Passion Sunday begins the two-week period leading up to Easter Day and known as ‘Passiontide’. It’s the time in Lent when our thoughts focus increasingly on the suffering, the ‘passion’ of Jesus, which is most starkly presented to us on Good Friday, the day when we recall the crucifixion. The theme of Passion Sunday’s readings is, however, the possibility of new life emerging from death. The Old Testament passage from Ezekiel (37: 1-14) takes us to the valley of dry bones, where the prophet is confronted by God’s question: ‘Can these bones live?’ The answer, of course, is ‘yes’, but only if the Spirit of God animates them. When we turn to the Gospel passage, the narrative of the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45), it is the same truth that we meet: God brings what is dead to life. This is what we need to keep in mind through the final fortnight of Lent. As the story of the last, tragic days of Jesus unfolds before us, we need to have at the back of our minds the hope of the eventual Easter Day. Whenever difficulty or even disaster surrounds us, we need to know that new life is possible – even from death itself. It’s not death that lies at the heart of Christian faith, but resurrection, and new life.
A prayer for today:
Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do also for you: give us the will to be he servant of others as you were the servant of all, and gave up your life and died for us, but are alive and reign, now and for ever. Amen.
You may find the short daily service on the Church of England website (and downloadable onto your mobile or tablet) a good way to focus your thoughts in these difficult times. See: