Holy Week

During Holy Week I have created 5 short homilies and a reading for you to use as well as including the ancient Office of Compline used in monasteries and religious houses and we would have used it at Great Hockham.
Please keep safe, and please remember that we are always thinking of you and you all are in our daily prayers.
Adrian and Marian Bell

Maundy Thursday
John 13 1-17, 31-35
On Maundy Thursday traditionally clergy and especially Bishops will wash a selected number of people’s feet to remember the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus. On a day when we remember the institution of communion at the Last Supper, St John does not mention this but recounts the action of Jesus showing that Jesus was the suffering servant.
Those of you who have been devoted to Downton Abbey will note that in most houses, including Queen Victoria’s household, the family served the staff a meal on Christmas day. This reversal of positions would have been fun, but in Jesus’ situation this would teach all Christians that their duty was to serve.
Having been invited to dinner in days past in Lincolnshire to a newly appointed Bishop, I was told by his wife that now ‘they had more power than their previous position”. I nearly fell into my soup with astonishment. We do not go into the church for power, but to serve. Nothing is below the clergy doing and I hope that you know that. We are all servants of God and especially of our Lord.  When we do anything we are in the hands of Jesus caring for his people.
Holy Week is a story about faithfulness on the part of Jesus and above all God’s loving generosity to his creation.
My hope and prayer is that when this virus has passed over, the world re-evaluates its priorities. Our waste of the world’s resources and careless use of the environment. Those who have been isolated will understand the isolation of so many in normal times. The way we treat people who serve us, whether in hospital or our homes, is so important.

Maundy Thursday CollectGod our Father,
You have invited us to share in the supper
which your Son gave to his Church
to proclaim his death until he comes:
may he nourish us by his presence,
and unite us in his love;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


John 13 21-32
There is no doubt that even in the church not everyone that sits with you at a meal or an occasion wishes you well. Over the years I may have met just a handful of people who I would be very wary of meeting again and also very careful what I actually said to them.

The fact that both clergy and politicians, and even Royalty have landed themselves in immense problems by relaxing at formal functions is only too obvious in today’s society. However, in Jesus’ time a shared meal was sacrosanct, and it would be totally abhorrent to be rude or be disloyal to your guest. However Judas was.
There has been endless speculation about Judas’ motives. Was he a national Zealot hoping that Jesus would get rid of the Romans? or was he simply amoral or avaricious and only interested in money and betraying Jesus? 

Judas’ action is copied by many in today’s world, but hopefully not a member of the Christian church, because we should be as honest and caring as we can. The model of this was for the early church where the disciples that stayed with Jesus, although leaving him when arrested, they would stay with Jesus for the rest of their lives and except one, St John who wrote this Gospel, would all be martyred for the faith.

John 12:20-36

According to St John, Jesus was aware, right from the changing of water in wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, that his ‘hour’ would eventually come.

Now the ‘hour’ has come and he will be glorified. This is the ‘hour’ when Jesus will be ‘lifted up’ not only on the cross but on high. Jesus was looking forward to this ‘hour’ with mixed emotions and many statements in St John’s gospel have double meanings.
We see Jesus fighting the power of darkness here and throughout his ministry, and no doubt during this present crisis fear and loneliness will overshadow much of the joy of the Easter festivities.  Families will be home and not able to visit other members of their family, Christians will have to pray at home, and the hospitality trade will be devastated. But it’s amazing that light often shines through at dark times.
When we are away on holiday we often stay in a Premier Inn Hotel because it is convenient, reasonably priced and ticks a lots of boxes. On Sunday I read that although Premier Inn Hotels were all closed they had offered their hotel rooms to NHS staff for free overnight accommodation, and all their staff will receive 100% of their wages until the crisis is over. I do believe that, after this virus has run its course, those people and firms that did help will be remembered.
But there is no doubt that however much you are surrounded by love and support in a crisis, often you have to face the future with your own courage. Jesus knew that he was facing utter darkness but as the light of the world he would shine through.

Jesus had the Last Supper at night with his disciples.  Judas left the supper when it was dark. Jesus would die in darkness but he would rise from the dead and the disciples would greet him at dawn on Easter morning as the light was beginning shine.

St Anselm’s Prayer 11th centuryO Father, most merciful,
in the beginning you created us,
and by the passion of your only Son
you created us anew.
Work in us now,
both to will and to do what pleases you.
Since we are weak and can do no good thing by ourselves,
grant us your grace and heavenly blessing,
that in whatever work we engage
we may do all to your honour and glory.
Keep us from sin
and empower us daily to do good works,
that as long as we live in the body
we may always perform service to you.
After our departure give us pardon of all our sins,
and receive us to eternal life;
through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Source: St. Anselm, eleventh century

John 12 1-11

During Holy Week we use St John’s Gospel as we have done for many Sundays in Lent and remember today the anointing of Jesus by Mary watched by Martha as well as Lazarus and Jesus’ disciples. It is just before the major Festival of Passover.
Mary takes a very large amount of expensive ointment and anoints Jesus’ feet. The perfume was so expensive it would be equal to a man’s wages for the whole of the year. Judas Iscariot objects on the grounds of waste, but Jesus allows this to go ahead. He realised that this would be in preparation for his death and burial.
For me this teaches me that not every gesture or gift in life has to be logical. Giving a gift does not have to be logical, and I do believe that Mary, by doing this lavishly, expresses her gratitude for the raising of her brother from the dead.
During the present time we have witnessed many acts of kindness to us and to others – often people have put their own lives at risk to help others. Whatever you do, remember that you are in the hands, or in many cases, the voice of Christ in the community. 

We may not have expensive gifts to lavish on one another but if anyone listening wishes to receive a palm cross I have a few remaining after sending everyone on the church family list a cross – just me know and I will post you one.

During Holy Week do say some prayers as I know you will – light a candle if you can and have a cross nearby. Christians throughout the world will be praying for one another and for the whole world.

An Order for Compline

The Officiant begins
The Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect
end. Amen.
Officiant    Our help is in the Name of the Lord;
PeopleThe maker of heaven and earth.The Officiant may then say
Let us confess our sins to God.
Silence may be kept.
Officiant and People
Almighty God, our heavenly Father:
We have sinned against you,
through our own fault,
in thought, and word, and deed,
and in what we have left undone.
For the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
forgive us all our offenses;
and grant that we may serve you
in newness of life,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

May the Almighty God grant us forgiveness of all our sins,
and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Officiant then says
    O God, make speed to save us.
People  O Lord, make haste to help us.

Officiant and People
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as
it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Except in Lent, add    Alleluia.One or more of the following Psalms are sung or said.

  Psalm 4  Cum invocarem
1     Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause; *
         you set me free when I am hard-pressed;
          have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2    “You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory; *
         how long will you worship dumb idols
         and run after false gods?”
3    Know that the LORD does wonders for the faithful; *
         when I call upon the LORD, he will hear me.
4    Tremble, then, and do not sin; *
         speak to your heart in silence upon your bed.
5    Offer the appointed sacrifices *
         and put your trust in the LORD
6    Many are saying,
         “Oh, that we might see better times!” *
         Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O LORD.
7    You have put gladness in my heart, *
         more than when grain and wine and oil increase.
8    I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; *
         for only you, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

     Psalm 31  In te, Domine, speravi

1    In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge;
         let me never be put to shame: *
         deliver me in your righteousness.
2    Incline your ear to me; *
         make haste to deliver me.
3    Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe,
         for you are my crag and my stronghold; *
         for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.
4    Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, *
         for you are my tower of strength.
5    Into your hands I commend my spirit, *
         for you have redeemed me,
         O LORD, O God of truth.

    Psalm 91  Qui habitat
1    He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High *
         abides under the shadow of the Almighty.
2    He shall say to the LORD,
         “You are my refuge and my stronghold, *
         my God in whom I put my trust.”
3    He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter *
         and from the deadly pestilence.
4    He shall cover you with his pinions,
      and you shall find refuge under his wings; *
         his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.
5    You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, *
         nor of the arrow that flies by day;
6    Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, *
         nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.
7    A thousand shall fall at your side
      and ten thousand at your right hand, *
         but it shall not come near you.
8    Your eyes only have to behold *
         to see the reward of the wicked.
9    Because you have made the LORD your refuge, *
         and the Most High your habitation,
10    There shall no evil happen to you, *
           neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
11    For he shall give his angels charge over you, *
           to keep you in all your ways.
12    They shall bear you in their hands, *
           lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13    You shall tread upon the lion and the adder; *
           you shall trample the young lion and the serpent
                          under your feet.
14    Because he is bound to me in love,
        therefore will I deliver him; *
            I will protect him, because he knows my Name.
15    He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; *
           I am with him in trouble;
           I will rescue him and bring him to honor.
16    With long life will I satisfy him, *
           and show him my salvation.

     Psalm 134  Ecce nunc
1    Behold now, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, *
         you that stand by night in the house of the LORD.
2    Lift up your hands in the holy place and bless the LORD; *
         the LORD who made heaven and earth bless you out of Zion.
At the end of the Psalms is sung or said
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
   as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
One of the following, or some other suitable passage of Scripture, is read
Lord, you are in the midst of us, and we are called by your
Name: Do not forsake us, O Lord our God.    Jeremiah 14:9,22
People    Thanks be to God.
or this
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for
your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30
People   Thanks be to God.
or the following

May the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our
Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of
the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you
may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his
sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and
ever.    Hebrews 13:20-21
People  Thanks be to God.or this;

Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls
around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Resist him, firm in your faith.    1 Peter 5:8-9a
PeopleThanks be to God.A hymn suitable for the evening may be sung.
Then follows
V.    Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit;
R.    For you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.
V.    Keep us, O Lord, as the apple of your eye;
R.    Hide us under the shadow of your wings.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Officiant and People
Our Father, who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy Name,
    thy kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.    Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your Name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
        on earth as in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those
        who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.    Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
    as we forgive those
        who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
    and deliver us from evil.

Officiant    Lord, hear our prayer;
People   And let our cry come to you.
Officiant    Let us pray.The Officiant then says one of the following Collects;
Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy
defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the
love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours
of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and
chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Look down, O Lord, from your heavenly throne, and
illumine this night with your celestial brightness; that by
night as by day your people may glorify your holy Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the
enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in
peace; and let your blessing be upon us always; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Saturdays
We give you thanks, O God, for revealing your Son Jesus
Christ to us by the light of his resurrection: Grant that as we
sing your glory at the close of this day, our joy may abound
in the morning as we celebrate the Paschal mystery; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
One of the following prayers may be added
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
or this
O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live
in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day,
who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never
forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Silence may be kept, and free intercessions and thanksgivings may be

The service concludes with the Song of Simeon with this Antiphon, which
is sung or said by all
Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake
we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.
In Easter Season, add    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Lord, you now have set your servant free *
   to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *
   whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A Light to enlighten the nations, *
   and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
   as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
All repeat the Antiphon
Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake
we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.
In Easter Season, add    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Officiant    Let us bless the Lord.
PeopleThanks be to God.
The Officiant concludes
The almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
bless us and keep us. Amen

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