaque, more viscous than water. It is also not blood, for blood is red, blood is alive, blood has a loud human speech. This is neither water nor blood. It is older than both, a chaotic drop.

Slowly, slowly, unbelievably slowly the drop begins to quicken. We do not know whether this movement is infinite fatigue at death’s extremity or the first beginning – of what?

Quiet, quiet! Hold the breath of your thoughts! It’s still much too early in the day to think of hope. The seed is still much too weak to start whispering about love. But look there: it is indeed moving, a weak, viscous flow. It’s still much too early to speak of a wellspring.

It trickles, lost in the chaos, directionless, without gravity. But more copiously now. A wellspring in the chaos. It leaps out of pure nothingness, it leaps out of itself.

It is not the beginning of God, who eternally and mightily brings himself into existence as Life and Love and triune Bliss.

It is not the beginning of creation, which gently and in slumber slips out of the Creator’s hands.

It is a beginning without parallel, as if Life were arising from Death, as if weariness (already such weariness as no amount of sleep could ever dispel) and the uttermost decay of power were melting at creation’s outer edge, were beginning to flow, because flowing is perhaps a sign and a likeness of weariness which can no longer contain itself, because everything that is strong and solid must in the end dissolve into water. But hadn’t it – in the beginning – also been born from water? And is this wellspring in the chaos, this trickling weariness, not the beginning of a new creation?

The magic of Holy Saturday.

The chaotic fountain remains directionless. Could this be the residue of the Son’s love which, poured out to the last when every vessel cracked and the old world perished, is now making a path for itself to the Father through the glooms of nought?

Or, in spite of it all, is this love trickling on in impotence, unconsciously, laboriously, towards a new creation that does not yet even exist, a creation which is still to be lifted up and given shape? Is it a protoplasm producing itself in the beginning, the first seed of the New Heaven and the New Earth?

The spring leaps up even more plenteously. To be sure, it flows out of a wound and is like the blossom and fruit of a wound; like a tree it sprouts up from this wound. But the wound no longer causes pain. The suffering has been left far behind as the past origin and previous source of today’s wellspring.

What is poured out here is no longer a present suffering, but a suffering that has been concluded-no longer now a sacrificing love, but a love sacrificed.

Only the wound is there: gaping, the great open gate, the chaos, the nothingness out of which the wellspring leaps forth. Never again will this gate be shut. Just as the first creation arose ever anew out of sheer nothingness, so, too, this second world – still unborn, still caught up in its first rising – will have its sole origin in this wound, which is never to close again.

In the future, all shape must arise out of this gaping void, all wholeness must draw its strength from the creating wound.

High-vaulted triumphal Gate of Life! Armored in gold, armies of graces stream out of you with fiery lances. Deep-dug Fountain of Life! Wave upon wave gushes out of you inexhaustible, ever-flowing, billows of water and blood baptizing the heathen hearts, comforting the yearning souls, rushing over the deserts of guilt, enriching over-abundantly, overflowing every heart that receives it, far surpassing every desire.

–Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988), Heart of the World (San Francisco: Ignatious Press, 1979 E.T. of the 1954 German original), pp.150-153

Posted in Christology, Holy Week

A Canticle for Holy Saturday

In the midst of life we are in death.

We grow and wither as quickly as flowers;

we disappear like shadows.

To whom can we go for help, but to you, Lord God,

though you are rightly displeased because of our sins?

And yet, Lord God Almighty,

most holy and most merciful Saviour,

deliver us from the bitterness of eternal death.

You know the secrets of our hearts;

mercifully hear us, most worthy judge eternal;

keep us, at our last hour,

in the consolation of your love.

 

[You, O Lord, are gracious and compassionate,

slow to anger and rich in love.

As kind as a father is to his children,

so kind is the Lord to those who honour him.

For you know what we are made of;

you remember that we are dust.

As for us, our life is like grass.

We grow and flourish like a wildflower;

then the wind blows on it, and it is gone

no-one sees it again.

But for those who honour the Lord, his love lasts forever,

and his goodness endures for all generations.]

Posted in Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Holy Saturday–Spiegel im Spiegel for Cello and Piano (Arvo Pärt)

Posted in Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship