Greetings and welcome to S. Michael’s on Palm Sunday as we begin Holy Week. Today our liturgy begins with the Procession of Palms, recalling Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people who lined Jesus’ route, threw cloaks on the ground and waved branches, were those who had seen the kingdom of God come near. They were moved to shout their praises, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Once the procession moved into Jerusalem Jesus found himself in a city in turmoil, with people asking, “Who is this?”
As the hosannas faded into the background it was obvious that Jesus’ ministry had produced two groups of people. One group is the poor in spirit who are blessed because theirs is the kingdom of God. They have seen and embraced the mercy evident in the life and ministry of Jesus, and see this as the action of the living God.
The other group is the powerful religious and political authorities who want to protect their privilege and order and reject the faith that Jesus is Lord. These are like two standards. We find ourselves in Holy Week, like the disciples, having to choose which to come under as our motives are laid bare. On Palm Sunday we read the Passion to help us understand the implications of this choice.
Through our baptism we are united to Christ’s death. This means our spirit yearns to stand where Jesus stands and to share the suffering Jesus suffers, even if our courage falters and lets us down. The purpose of the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter is to build up our capacity to stand with Jesus, regardless of the cost: to trust and not to be afraid. This capacity comes when, through these liturgies, we experience the Holy Spirit filling our heart with the courage and strength of God.
We are given the grace to face the questions, challenges and suffering in our own lives right now, which show us the passion of Christ.
I encourage you to make this journey with us at S. Michael’s through this Holy Week. Tonight we have a special service, the Stations of the Cross with hymns and choral reflections. From this we will go on to celebrate the full richness and depth of the Church’s tradition as we build towards the Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the joyful celebration of the resurrection at Easter.
Yours in Christ,
Father Andrew Starky
- Posters and flyers for Stations of the Cross and Holy Week Services are available from the office and at the back of the church.
- From 1 April 2017 all sundry donations, eg for flowers or other parish appeals, will be recorded and included in parishioners’ annual giving receipts.
- Meditation Group: Wednesdays 12:00–12:30 pm in the Pilgrims’ Chapel. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
- Michael’s School is now on holiday until 1 May.
- Supper after the Easter Vigil on Saturday: please bring finger food to share.
- Lunch at Regatta on Avon: Easter Day at 12:15 pm. Details Kathryn Starky.
- Reports for the AGM on 14 May: to the office by 26 April
- Sales Table: Sundays in the hall after Mass. Raffle tickets, $2 each or 3 for $5, available Sundays in the hall, weekdays from the office.
- Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
- Bible Study Group resumes on 1 May. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
- Advance Notice: Exhibition of paintings by Diana Watson (Smith) in the hall, 28–30 April, affordable prices with proceeds towards our new vicarage. Elisabeth Alberts and Ginny Comery will sing at the opening 4:30–6:30 pm on 28 April.
- Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.
- Preparations for Easter:
- Donations for flowers to Jill Woodside please.
- Floral Cross: please bring garden flowers next Sunday morning.
- Working bee for brass cleaning etc: Saturday 10:00 am in the lounge.
- For Maundy Thursday: If you would like to take part in the foot washing during the Mass, please sign the list at the back of the church. After the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament remains on the Altar of Repose until the next day. Members of the congregation keep watch for an hour during the night. If you can do this, please sign the list at the back of the church so that we can ensure that at least two people are present at all times. Details Stephen Woodside (338 9590).