There are two moods in the season of Lent. We begin in dust and ashes and with our Lenten discipline and for a few weeks we engage with that and with the study that is part of the keeping of the season. Then the fourth Sunday of Lent arrives, Mothering Sunday, ‘Refreshment Sunday’ as it is sometimes called. It feels like a bit of break from the intensity of the season and in many ways it is.
So when the fifth Sunday arrives we notice a gear change. Passion Sunday looks different. The statues and crosses are veiled in purple, the texts for the liturgy focus us much more on the cross and we know that in just two weeks – two very intense weeks – we will be emerging into the bright dawn of Easter Day.
You may wonder why there is this tradition of veiling in churches from this Sunday onwards. It is quite simply part of the denial that goes with the season. All that is bright, beautiful, that might distract is, is swathed in purple, taken into the intensity of the passion experience. Even the cross is covered – not taken away, well not until the stripping of the altars on Maundy Thursday – covered with the purple of our penietence, the purple of our grief. It is a dramatic act, but the drama of liturgy draws us into the drama of God.
But there is a way to go yet as we journey to Jerusalem with Jesus and end up at the foot of the cross. In the Cathedral the Lent course is drawing to its close, the Lent Retreat has taken place and we are having the last few ‘Spiritual Conversations’ with members of the congregation. But there is still time to engage with the non-residential retreats that we have planned for Holy Week.
The one that I will be leading, which is online, a retreat called ‘Passion in real time’ has already begun, because the journey to Jerusalem for Jesus had already begun. I hope that people will travel that journey with me. Passion in Realtime
So this will be the last Living God blog until after Easter. There is only so much I can write and only so much you want to read.
Details of the summer term of Living God will be given after Easter. Until then we enter the journey, we enter the passion and we look to Jesus, crucified and glorified, our Living God, our life and our salvation.
you gave up your Son
out of love for the world:
lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,
that we may know eternal peace
through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,
Jesus Christ our Lord.