Dear Friends


At a church in Hampshire, after a performance of Stainer’s Crucifixion, the choirmaster put up a notice in the choir vestry:  ‘The Crucifixion – well done everybody!’  By the end of the day, someone had added: ‘The Resurrection – well done God!’


For many people today, Easter is just the first long weekend break of the year, and Good Friday is a working day for many people.  Sometimes within the life of our churches, we can be so busy “doing” Holy Week and Easter that we don’t allow the drama of that special time to sink into our hearts and minds. 


If we really want to get the most out of the joy of Easter Day, it is important that we allow ourselves the time to go through Holy Week, to ponder on those last days of Jesus’ life on earth, and the speed at which things happened.  The disciples could have had no idea as they shared the Last Supper together with Jesus that less than 24 hours later he would have been crucified, and that 48 hours after that, they would have seen and heard the risen Christ.  We remember these events within the same time-scale.  Think how quickly those days pass, and you can begin to sense the enormity of what happened in so short space a time.


How would we react had these events taken place now, in the 21st century?  Padre Studdart Kennedy, known as Woodbine Willie by soldiers in the First World War, believed there would be nothing but sheer apathy and indifference, and he wrote these verses to make his point.


When Jesus came to Golgotha,

They nailed Him to a tree,

They drove great nails thro’ hands and feet,

And made a Calvary

They crowned Him with a crown of thorns,

Red were His wounds and deep,

For those were crude and cruel days,

And human flesh was cheap.


When Jesus came to Birmingham

They simply passed Him by –

They never touched a hair on Him,

They only let Him die,

For men had grown more tender,

And they would not give Him pain.

They only just passed down the street,

And left Him in the rain.


Still Jesus cried, “Forgive them

For they know not what they do,”

And still it rained the winter rain,

That soaked Him through and through.

The crowd went home and left the street,

Without a soul to see,

And Jesus crouched against a wall,

And cried for Calvary.


Would we just pass by?  We’d like to think we wouldn’t – but we can never know, and if we didn’t recognise him…  What we can know is that by his Cross and Resurrection Christ defeated death once and for all, so that we might have eternal life.  That’s something to rejoice about, and to share!  I finish with a verse from We have a gospel to proclaim, a favourite of mine.


Tell of that glorious Easter morn,

empty the tomb, for He was free.

He broke the power of death and hell,

that we might share His victory!


Give yourself time to reflect this Holy Week – maybe in a church other than your own?  There is a lot happening! And I wish you all a blessed Holy Week and a very Happy Easter.


Alleluia!  Christ is risen!


Sister Dorothy Needham