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- Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman CBE (1906-1984)
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CELEBRATE EASTER 2020 AT HOME WITH THESE VIDEOS
The Rt. Rev. John Hind (former Bishop of Chichester) was due to take our Holy Week services at St. Alban's Church this year, but like the rest of us, his plans had to change. However, +John has kindly made this series of short videos for us that will help us celebrate Easter at home this year. The first video (and text for the hard of hearing), introduces Holy Week, and further videos, for each of the missed services will be added for your use from Palm Sunday through to Easter Day, using the buttons below.
An Introduction to Holy Week 2020
I had been so looking forward to keeping the three great days from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday with you and am very sad this cannot be the case. Perhaps when the present crisis is past, I shall be able to visit and celebrate with you.
This will be a Holy Week unlike any we have experienced before. For the first time since Jesus trod his Way of Sorrow (Via Dolorosa) most Christians all over the world will not be gathering in church for our usual and wonderful and challenging liturgies, but worshipping at home, many alone and many very frightened.
In the meantime, remember that Jesus is present with you whether you are in company or alone. Even alone, you are member of his body - a body which is just as real as his sacramental body; your communion with other Christians is just as real, and it needs of course to be cherished even more because our social fellowship with each other is restricted. Pray both in general and in particular for each other; speak on the phone, email and use social media to keep in touch with each other.
Although we naturally wish we could be observing the dramatic events of these days in the usual way, all is not lost by the present crisis. It may even be that having to think of other ways of travelling the journey of Holy Week together may make us aware of some things that we normally take too much for granted.
One rather obvious thing is sharing the experience of so many people who for various reasons are unable to get to church. I am thinking of housebound people, those who live with unbelievers who are intolerant of their faith, Christians living in places where the Church is persecuted, or those in remote areas where there is no priest to say mass for them.
In the short addresses I am providing for Palm Sunday and the great Three Days beginning on Maundy Thursday evening, I shall invite you come with me on a journey. It will be a journey in which we travel with Jesus during the last fateful week of his earthly life, trying to imagine what it would have been like to be there with Mary and his disciples, watching his agony and death and unable to do anything about it.
A sense of helplessness in the face of suffering is a common human experience. We all share it to some extent. So in one sense, this year brings us particularly close to the first Holy Week.
Never forget however that beyond Holy Week lies Easter and it was “for the joy that was set before Jesus that he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12.2) That is the basis of our hope of a glorious future beyond the worst that this world can throw at us and why Holy Week, with all its challenges, is full of joyful expectation.
I wish you all a very holy and richly blessed Holy Week.
An introduction to Holy Week
Stations of the Cross Video
EASTER GREETINGS FROM THE SHRINE OF SAINT ALBAN
At the Shrine and Abbey Cathedral of St Alban we are praying in this Holy Week for all churches and communities dedicated to St Alban during this time of pandemic. May Alban pray for you, and may the Lord bless, protect and keep you, and bring you to a joyful Easter.