Next year in Jerusalem!

Full Emergency Bulletin

The Vicar writes:

In Jesus’ day the Jews travelled to Jerusalem in huge numbers (one ancient source claimed 3 million!) to celebrate the Passover, the most important feast of the Jewish year.

The lambs would be sacrificed in the Temple, and the passover meal eaten somewhere within the city limits to remind the Jews of how God rescued them from slavery in Egypt.

After the destruction of the Temple in 70AD and the scattering of the Jewish people, the Passover ‘Seder’ became a family meal, eaten anywhere in the world, but without a lamb. The final words of the meal became “Next year in Jerusalem!”’ to remind them of their hope that one day the Lord would restore them and the Temple to the Holy Land.

Christians do not observe Passover, but this week is also our most important time, as we remember the last days of Jesus in Jerusalem at Passover: his last supper with his friends, his death on the cross and his rising from the dead.

This year for the first time since Bishop Cyril of Jerusalem invented Holy Week (in about 370AD) there will be no services in our church buildings for Holy Week and Easter, but we cannot allow ourselves to do nothing. With this bulletin comes a set of readings and prayers to use at home, and some activities for children. We also have details of many different ways of joining with others beyond the home - on radio, (but not TV), through the internet and on social media.

The early Christians had no public buildings to use, but they were still the true church- and thrived. Whether in their homes or hiding in the catacombs during persecution, they met and worshipped in the name of Jesus.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, when we shout ‘Hosanna’ and finishes on Easter Sunday when we cry ‘Alleluia!’ Let us make this Holy Week one to remember in the intensity of our devotion and our heartfelt prayer.

This Easter we must not let the light of Christ be extinguished by mere inconvenient circumstances. This trial will pass- and in the mercy of God we will celebrate Christmas and Easter ‘next year in Jerusalem!’.

yours in Christ, Graham