Reflections, prayers and family activities for Monday of Holy Week
March Team Ministry
 April 7th, 2020
 News for the parishes of St John, St Mary, St Peter and St Wendreda

We are offering a meditation each day for this very strange and exceptional Holy Week. 

We continue considering some of the events in the accounts of the Last Supper. After he washed feet, today we come to Jesus talking about those amongst his disciples who would betray and deny him.

You will also find a few activities for those of you with children (and even some of those without might like to have a go!)

Rev'd Andrew

Tuesday of Holy Week 
Today's reflection is based on John's Gospel, Chapter 13, verses 21-38. 
If you don't have a Bible to hand, you can find the reading by clicking the below button.
Read here
 A Reflection from Revd. Andrew...
Jesus, in John’s gospel, appears very much to be in control, both in this reading at the last Supper and throughout all the events of Good Friday. Not surprisingly, as he knows how things will unfold, he is troubled in Spirit, and he partially opens up indicating that he will be betrayed by one of those with whom he is dining, one who has shared in his life, one who shares his bread, and now one who will share death with him.
Not surprisingly some of the disciples react to this enigmatic announcement. No disciple wants to draw attention to themselves, with this accusation flying around, lest those who deny the most vigorously is seen as a guilty party. Jesus gives a coded answer that only the beloved disciple and Peter have the key to crack; and the one, Judas, who receives the role. In John’s account, it is at Jesus’s initiative that after receiving the dipped bread, the Tempter enters Judas; the other gospels have that Judas and the priestly hierarchy have already done a deal for a price of thirty pieces of silver. The other disciples just think Judas is carrying out his normal role at Jesus’s behest, providing for them, or for the poor.

At the end of the reading Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Jesus three times that very evening before dawn breaks. John does not record Peter’s protest, that he will never deny Jesus, which the other gospels record. Rather it is that Peter wishes to follow Jesus now, and Jesus has just said (enigmatically) that they cannot now follow him. What they can do is love one another, just as he has loved them, and just as the Father loves the Son.

If we follow the story forward, we learn that Peter tries to follow. He tries so hard to be close to Jesus, to see and hear what is going on, that three times when challenged he tries to avoid being removed or arrested. In contrast, the beloved disciple uses his connections to see and hear. He continues to witness the events, so that he is even there when Jesus is on the cross, and can receive Jesus’s request to care for, and be cared for by Jesus’s mother Mary. For the beloved disciple and Mary this is living out that command to love on another.

We shall return to whether and how the disciples can follow Jesus where he is going, in tomorrow’s meditation, but for now we have this mandate, to love one another.(It is where the title comes from Maundy = Mandate.)

In today’s language, we speak of a party standing on a Manifesto, and when elected they have a mandate to implement it. A Mandate is the putting into practice ideas and visions. So, at the last Supper Jesus gives us this commission.
Jesus talks about love elsewhere. Jesus quotes his tradition from the Old Testament about love. Jesus extends the challenge of love, not just to those whom it is easy or natural to love, but as far as anyone who can be a neighbour, and those who we regard, or who regard us, as enemies. It is a tall order.

Because the Father’s love for the Son is without limit, so is the Son’s love for his disciples, so can be their love for one another. Love cascades along, following God’s initiative to love for no reason other than his very nature; without any requirement for love back; with an expectation which shatters the connection of reward and punishment.
This narrative is placed in John’s gospel to prepare the disciples to understand the cross; they will not witness it; they will be behind locked doors in that same upper room all through the events we know as Good Friday. It is there for us now to give insight as we live once again Holy Week.

And we who in some way are spending this strange, particular and challenging Holy Week behind locked doors, have to ask about how we can show love to those in our household, to those we yearn to meet face to face, to those who are our neighbours, to those who are putting their own lives at risk as healthcare, social care, food provision or in many other ways. And how we can receive love, allowing others to express their love for us.

We may, like Judas, want to run away from the loving presence of God, and the challenge of his mandate to love. We may, like Peter, wish to follow, but find obstacles and have to be patient before we can understand or meet face to face. We may be like the beloved disciple, going further, having new relationships and witnessing the death of a loved one. Or we may have our own distinctive way of following, as had the nine or more other people in that upper room, whose journey through and beyond Holy Week is not recorded, but is just as real.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all, evermore. Amen.                               
                                                                                         God Bless, Andrew   
To read and/or print the full Reflection, Gospel reading and prayers please click here      
Kids' Corner... 
Here are today's activities and worship resources for Tuesday of Holy Week - have a go - we would love to see how you get on..!
Feel free to tag one of our churches (@StJohnsMarch, @StPetersMarch, @StWendredasMarch) or tag Operations Manager @RebeccaMarchChurches to keep us updated!
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