One of my Easter rituals is to find time to myself and listen to Handel’s Messiah. I was given a recording as a confirmation present by one of my godfathers (the set of LPs – remember them? – was a recording by the choir from Kings College Cambridge, conducted by David Willcocks).
Whilst the Hallelujah chorus is uplifting, there are so many other parts that are familiar (indeed a danger to lesson readers who must resist the temptation to sing “Ev’ry valley shall be exalted” or “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given”).
So often music can be a background whilst we are doing something else, but just occasionally putting time aside to sit and listen to a piece of music can provide an experience that is special.
To me, Good Friday is a special day when I want to have some time to myself and my thoughts. Time to reflect on the horror of the crucifixion, but also upon the fact that this was part of something so much greater, than 2,000 years later it has shaped our lives.
This must be the first time in two thousand years of the Church’s history that the faithful throughout the world have not been able to gather to commemorate the sacred events of Holy Week and Easter. In prayer, however, we can stand before the cross of Christ, trusting that our faith will sustain us and enabling us, whenever we can, to reach out to others. We can all do this; even if it is just by telephone or social media. God has the power to transform us, and bring strength out of weakness.
These difficult days remind me of Good Friday when the agony of our Lord was over, and his friends came and laid his body in the tomb. That was not the end. The drama of Good Friday is always present in the suffering of the world, but it will never be the last word. Jesus Christ is the Lord of Life; resurrection broke through and will continue to break through. What God has written, God has written. May we all be sustained by the hope of the resurrection.
Keep the faith!
Lord, by your cross and passion you have set us free. You are the Saviour of the world.