Another Passion Week and Easter have came upon us and passed in peace.
What a beautiful week it was this year! I felt so blessed to be part of the spirit of love and faith that diffused through our Church. It was so uplifting to hear all those angelic voices lifted together in a harmony of unity in praise and worship of our awesome Lord. Good on you ladies! The antiphonal* singing of “Thok te tigom” and “Epouro ente tihirini“, with the gents on one side and the ladies on the other was so inspiring.
Ten years ago when we first started having English Passion Week services, we could hardly get a peep out of the youth. How wonderful it was this year to hear a whole Church lifting the roof and opening a window to heaven as they sang in voice “Ke iperto” with its moving long tune!
The rites and hymns of our Church are incredibly and deeply filled with meaning. Every year I learn new things about them, see new connections, gain new insights into the passion of our Lord, and indeed, into the very purpose and significance of His mission on the earth.
Passion Week is so special that one often does not want it to end. And it doesn’t have to, in a way. We should take with us the gems we find in Passion Week and keep them close throughout the rest of the year, that we might continually find comfort and inspiration every time we gaze upon them again. I know it’s now the 50 days of joy, but allow me to share with you one little Passion Week reflection:
Think of His hands.
Imagine yourself standing near as Jesus reaches out those gentle hands to lay them upon the forehead of a sick man. Seconds later, the man rises, completely healed of his illness.
Follow those hands as they punctuate and illustrate His words as he speaks to the multitudes on the mount.
Observe as those hands reach out to ruffle the leaves of the fig tree that bore no fruit, and are pulled back again, empty.
Look closely as those hands hold the bread, and break it into as He says “This is My body which is broken for you and for many” – yes, with His own hands, by His own will, He calmly and quietly surrenders His body to agony and death.
See those hands being roughly tied together with coarse ropes, by men who are not worthy of kissing His feet. Covered in dirt and blood and wounds, His hands are ound hidden behind His back while Pilate washes his own hands in a silver laver.
Cringe at those hands contorting in reaction to the furious unbearable pain of the whips being slashed across His back.
Feel the splinters and the weight of the cross upon those hands as they struggle to grip its shaft and keep it from falling off His shoulder … step after excruciating step along the dirt road … to death.
Shudder at every hammer blow that drives the thick iron nails through skin and bone and sinew … such violence … such gentle, healing hands.
Weep, letting your tears drop onto those still, pale hands, lifeless now as you anoint them with perfumes and carefully arrange them over His chest. Such senseless waste … such cruel injustice … such inconsolable sorrow …
And rejoice and exult now, to see those hands glowing with renewed life! The wounds remain as an eternal witness of His limitless love, but there is no pain in them now, no suffering, no corruption, no weakness, no defeat; for defeat has turned into victory, and sorrow has been drowned out forever by joy!
Hold those hands in your own. Touch them … feel them … kiss them … for these are the hands that of our Saviour, our Champion, our Redeemer.
Take your life and place it firmly in these hands. Fold His fingers over your life, enclose it in a cage of flesh and blood … and divinity.
“Lift up your hearts”“We have them with the Lord”
* antiphon – a hymn where two groups take it in turns to sing alternate verses, responding to each other.