From the Fifth Sunday of Lent—next Sunday—there is a discernible change of tone in our liturgies as we draw closer to the events of Holy Week, and especially the death of Jesus on Good Friday.
From the beginning of Lent our worship has been intentionally subdued, with the more celebratory elements such as Alleluias and the Gloria in excelsis set aside until Easter Day. You may noticed that there are no floral decoration during Lent.
This austerity invites us to reflect on our personal spiritual practice and consider what extra efforts we might make in the three areas of fasting (avoiding waste), prayer and charity (making financial gifts to assist some worthwhile cause).
This is all continues, but from today we shift into an even more solemn phase as we enter the final two weeks of Lent: Passiontide.
The visual cue for us is the purple cloth covering holy objects in the Cathedral that celebrate resurrection. A cross without the Christ figure is known as a 'resurrection cross', and so they are draped in purple cloth as you will notice when the procession enters the Cathedral.
None of this is essential religious information for Anglicans, but it can all be a helpful prompt for us to be more attentive—more mindful—of the powerful spiritual truths that we commemorate and embrace in our Holy Week and Easter celebrations. The more seriously we engage with the rituals of this special time—this sacred time—the more deeply we enter the mystery of God and the greater the joy we experience on Easter morning.
So I invite you to be attentive to the rhythms of our worship and to be mindful of the Sacred One who is closer to us than our own breath.
Fr Greg Jenks