3rd April – Andrea’s Letter: Lent 5 – Passion Sunday

3rd April 2022

Dear All
It was lovely to be back again this morning to take the service. Today is Passion Sunday which marks the beginning of Passiontide – a time of preparation for Holy Week and Easter.
As usual Gordon rose to the occasion as we sung some beautiful and inspiring hymns Passion hymns, always amongst some of my favourites.
On Saturday and number of us undertook a Daffodil walk through Douglaston woods followed by a soup lunch in the hall.  It was a very enjoyable occasion, and much fun was had by all.  Thank you, Tim and Jane, for organising it and Helen and Robin for helping front of house plus everyone who came and contributed. The pictures are on the church website.

Notices for this week:
Tuesday 10am Prayer Group in the Garden Room.
Thursday 10am Sung Holy Communion followed by coffee in Friendship House

Readings for next Sunday
Palm Sunday – Isaiah 50:4-9   Philippians 2:5-11   Luke 22:14-23:56

Services for Holy Week
Sunday April 10th   Palm Sunday    10am Sung Eucharist with reading of the Passion
Tuesday 12th April  10am Prayer Group in Garden Room
Wednesday 13th April   11.30am Said Holy Communion at All Saints
Thursday 14th April  10am Sung Eucharist for Maundy Thursday with Stripping of the Alter
Friday 15th April  2pm Service for Good Friday
Sunday 17th April 10am Sung Eucharist for Easter Day

Further news from the diocese and church can be found on the St Andrews website. Click on the link below.


Fifth Sunday of Lent Passion Sunday 2022  St Andrew’s Milngavie

Isaiah 43:16-21           Philippians 3:4-14        John 12:1-8

Today is Passion Sunday which marks the start of the church’s season of Passiontide. It heralds the journey of Holy Week, a time when Christians around the world take part in God’s Passion – Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem, his last days with his disciples and then his death on a cross. After which we wait with anticipation for the great celebration of Easter – the resurrection of Christ. As we wait, we are reminded of the words from St John’s prologue, which even at the beginning of his gospel speak of salvation. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” John 1:5   John tells us.

But today on this Passion Sunday we think about the love of Jesus! For many people the Cross is “a sign of love, victory and life’. A sign that encourages us to recognise and receives Christ’s love – to even allow ourselves be smitten by his love’.

In our Gospel Jesus has dinner at Lazarus’s home in Bethany, we hear how Mary is ‘smitten by his love’. She anointed Jesus’s feet with oil and wiped them with her hair to express her love and devotion.  In doing this Mary’s loving extravagance mirrors and anticipates the great love of Christ. Just as Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, so she anoints his feet regardless of what other may say. The shadow of the cross lies over the whole incident, and Mary wants to declare her love unmistakably.

This gospel account gives us a wonderful description of Mary kneeling at the feet of Jesus, anointing them with the expensive ointment of pure nard, and wiping them with her unbound hair. It is a dramatic action, beautiful in the eyes of Jesus. Mary was expressing her great love for him in an act of penitence, adoration and a costly outpouring of devotion. Here we see that Mary has shown how much she loves Jesus; she has shown her generous love to him. Jesus recognised this act of love but knows in part it is a preparation for his death and burial.

As we turn to the other characters in this story, we may ask ourselves where would we fit in?  Martha was serving; Lazarus was sharing; Mary was adoring; Judas was complaining.’ ‘Where are we in this picture?’

In the epistle Paul shows us that knowing Christ is no vague theory, rather it results in a transformed life. Paul writes: ‘I want to know Christ’. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and that means knowing Christ by “the sharing of his sufferings”. Philippians 3:10 Paul’s great desire was always to ‘know Christ’.

Is this our desire? Do we long to ‘know Christ’ more? From Passion Sunday to Good Friday, we focus on the sufferings of Christ. Jesus suffered and died on the Cross so we can receive his love and salvation.

The Old Testament reading from Isaiah has a great sense of anticipation and expectancy – how exciting that God is about to do something new and amazing! God will make ‘a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’ Isaiah 43:19 Isaiah is keen to point out that God’s life and love are available for all who are spiritually thirsty.

This year, if we wish to know Christ more nearly and dearly,   we need to believe and receive that wonderful love anew. We also need to remind ourselves that we do receive that wonderful gift of love from Christ when we stand at the alter each week and receive the sacrament. Passionate, overflowing love is at the heart of the Passion story.

During holy week we can express our love for God in our worship and in ministries. By walking the journey of Holy week together we can arrive at the resurrection knowing we have participated in our Lord’s passion and knowing that we are part of his resurrection.

A truth, in this troubled world today, that we need to know. We need to have faith that resurrection is possible, new beginnings are possible: in our nation, in our church, in our homes and in the horror of war-torn Ukraine.

Over the next two weeks we will sing together the moving and inspiring passion hymns and remind ourselves of those poignant words from Cecil Frances Alexander’s “There is a Green Hill”

“O dearly, dearly has he loved, and we must love him too,
and trust in his redeeming blood and try his works to do”.