Share in his sufferings?


Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!












And we turn west.

Golden sunlight of evening streams in.

The choir, ranked under the West Window,  raise their palm leaves and lift their voices.

It's magical. Profound.


Hosanna to the Son of David.

Blessed be the King

That cometh in the name of the Lord.


Thou that sitteth in the highest heavens.

Hosanna in excelsis Deo.


And so we come, to remember Christ entering the city  - to suffer, to die

and to rise again.

We want to unite in His sufferings

and share His risen life.


Do I?

Do I want to unite in His sufferings?

The next bit, yes - to share His risen life.  Count me in.

But to share in His sufferings?


I listen to the collect for Palm Sunday:

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and everAmen.


I am not sure I can say the amen, the 'I agree' bit.


I stand and listen in awe as the procession moves to the sound of a small drum, mediaeval music:

Bless-ed Israel's King, they cry;

Bless-ed is He that cometh nigh

in name of God the Lord most high - Hosanna in the highest!


A Bible is carried to the lectern, to remind us of Christ the Teacher.

We give thanks for His Word, a lantern to our feet, a light to our paths, a strength to our lives.

Take us and use us to love and serve

in the power of the Holy Spirit

and in the name of your Son,

Jesus Christ our Lord.


Yes, I can pray that. Amen.


Teach me O Lord the way of your statutes and I will observe it to the end.

Give me understanding that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.

See, I have longed for your precepts;  in your righteousness give me life.

(from Psalm 119)


Amen and Amen.


The choir and the clergy  process to the East end and a loaf of bread and a flask of wine are placed on the Altar.

We follow, we the people, drawing near to remind ourselves that Christ is our Sustainer.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because with your precious blood you have redeemed the world. 

Have mercy on us.


Amen and Amen.


There is silence.  Thank you, Lord, for sustaining me, even me. Day after day.

Father of all, we give you thanks and praise

that when we were still far off

you met us in your Son and brought us home....

May we who share Christ's body live His risen life..


Amen and Amen.


The next procession is small.


The Crown of Thorns, carried to the crossing.  Christ the Victim.



Look on His face, come close to Him

see - you will find no beauty there:

despised, rejected, who can tell

the grief and sorrow He must bear?

For on His shoulders God has laid

 the weight of sin that we should bear;

                                                                                          so by His passion we have peace,

                                                                                         through His obedience and His prayer.




Bruckner's motet rises to the fan vaulting:

Christus factus est pro nobis obediens 

usque ad mortem, mortem autem cruces ...

(Philippians 2: 8-9) 


Amen and Amen.


And we pray a Litany - Lord, have mercy.

We stand with Christ in His sufferings.

For forgiveness for the many times we have denied Jesus, 

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord have mercy.


Amen and Amen.


The final procession.

The Rector, sombre now in black cassock alone, raises high the large simple cross. Walks slowly from the Altar down through the choir stalls. Stands at the crossing, swaying slightly under the weight of the tall wood.










We stand in silence. Reflection. Awe.



They rise and needs will have

my dear Lord made away;

a murderer they save,

the Prince of LIfe they slay.

Yet cheerful He

to suffering goes

that He His foes 

from thence might free.


It's sung quietly, reverently. This is My Friend, in whose sweet praise I all my days could gladly spend.

Amen and Amen.


Standing still, still. The silence.

The evening sun has dimmed and now the Abbey lights are dimmed too. It's not yet dark, but the darkness is all around.


My harp is tuned for lamentation and my flute to the voice of those who weep. Spare me O Lord, for my days are as nothing.


The voices, the choir, the clergy, silently and slowly move away, out into the twilight. Palms have been shed, lying tight packed at the foot of the wooden cross. The Crown of Thorns hangs there.

As I too pass silently by, my mind ruminates on that phrase again.

To share in His sufferings.

I shrink from that.

And hear His voice - not spoken, not aloud.  But His voice none the less.

My Grace is sufficient.


Amen and Amen.


Jesus, by your wounded feet,

direct our path aright.

Jesus, by your nailed hands,

move ours to deeds of love.

Jesus, by your pierced side,

cleanse our desires.

Jesus, by your crown of thorns,

annihilate our pride.

Jesus, by your silence,

shame our complaints

Jesus, by your parched lips, 

curb our cruel speech.

Jesus, by your closing eyes,

look on our sin no more.

Jesus, by your broken heart,

knit ours to you.

And by this sweet and saving sign,

Lord draw us to our peace.