During Holy Week, we focus our attention on the events of those crucial days leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. We sometimes speak about Jesus’ earthly ministry as if his teaching and miraculous works were one thing and his death and resurrection were another. “Ministry”, of course, means “service”. Jesus is the suffering servant, who never suffers more or is more servant-like than when he surrenders to death on the cross.
Holy Week, then, is the retelling of the story of God’s ministry to us. Jesus models a service of humankind and of the whole world which is self-giving and transformational. It is humble, and it is loving – whether it is taking the place of a slave to wash the feet of his friends (including the one who betrayed him), the invitation to a meal which models Jesus’ giving of himself, or his painful death. Above all, his resurrection brings new life and enables others to serve as he did.
On Maundy Thursday, clergy and lay ministers will gather in the Cathedral to rededicate themselves in the service of others. But there are, of course, many different ways of serving others. How will you be inspired this Easter to serve others in your daily life – at work, in the family, or in the community? Could you volunteer at a youth group, run a foodbank or visit some older people who don’t have family nearby?
God continues to serve the world by giving gifts and grace so that we might serve others as Jesus did. I pray that, as we celebrate the gift of life in all its fullness to the world this Easter, you will know ever more clearly who God has made you to be, and how great is the power of the resurrection as you serve others day by day.
With every blessing,
The Rt Rev Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester