As it’s not possible for us to be worshipping together at any of our usual services this Sunday morning, or even to hear the bells ringing, I have put together a few thoughts on today’s Principal Service readings which you can reflect on if you are using them as part of your daily prayer routine. Those of you on Facebook will probably have noticed a whole range of links to services taking place where you can listen and join in the hymns and prayers. Matthew is intending to put something online at 10.30 which I think will be available for the rest of the day.
Today is Passion Sunday, with readings that are themselves heralds of the Easter stories to come. The Old Testament reading is Ezekiel ch 37, verses 1 – 14 and is the story of the valley of dry bones. It foretells the dawning of God’s new creation at a moment of utter desolation.
Psalm 130 is called “A Song of Ascents” and is also incredibly significant in our current situation. It begins with “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord, Lord hear my voice” and goes on to those beautiful words “my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning”. An encouragement to hang on because a new dawn will come.
The New Testament reading is from Romans ch 8, verses 6 – 11. This is Paul’s reminder to his readers in Rome that the Spirit of God dwells in them. At the end of Chapter 8 is one of my favourite passages in the whole of Scripture. I encourage you to read from verse 31 to the end, where we are reminded by Paul “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
And finally the Gospel passage, which is from John ch 11, verses 1 – 45, the story of the raising of Lazarus. It is a foreshadowing of the story of the resurrection, and the dawning reality of the Kingdom. Obviously Lazarus will eventually die again but the story reminds us that for him and for all of us that is not the end. If we read on to the end of the chapter we become aware that this miracle was bringing many people to believe in Jesus, which leads to Caiaphas and the chief priests and Pharisees meeting together to plot his death. And so the Easter story begins.
Take care and keep safe,