Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood

The word, "Drama" comes from the Greek and means, "to take part in" while "Spectator" is Latin and means to "one who looks on".

For Christians, Holy Week is the Week of Weeks and is definitely a drama. We are not spectators for there is a part for each of us. Churches go to great lengths to offer services that present the events leading Jesus to the Cross and beyond so that members can all take part. Open-air processions on Palm Sunday, the foot washing on Thursday, followed by the veneration of the Cross on Good Friday lead to the Joy of Easter Day. Shouts of "crucify him" and music too, reflect the mood of the week.

"Be sure to take the full course of tablets," said my doctor, signing the latest prescription. Holy Week is like that. It's just what the doctor ordered. But for the full benefit we need to enter fully into the drama and not try to watch from the sidelines. The very least we can do is to read the story again. It's in St John, Chapter 18.

Holy Week is first described in a document, The Pilgrimage of Etheria. Probably written by a Spanish abbess, this gives an account of observances in Jerusalem at the end of the 4th Century.

Her "on-the-spot" report includes descriptions of Epiphany, Holy Week and Pentecost in which she took part. She travelled extensively in Egypt and the Holy Land going on to discover various sites of Biblical events. She also reported that Christmas was kept on January 6, which is in line with the Eastern Church of today.

BEING THERE

This week I visited a friend in hospital - twice. The first time, there were tubes and wires connecting him to a monitoring screen, which gave the odd bleep. We couldn't have a conversation as some tubes came out of his mouth. I just sat there, saying nothing.

As I left, I thought of a devout old lady I once knew. Every day she went into church where she sat in the Lady Chapel. …

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