On Thursday mornings we have both morning prayer and the mass so there is the opportunity to hear lots of scripture. I was particularly struck by two readings this morning and both of them were from John’s Gospel. The first, read at morning prayer, was John’s version of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, it is never read on Palm Sunday, always replaced by one of the stories from the Synoptic Gospels. John’s version is much more direct, much more matter of fact, The Pharisees’ insecurity is there for all to see, Jesus is a direct threat, John 12:19 “Look, the world has gone after him.” He has to be disposed of.
The second reading came again from John’s Gospel but read at mass. In this reading Jesus says to the crowd “Before Abraham was I Am.’ The crowd would have been aware of the quote from Exodus chapter 3 vs 14, God says to Moses ” I Am who I Am”. Jesus is claiming a link, a relationship with God that nobody had ever dared to do before, no wonder they try to stone him. This is the heart of our faith, it is Jesus’ relationship with the Father. So when God seems remote, incomprehensible, remember look to Jesus, for in his life, his love, his witness we meet with God.
This next week is the most important week in the life of the Church. We reenact in our liturgies the saving acts of God in Jesus, please make these liturgies a priority. There are times and dates in this e-bulletin.
Next week is Holy Week and on Maundy Thursday morning, as usual, there will be a Sung Eucharist at St Paul’s cathedral. It is a great occasion, when clergy and people from all over the diocese of London gather to renew their vows. The Bishop of London also blesses the holy oils which are then distributed to all the churches for use during the coming year. The service is open to everyone and no tickets are needed. It starts at 10.30, but if you plan to come I suggest you arrive early to get a seat with a good view of the proceedings.
Many of you will know of the Passion plays performed every ten years in the Bavarian village of Oberammergau. This is to fulfil their vow to God, made in 1634, in thanksgiving for deliverance from the plague that was ravaging Europe. The plays now attract people from all over the world who bear witness that seeing it is an overwhelmingly powerful experience. Father Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Bedford Park is leading a pilgrimage to Austria and Oberammergau in September next year and a few of us from St Nick’s have already signed up to go. There are a few places still left so if anyone reading this is interested is joining us please let me know as soon as possible and I can give you further details.
With every blessing