Before the Dawn
Today we begin the final two weeks of Lent, which have traditionally been called Passiontide. Throughout Lent we have been in reflective mood, taking our cue from Jesus’ time in the wilderness; perhaps giving something up or introducing some practice into our daily lives. But in the final two weeks we turn to contemplating Jesus’ final hours: the Last Supper, Jesus’ trial and his execution. At a time when many are already feeling low, with the Ukraine war, huge energy price hikes and still feeling restricted by coronavirus, you could say that the last thing we need is 12 days of gloomy contemplation. But the fact is, there is no Easter Day without Good Friday. The world has been given the hope of resurrection, as we will celebrate joyfully on Easter Day (and we are mindful of it now) but we simply can’t receive the gift properly without being conscious of, and in some measure living through, the days leading up to Easter Day.
There is much suffering in the world at the moment and we are right to care deeply. But human experience in eternity has been changed forever and followers of Christ will wish to express our gratitude for that genuinely on Easter Day. So like the generations of believers who have gone before us, we prepare our gratitude by thinking over the next few weeks about the price of the gift.
Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen