Reflections, prayers and family activities for Wednesday of Holy Week
March Team Ministry
 April 8th, 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 predicting the actions of Peter and Judas, we now look at the conversation which immediately follows with the disciple Thomas.

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

Wednesday of Holy Week 
Today's reflection is based on John's Gospel, Chapter 14, verses 1-7. 
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...
Those of you who have been to a funeral I have been conducting will recognise this reading as the “default setting”. It was also part of the gospel that we used for meditation at the last Taize service we had at St John’s just before public worship ceased.

We are in a situation when we are hearing daily of many deaths. Deaths of people of all ages and backgrounds who are dying with this plague, many without loved ones present, at best their hand held by a caring stranger as they pass from this world to the next. Even as recently as a few weeks ago it felt very far away and unreal, now it is coming home to us as we see and hear news, as we know of people who have relatives who have died, or have people who are in the caring front line in London or more locally.

This has already been my second busiest year for funerals in 30 years of ministry, and I have yet to do one for someone who died with this virus. I have lost people who have been close to me over the years. I have thought, rarely, of my own death or the consequences of the possible deaths of those very closest to me. But the situation feels so much more real than ever; for myself, for relatives both older and younger, so I am thinking about it now, and maybe you are too. Like most people I hope that death occurs in homes, surrounded by love ones, with some chance of preparation and sharing, without too much pain, and strengthened by the rites of the church. I now have to face that none of these may be quite likely.

Before yesterday’s gospel, Peter has just been told he cannot follow Jesus, at least not yet. Jesus, we have been told, is troubled in spirit. Following immediately on, in today’s gospel, Jesus then asks the disciples then (and us now) not to be troubled, but to trust in him because there is more than enough space for us all, and that it will be prepared by Jesus himself for us. Just as the host acted as the servant in washing feet, so Jesus will be the host and the housekeeping service who has prepared our rooms ready for us in his Father’s home. More than that he will be our escort, our taxi service, so we arrive in good state at the correct destination.
Thomas does not understand, just as he will not accept the resurrection until he can see and touch for himself. Thomas does not know where Jesus is going, so he cannot accept that Jesus himself is the compelling taxi service to the Father, that Jesus is the Way. In this plague situation where things have been brought to a head, we will probably be echoing Thomas question; Where? How?

I know I am.

If I get symptoms, what will I say to who? If I get worse and have to go to hospital, will I expect to return home? What might I say as the paramedics carry me away? Do I leave my wedding ring and crucifix at home so they are not lost if the worst happens, or do I need them with me? What do I need to say to others who I do not live with but mean so much to me? How do I make sure they find anything I want them to have or know? What sort of funeral do I want in these limited circumstances? Burial or cremation? And Thomas’s questions too; more How? than Where?

Jesus adds in his reply to Thomas, I am the Way, and also the Truth, and adds still more, the Life.

Some translations of John chapter 14 talk of believing rather than trusting; the Greek word means either, or rather both. Believing can be a head/mind word. For some it is not more believing certain things about Jesus, like those we recite in the creed, or even the simple cry of Thomas when he does see and touch the risen Christ “My Lord and my God!” We use the expression “believing in someone”, when we are expressing confidence in them now for the future, perhaps when we are investing in them and expressing confidence in them “coming good” or “making it”. Trusting is a heart word, an emotional or relationship word. We trust for some gut instinct, not necessarily demanding evidence or a track record. We trust when we know someone will catch us when we fall, always be there for us, or when we can rely on them.

Jesus adds to being “the Way”, that he is “the Truth”. That which we may believe in for the future; that which we may trust in, or throw ourselves into his arms, knowing he will catch us and hold us in a loving embrace. Jesus adds the third term, “the Life”, which points us back to the Father’s house with so many prepared places for us, and with Jesus as escort. And in the verse which is the climax (sometimes omitted at funerals even by the institutional church who cannot stomach Jesus’s limitless generosity) - “From this moment you know Him and have seen Him.”

Now and here, your ticket is booked to be redeemed when you need it. “From this moment you know Him and have seen Him.” Last Sunday I talked of Matthew’s last word of Jesus, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ On Good Friday we will have John’s “It is accomplished”. Today we will have Luke’s “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit”, a quotation from verse 5 of Psalm 31, but the whole psalm is worthy of reading/praying. For although I share Thomas’s question to Jesus, I can believe and trust that when the time of trial, maybe times of trial come, I can take these words of Jesus to truly be my own, “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit” and I pray that you all may too.

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 Wednesday 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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