“… they brought the ass and the colt … and he sat thereon.” (v.7) RSV
Jesus sat on a borrowed colt that had not been broken in or used before. The colt’s mother, the “ass”, led the way. Both animals were strewn with clothes. Jesus not only showed that he was a king of peace by riding on a donkey (rather than a horse), but he also showed his dominion over nature.
Why did he choose to ride on the colt rather than the experienced and trained mother? Jesus demonstrated the dominion over the creatures of the natural world that Adam and Eve lost through their disobedience. That dominion was never meant to be oppressive, but was to be for the good of all. Thus, despite jostling, noisy crowds and the unfamiliar weight of a man upon his back, the colt calmly bore his burden in joyful obedience.
Jesus had throughout his ministry shown his mastery over the natural world. He had calmed storms, multiplied loaves and fish, walked on water, and caught multitudes of fish. The salvation he brought was not just for human beings, but for all of creation. Thus, as he rode into Jerusalem to suffer and die, he demonstrated the breadth and length and depth of his saving purposes.
This rule over nature is something he wishes to continue through us, ‘his body’ here on earth. As we submit to his authority over us, so we are in a position to wield his authority over our environment. Nature is not outside God’s control; he both cares for it and orders it. As his subjects, this is our responsibility too.
I thank you, Father, for the beautiful but broken world that you have made. May I love it as you do, and may I join you in protecting and controlling it. Amen.
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At the Maundy Thursday Supper (booking now at the back of church – limited places!) Leonard Daniels, from the local Jewish community will be speaking to us about the importance of the Passover.
On Easter Saturday at 11.45pm (Yes pm!) we will be lighting an Easter beacon and then moving to the church with candles to bring in the light of Easter morning. Baptism promises will be renewed at the font and then Bishop David will lead us into a simple 7th Century Eucharist. Do join us. It will be very special.
And don’t forget: Sheila’s reflections on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of Holy Week 6.30 pm in church.
“… he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb …” (v.9) RSV
Dark, dark is the day when Jesus lay in his cold, stone tomb. A great stone at the entrance and soldiers beyond that. The disciples, men and women, outside all in disarray. The Devil had done his worst; he seemed to have won the final victory. But though Jesus had gone the way of all flesh, the life in him was not dead. No, he lived on. His life could not be exterminated. That is why it was written, “he must rise from the dead” (John 20:9). It was a law of nature. His old body died, as does everybody’s, but his immortal life lived on and he would rise again.
But before that glorious resurrection (of the body) Jesus went to Paradise. That is where he told the penitent thief on the cross beside him that they would go, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus departed his earthly life to join those who were ‘resting in the bosom of Abraham’ (see Explore More). The people of God up to that time had not had access into the heavenly presence of God, but had rested in Paradise. Jesus now went to them to lead them ‘through the veil’ into heaven itself, into the presence of God who was now their Father.
What I have written is slightly speculative. Christians are not entirely agreed upon this mysterious Saturday. But rest assured that Jesus did not descend to ‘Hell’ as the old creed said, at least not if it meant the final place of judgement and misery. He descended to Hades/Sheol where the departed go.
The Day of Judgement has not taken place yet, except for those who have believed. Believers have already passed through judgement and entered eternal life (John 3:36, 5:24). Fear not, Jesus has blazed the trail before us. All will be well.
My heart sinks, oh Lord, when I think of the death and departure of Jesus, and my own departure. Help me to trust that all will be well, for I know it will. Thank you Lord. Amen.
The determined courage of the midwives, the strong love of Moses’ mother, the compassion of Pharaoh’s daughter and the insight of Miriam. Who nurtured and cared for you … and your faith? We give thanks.
“… the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom;” (v.51) RSV
How can we approach the death of Jesus on the cross in a few words? So much has been written. His death is pungent and pregnant with meaning. There are so many wonderful elements; the more we survey the cross the more sparkling sides of the diamond we see. Yet today I want to highlight one often overlooked facet “… the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom;” (v.51). What can this mean?
The curtain in the temple hung between the Holy of Holies where God (symbolically) dwelt. Only the High Priest could go in once a year taking blood with him in order to atone for his own sins and the sins of the people. God was otherwise unapproachable, shrouded in darkness, behind the curtain/veil. People respected him, worshipped him, and tried to serve him. But the un-passable or unbridgeable distance remained.
When Jesus died, his death unveiled or revealed God. The curtain was not reverently drawn back, no, it was wrenched away. What a flourish! And it was torn “from top to bottom” (v.51). This was no act of miniature man getting a grip on the bottom of the curtain and trying to remove the barrier. It was God himself who stretched down his mighty hand and rent away the division between himself and his beloved creatures from the top!
From that moment on the way was open. God has opened a door that no man can shut. Through Christ and his death we have access into the very presence of God. He has now become our Father. We may speak directly to him. What a joy, what a privilege!
Thank you Lord that on this day Jesus took my sins away. He took away guilt and shame and made a way back from the dark paths of sin. Praise be! Amen.
1 Note how Hebrews describes the way through to God.
On Mothering Sunday we have come to give thanks for our mothers but this is not how the tradition of this service started.
During the sixteenth century, people returned to their mother church, the main church or cathedral of the area, for a service to be held on Laetare Sunday. This was either a large local church, or more often the nearest Cathedral. Anyone who did this was commonly said to have gone “a-mothering”, although whether this preceded the term Mothering Sunday is unclear.
In later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together, since on other days they were prevented by conflicting working hours.
Children and young people who were “in service” (servants in richer households) were given a day off on that date so they could visit their families (or, originally, return to their “mother” church). The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place in the church or give to their mothers.
Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the Mothering Sunday secular tradition of giving gifts to mothers – so now you know!
Help is always needed for delivery of the Easter and Christmas leaflets. There are several vacant areas covering between approximately 45 and 120 households each. If you would like to volunteer or require further information, please contact Roy or Mary Sims on Taunton 282030.
To all current volunteers, once again many thanks!