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The Paschal Triduum – the Great Three Days

We celebrate once more the Paschal Triduum (‘the Great Three Days’ of Jesus’ death and resurrection). Each of the celebrations reveals some aspect of the single Mystery of Christ.

Maundy Thursday

In John, Chapter 13 we read that at the Last Supper, Jesus having stood up from table, removed his outer garments, girded himself with a towel and began to carry out for his friends the menial service of washing their feet, in the ancient world a service reserved to slaves. He gave dramatic expression to the words of St. Paul in Philippians, Chapter 2, “Christ emptied himself”. When he entered the world at Christmas in the form of a child, Jesus who was in the form of God, stripped off his robe of glory (his divine rights and privileges), and took the form of a servant. On Maundy Thursday he fulfilled that role.

Peter at first did not understand what he was doing and refused to permit him to perform that service for him. But Jesus told him bluntly that if he would not submit then he could have no share in him. Peter therefore gave way and allowed his feet to be washed. Peter was trying to be humble in what he thought was the right way. But he needed to learn from the Lord what true humility really means – service of others. Who is God and where is he to be found? On Holy Thursday night we are shown clearly who and where he is: Jesus, the Son of God, one in essence with the Father. We rightly call him “Master and Lord.” Yet he is God incarnate on the floor, kneeling in front of us.


God our Father,

your Son Jesus Christ was obedient to the end

and drank the cup prepared for him:

may we who share his table

watch with him through the night of suffering

and be faithful. Amen


Good Friday

On Good Friday, in the presence of the cross we will acclaim Jesus as, “Holy God, Holy and Strong.” Through the wisdom of the cross, God’s power is made perfect in weakness. Why did God choose to reveal himself to us through his Son in this astonishing, unexpected way? It was to teach us. He wants us to follow and imitate him. On Maundy Thursday night Jesus said, “I have given you an example, that so you also should do”, and then, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them!” On Good Friday love itself was crucified to take away sin and to awaken us to God’s love for the world.


Almighty Father,

look with mercy on this your family

for which our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed

and given up into the hands of sinners

and to suffer death upon the cross;

who is alive and glorified with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen


 Easter Eve: Holy Saturday

Easter Eve (Holy Saturday) should be a day that allows for deep silence. We commemorate the burial of Christ, his descent to the Underworld, and watch expectantly by his tomb…


Grant, Lord,

that we who are baptized into the death

of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ

may continually put to death our evil desires

and be buried with him;

and that through the grave and gate of death

we may pass to our joyful resurrection;

through his merits,

who died and was buried and rose again for us,

your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Easter Sunday: the Day of Resurrection

The celebration of the Eucharist on Easter Sunday morning is filled with joy as the risen Christ comes again among us. Alleluias are sung and the newly-lit paschal candle proclaims silently but visibly the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The Easter celebration continues for 50 days until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Through these celebrations, may God light the fire of his love once more in our hearts, and in our parish of St John’s, Hove.


Easter Collect

God of glory,

by the raising of your Son

you have broken the chains of death and hell:

fill your Church with faith and hope;

for a new day has dawned

and the way to life stands open

in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Christ is risen, alleluia!

He is risen indeed, alleluia!


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