Wishing everyone a Happy Easter!
It is easy to be joyful when we have a holiday from school and work, especially when it has been a warm and sunny weekend.
We enjoy giving and eating chocolate eggs - we even gave them out at the end of the Sunday morning service but for Christians the real joy of Easter Sunday is the knowledge of the resurrected Jesus.
Jesus said during his life " I am the Resurrection and the Life" and the people did not understand at the time but when the women went to the tomb on that Sunday morning they realised that it was a prophecy which had now been fulfilled.
During Holy Week Christians remember the events of the last week of Jesus's life.
It begins with Palm Sunday and last Sunday Hazel Clarke spoke about Jesus's Triumphant entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of Passover week. Hazel reminded us that many churches have processions of people waving palms in remembrance of this event but actually only one of the Gospels mentions that the crowd took branches of the palm trees and went to meet him (John 12 12-19).
Hazel went onto explain that the Gospel accounts differ, some describe the Disciples fetching a Donkey and a Colt for Jesus to ride but others either the Donkey or the Colt, some mention cloaks spread on the ground before Jesus others cloaks and branches. Hazel explained that the small differences in the story do not matter, that the accounts were written many years later and what was important is that all four Gospels tell the story so we can be certain that it happened.
A Donkey or Colt was used because a King rode a Horse to war but went to meet his people in peacetime on a Donkey which was a beast of peace.
We sang Ride On, Ride on in Majesty! which begins with Palm Sunday in the first verse and ends with the crucifixion "bow your meek head to mortal pain, then take, O God, Your power and reign"
The importance of Palm Sunday is that Jesus was fulfilling the prophesy in the Old Testament. In Luke 19 v28-40 we read "God bless the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God!"
On Maundy Thursday Pastor Julie led our evening service and based it on The Passion of Christ series of pictures by Nebiyu Assefa an Ethiopian artist. In particular we looked at the picture of Jesus being a servant by washing the feet of the Disciples before their Passover meal. This was teach them that they had to serve others. We also looked at The Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus went to pray about the suffering he was about to face.
On Good Friday a number of us met as Churches Together around the Cross in the Blaby Precinct outside Waitrose for a short service led by Pastor Julie and then we processed following the Cross to All Saints for a service led by Rev Jane Micklethwaite followed by Hot Cross Buns. These services focused on the suffering of Jesus and his death to save us.
This morning our Easter Sunday service was joyful as we heard about the amazement of the women who went to the tomb only to find it open and empty, the grave clothes in place as if Jesus's body had simply evaporated. They soon realised that the prophesy had been fulfilled and Jesus had risen from the dead.