A Message for Passion Sunday
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
We are now well into our first week of the more stringent and necessary physical distancing measures put in place on Monday evening. In talking to some of you on the phone I have been heartened by your positive attitude and your concern for others. It is by speaking to each other, encouraging each other, loving each other each day that we will emerge from this time with our emotional, physical, and spiritual health intact. Indeed, we can use the present time to build up our spiritual health through a greater attention to prayer, contemplation, and reading of scripture and other good books. Prayer connects us to God and through God’s Holy Spirit, to each other.
Jesus tells us that the Spirit is like the wind that ‘blows where it chooses’, that infuses this world (John 3.8). While St Paul explains that ‘the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words’ (Romans 8.26). Sighing, or breath was another way of saying the spirit. When Paul uses the word ‘sigh’ he does not mean something sorrowful. He means that the Spirit is like breath or wind, unseen but always there– the mysterious everywhere presence of God’s Holy Spirit, that brings us all together. Go out and feel the wind on your face and think of this, the Spirit. And let us not forget Jesus’s words of comfort to the disciples and to all those who open themselves up to God’s love, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me’ and he goes on to explain, ‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you’.
In this challenging time, we can rest assured in the knowledge that even though we are in our homes, unable to physically gather together in one place of prayer, we all abide together in God’s loving embrace. And we are connected to each other much more powerfully than even through the internet or the phone line. We are bound together through the Holy Spirit, that breath that enters the hearts and souls of us all.
And that is why prayer is so important at this time. It is through prayer that we are able to participate more fully in the work of the Holy Spirit - and therein lies our joy as essential and much-loved participants in God’s great creation.
This week there are some options for participating in worship which I have listed below. There are even more options for streamed services on the Diocesan website and the Church of England website. I would encourage everyone to choose the option that works best for them.
I continue to pray daily for each of you and our entire parish of Almondbury and Farnley Tyas. I also continue to celebrate the Eucharist each morning including all of you in this celebration spiritually and again encourage all of you to participate through spiritual communion (see my e-mail earlier this week).
Please can you share the information in this e-mail with others who do not have access to e-mail? And also feel free to forward this e-mail and any that I send to you on to others whom you feel would benefit at this difficult time.
and keep you in all health and joy.
Worship for Passion Sunday:
Radio 4: Service at 8.10: Reconciliation in Difficult Times
A service for Passion Sunday with Edgardo Colon-Emeric, Director of the Center for Reconciliation, Duke University, and Canon Dr Jennifer Smith of Wesley's Chapel, London. Listen here.
(TV): Sunday, 29 March at 10.45: A Service for Passion Sunday
The Very Rev Kathy Jones leads the service for Passion Sunday from Bangor Cathedral in north Wales. With hymns sung by the Songs of Praise congregation recorded in March 2018. Watch here.
Welcome - The Very Revd Kathy Jones, Dean of Bangor
Hymn – Come Down O Love Divine.
First Reading – John, Chapter 11, Verses 17-44, Read by Stuart Kerracher
Sermon – Canon Tracy Jones
Hymn – Angel Voices Ever Singing
Second Reading – Ezekiel, Chapter 37, Verses 1-10, Read by Serena Pinto
Prayers – Led by Canon Nathan Jarvis
The Lord’s Prayer
The Blessing - The Very Revd Kathy Jones, Dean of Bangor
Hymn – We Have A Gospel To Proclaim