Why carry a cross through the streets of Ickenham? Because that is what Jesus was made to do in Jerusalem, on a day we call Good Friday. The Roman soldiers forced him to carry the heavy cross, through the crowds gathered for shopping, and out of town to the ‘Place of the Skull’. It was a heavy, rough wooden cross, on which he was going to be nailed and hung up to die. Jesus was so weak from the beating and flogging that the soldiers press ganged a foreigner to carry the cross for him. This was for real – the suffering, the oppression, the unfair trial, the crucifixion.
We carry the cross, in silence and in prayer, to remember what Jesus went through. It was the climax of his life – his death. On the Sunday before we will have remembered his arrival in Jerusalem, with crowds waving palm branches and singing his praises because he had healed so many, taught such wisdom and truth about God, and fed the hungry.
On the Thursday evening we will have remembered the last meal he had with his friends before going out into the garden to pray. There he was betrayed to the soldiers and taken off to be tried, first by the temple leaders, who found him guilty of blasphemy, then by the Roman governor. Mocked for the claim that he was a king, Jesus was handed over for crucifixion to please the crowds now calling for his death. With further whipping, he staggered through the streets, shouldering his cross.
We do it without the suffering. We’ll have been in church, thinking and hearing and singing about the meaning of the cross, and then take to the streets to shoulder and to show the cross to help others remember. We stop to pray at significant points along the route, praying for people in the community. Then we return to the church for a minimal lunch. Maybe the crowds at the Place of the Skull pulled out their snack food while waiting for the last moments.
Then we have a further time of worship in church to remember Jesus’ last hour, and his last words: to one of the others being crucified, “Today you will be with me in paradise”; about his crucifiers and mockers, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing”; entrusting his mother to a good friend; and entrusting his own spirit to his heavenly father.
When you see the cross, how about joining in? Join in and pray. Or join the walk. Or join in the lunch. Or stay and worship. Details of all these events are given below. But most of all remember that three days later Jesus was raised from death, and we may join in his life.
Please join us for these special services and events over the Easter period
Palm Sunday 5th April
8am Holy Communion at St Giles’
9.45am Family Service with Holy Communion at St Giles’
11am Morning Worship with Holy Communion at the URC
Mon 6th, Tues 7th, Wed 8th April
12 noon Morning Prayer at St Giles’
Maundy Thursday 9th April
10am Holy Communion at St Giles’
7.30pm Holy Communion at the URC
(a joint service, recalling the
Last Supper and Gethsemane)
8.15pm Ickenham’s combined and
augmented church choirs
sing “The Crucifixion”
by John Stainer at the URC
Good Friday 10th April
10.30am All-age Service at St Giles’
(a joint service for Good Friday)
11.15am Walk of Witness (from St Giles’, through Ickenham streets, back to St Giles’ Church Hall by 12 noon)
12 noon Frugal Lunch in St Giles’ Hall
(proceeds to Christian Aid)
2pm The Last Hour at St Giles’
(meditation, with speaker Mrs Ann Kentsfield)
Easter Eve 11th April
6pm Evening Prayer at St Giles’
(with renewal of baptismal vows)
Easter Day 12th April
8am Holy Communion at St Giles’
(Book of Common Prayer)
9.45am Holy Communion at St Giles’ (Common Worship)
9.45am Family Service with Communion in St Giles’ Hall
11am Easter Worship with Holy Communion at the URC
DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. Third Monday of each month. St Giles’ Church Hall, 2pm to 3.30pm. A friendly, informal opportunity for a chat, over a cup of tea, with other bereaved people and pastoral visitors. The next meeting is on Monday 20th April (then Monday 18th May). Just come along, or ring the Rectory (622970) if you would like to talk to someone first.