An open letter from our Chaplain to you, on this Maundy Thursday:
Dear SV Community,
Today is Maundy Thursday, the day when the Christian Church remembers the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples. It is also the night when he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem and brought to trial. The name comes from the Latin Mandatum, which is to command or a commandment, and is the root of the English word ‘mandate’. The name reflects the fact that Jesus commanded us to remember Him when we take bread and wine together, which evolved into Holy Communion or Eucharist and to love each other. It is because of his insistence on love and truth, even when it went directly against the ruling authorities of the day, that He was crucified.
I would like to offer you the following meditation/reflection video that I used in Chapel during Passiontide last year. It is the passage from the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 26), when Jesus is in spiritual agony in Gethsemane, as he awaits his betrayal by Judas, who identifies him to the Temple soldiers with a kiss, and he asks God to take this ‘cup’ from Him but accepts His will.
I find this particularly moving as it is chanted by Father Seraphim Bit Kharibi, a priest-monk in the Syriac Orthodox Church, one of the most ancient churches in the world, and the only one who still use Aramaic, the language Jesus actually spoke, in their liturgy. Chant is a central part of Orthodox liturgy, the only musical instrument they allow is the human voice. They have been chanting this passage since the days of the early church and the formation of the Biblical canon, and in it, we can hear the authentic ghost of Jesus’ own voice, as he calls out ‘Abba’ (Father) to God.
In these words, we remember the brutality that Jesus faced that night and what he went through on Good Friday, all in the name of love.
Here is a video to accompany the letter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oC14MgOGpqo&t=2s
Good Friday Message
Our Chaplin has also written a Good Friday message for you too:
“I would like to wish you all a Happy Easter for the coming weekend. I have put a link to a video which I use as a reflection on the events of Good Friday. It is a powerful video, rich in symbolism, recounting what happened to Jesus from His betrayal and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane up to His scourging at the hands of the Roman soldiers, witnessed by his mother, Mary, and Mary Magdalene, who the film identifies with the Adulterous Woman saved from stoning by Jesus.
There is a flashback to that event. It comes with a warning, however. I would recommend that only children over the age of 15 view it, as the scourging, though only a short scene, is bloody. It does not show the whole crucifixion, as that is too brutal for this newsletter, but it is sufficient to focus our minds on exactly what Jesus went through on Good Friday. Why ‘Good Friday’ you might ask? Because the story does not end here, but with his resurrection on Easter Sunday, and that will be the focus of Monday’s virtual Chapel.
Please note that this video is unsuitable for children under 15 years of age – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSRQvg7OHnI&list=RDrSRQvg7OHnI&start_radio=1