And so we’re well into Holy Week, without doubt the most significant week in our Christian year. More about that later, but please take a few moments to read the following.
What is often not fully understood is that Palm Sunday comprises two separate and distinct celebrations: the Feast of Palms (which commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry in to Jerusalem) and the Feast of the Passion (which recounts the last 24 hours of our Saviour’s earthly life). We were so blessed to have two wonderful services last Sunday. The early service (which is always more traditional) focussed on Jesus’ trial before Pilate and his crucifixion, while the family service embraced the whole tradition, with a procession of palms from the playground into the church (led by three delightful young ladies waving palm fronds!) and then a dramatized reading of the full Passion story from Matthew with various people reading the different roles from “The Message” version of Scripture. Many people found that intensely moving and thanks are due to all those who read so convincingly and with such expression. What excited both of us, however, was how many people were at those services. In the past it’s been “normal” (!!) during school holidays to have much smaller congregations. Yet there were over 40 at the early service and just short of 120 at the second with numerous children. God’s Spirit is moving at Ascension and we can only praise God for that! Thanks are also due to those volunteers who have provided children’s activities while Sunday School has been in recess.
LENT COURSE – FINAL SESSION
God’s wonderful Spirit has also inspired both those who’ve presented and those who’ve attended over the last six weeks in order to explore the huge topic of prayer. Again, many people have observed how valuable they’ve found this course to be and how their prayer life has changed and deepened as a result. The final session will be tomorrow and – remember – there is only one session this week, which will be presented by Paul as a reflection/testimony on how he experienced prayer during his recent medical ordeal. Please note:
18:00 Paul’s presentation IN THE CHURCH – and all are welcome.
19:00 Fellowship Supper in the Hall – only for those who booked. We’re catering for 70 and all those places were reserved by last week.
John thanks – sincerely – all those who have presented the different topics in this course; while both Ann and John thank those who volunteered to assist with the catering and preparation for the supper.
That’s a Latin term for the three-day period which begins with the evening Maundy Thursday service and ends with the joyful celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord at the dawn service on Resurrection morning. What is often not realised is that the services that are offered during the Triduum are actually ONE service. Thus the evening service on Maundy Thursday opens with the usual greeting (“The Lord be with you”), but there is neither blessing nor dismissal at the end of that service. The Good Friday service has neither opening greeting nor final dismissal. On Resurrection morning, the Service of Light opens with an invitation to participate, followed by the lighting of the new fire (signifying new life), the marking of the Easter Candle (which represents the risen Christ) with various signs, the lighting of that candle, the procession into the church, the chanting of the ancient victory hymn, “The Exultet”, and then the celebration of the Eucharist, and – finally, after three days – the triumphal dismissal: “Go in peace to Love and serve the Lord. Alleluia! Alleluia!” So this is an encouragement to all to observe the WHOLE service from Maundy Thursday to Resurrection Day. (See service details below.)
Paul, Rae, Jenilee and Casey
We are thrilled to be celebrating Easter together as a family this year, especially after the difficult start that we had to 2017. In many ways the Easter themes of “New Life”, and “Resurrection” have taken on a very special and tangible meaning for us this year. Our church family is important to us, and we thank you for your kindness and love toward us! As we celebrate the fact that God has met with us in our deepest fear: of death and of sin, He has overcome these things through the cross, which at Easter we remember is empty. Christ IS Risen, He is Risen indeed! May you be richly blessed this Easter as you experience the power of the Risen Christ in your life. With all our love and blessings!
John & Ann
We both love this time of the year – for various reasons. It marks the start of autumn, one of our favourite seasons, as nature begins to fold her hands and compose herself for the restfulness of winter. Naturally, it’s also a family time when we often gather together and we have many happy memories of Easter services attended together as a family to celebrate the victory of the Master, Jesus. And that brings us to the main reason why we love this time of the year. It is THE most important celebration for us as Christ-followers. Without Easter there is no Christmas and, in fact, no meaning to life. As St Paul remarks in 1 Corinthians 15: “If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot! But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the graveyards.” That’s a triumphal message, and we’re in that “long legacy” of those over whom death has no power whatsoever. Let’s live as Easter people! We both wish you great joy in the risen Jesus and triumphal living as His followers!
Paul & John
HOLY WEEK & EASTER SERVICES
Wednesday 12 April 18h00
Final session of the Lent Course, followed by a Fellowship Supper
Thursday 13 April Maundy Thursday 10h00 & 18h00 Institution of the Lord’s Supper with foot washing
Friday 14 April 12 noon – Good Friday service
Led by Peter Houston, Rector – St Agnes, Kloof
Note: A retiring collection will be taken up in aid of the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal which this year will benefit
St Martin’s Children’s Home in Durban.
Saturday 15 April 09h00
Cleaning of the church
Sunday 16 April Resurrection Sunday.
05h30 – Dawn service with Eucharist
09h00 – Easter Family Eucharist
Rebecca Upfold will organise activities with the children during the 05h30 service and Des Rencken during the 09h00 service.