The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead
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Holy Communion      9th April 2017
Reflection before the reading of the Passion
Revd Jeremy Fletcher

It is not as if we don’t know what is going to happen. As we enter the mystery of Holy Week there is an end in view. Willingly we give ourselves the role of observers of, participants in, the events which will unfold. We do so not blindly, not ignorantly, but within the shape of a narrative we have already heard. 

From at least the fourth century Christians have read the Passion on the Sunday before Easter, as a way of informing their observance of these days. That is not in order to determine how we should feel or what we should think. Knowing what is to come enables the day to day living of Holy Week to be experienced from many perspectives – a little like seeing a familiar play or reading a well-loved book uncovers things not perceived before. 

T S Eliot’s words on exploration from ‘Little Gidding’ come close to what this may be. “The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and to know the place for the first time.”

Here we enter a story we know. I pray that, in so doing, we will know it for the first time. 

There then followed a reading of Matthew 26 and 27. 

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