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Letter from Amy: March 27, 2024 (Holy Wednesday)



Dear Incarnation,


Sunday was glorious! I loved the palm procession, the passion reading, and the deep silence that settled in over those 6 minutes (a few people told me they were disappointed when it ended!). It was a beautiful entry to Holy Week, when we will follow Jesus deeper into his servanthood, suffering, death, and silence.


I hope you will consider joining us for one or more services, opportunities for prayer and confession, and collective practices as we mark the final days of Jesus' life together. You can find all services and suggestions listed on the Holy Week page of our website.


The next few days will hold a lot. So I wanted to use today's letter to highlight the quieter early days of Holy Week — Monday through Wednesday — with art, poetry, and the collects for these days.



Holy Monday: Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem


Christ in the Wilderness - The Hen, Stanley Spencer, UK (1938)

Jesus Weeps

Malcolm Guite


Jesus comes near and he beholds the city

And looks on us with tears in his eyes,

And wells of mercy, streams of love and pity

Flow from the fountain whence all things arise.

He loved us into life and longs to gather

And meet with his beloved face to face

How often has he called, a careful mother,

And wept for our refusals of his grace,

Wept for a world that, weary with its weeping,

Benumbed and stumbling, turns the other way,

Fatigued compassion is already sleeping

Whilst her worst nightmares stalk the light of day.

But we might waken yet, and face those fears,

If we could see ourselves through Jesus’ tears.


Collect for Holy Monday

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.



Holy Tuesday: Cleansing the Temple


Christ Overturns the Tables of the Moneylenders, Peter Keonig, UK (1965)

Cleansing the Temple

Malcolm Guite


Come to your Temple here with liberation

And overturn these tables of exchange

Restore in me my lost imagination

Begin in me for good, the pure change.

Come as you came, an infant with your mother,

That innocence may cleanse and claim this ground

Come as you came, a boy who sought his father

With questions asked and certain answers found,

Come as you came this day, a man in anger

Unleash the lash that drives a pathway through

Face down for me the fear the shame the danger

Teach me again to whom my love is due.

Break down in me the barricades of death

And tear the veil in two with your last breath.


Collect for Holy Tuesday

O Lord our God, whose blessed Son gave his back to be whipped and did not hide his face from shame and spitting: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



Holy Wednesday: The Anointing at Bethany


Unction of Christ, Julia Stankova, Bulgaria (2017)

The Anointing at Bethany

Malcolm Guite


Come close with Mary, Martha, Lazarus

So close the candles stir with their soft breath

And kindle heart and soul to flame within us

Lit by these mysteries of life and death.

For beauty now begins the final movement

In quietness and intimate encounter

The alabaster jar of precious ointment

Is broken open for the world’s true lover,

The whole room richly fills to feast the senses

With all the yearning such a fragrance brings,

The heart is mourning but the spirit dances,

Here at the very centre of all things,

Here at the meeting place of love and loss

We all foresee, and see beyond the cross.


Collect for Holy Wednesday

Assist us mercifully with your grace, Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts by which you have promised us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


***


It's a privilege to walk with you through Holy Week. And I can't wait to celebrate the resurrection on Sunday morning with bells and baptisms, flowers and feasting! Until then, we wait.


Love,

Amy

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