Last year, I gathered together some links for poems, readings and prayers here on my blog. All of them, on the theme of the road to Easter, are included in this revised post. I’ve also added some links to additional material. You will find sections for different days, with links included. I’ve noticed that quite a few people have been looking at Holy Week and Easter posts, and I’m really grateful for the interest. Thank you for joining me here. I hope you find this update helpful. I’ve also been contacted by some churches in the USA asking if they can use my poems in their online services. I am very happy to share my writing in this way. It really helps me if you acknowledge my authorship, and this blog as the source. It is a real encouragement if you feel able to post a comment about how you have used the material, and also how it went. I do love reading those!
I really didn’t think, when I gathered this stuff together last year, we’d still be keeping these holy days at home, or on zoom, or in very small gatherings, this year. But, as we are, I hope you find what follows useful. At the end, I share a link to a poem I posted for last Easter Sunday, which deals with the themes of being shut away. I wonder if this second strange Easter season may continue to give us some new insight into the isolation and separation recorded in the Gospel accounts.
This season of Holy Week and Easter is filled with realism and hope. It looks darkness, despair, violence and loss full in the face, unflinchingly. And then, it shows something new and good arising. It shows us a strange, unsettling hope for new life. It shows this hope birthed in a tomb. I think our recent collective and solitary experience may help us understand more deeply.
Perhaps we can focus on an inner journey, something quieter, more contemplative. As we do so, we may find, as many have before, that we get to a place of deeper connection, more grounded truth, fuller love. We may find new meaning in Jesus’ teaching and example – how he let things fall away, how he found himself alone, how he loved and forgave even so.
Please feel free to use any of the resources you find helpful, and to share them, saying where they are from.
The links will take you to blog posts where you will find extracts from my books, too. The books include:
You may have local bookshops open – if you do, they can order these for you. Otherwise, they are available wherever you usually do your online bookshopping. The links above take you to Bookshop.org, which supports local bookshops in the UK.
The Retold thread of my blog gives you sections from my book, “The Bible Story Retold in Twelve Chapters”, and “Prayers and Verses” that sits alongside it. They are good for all ages, and have been used in all age worship, Messy Church, and care homes alike.
The House at Bethany, the Raising of Lazarus
Many spend time with this Gospel story in Holy Week. It’s a story that means a great deal to me. You can find some links below.
Here you will find the readings, and some things to ponder, as well as one of my Mary at your feet poem. If you would like to focus on the poetry, you could go here:
This last also contains a contemplative prayer/writing exercise.
There are readings, things to do, things to reflect on, in the I Am series which draws on another of my books.
Reading: Retold – Palm Sunday
Other Holy Week stories – You can find these in Chapter 11 of my retelling – both editions: The Bible Story Retold, and The Lion Classic Bible, which share the same text. The second of these has lovely illustrations by Sophie Williamson.
Prayers and Verses also has a section in Chapter 11 called The Road to Good Friday, which you might find useful.
Maundy Thursday – The Last Supper, Jesus washes their feet.
Readings: Retold: Maundy Thursday
We also find two of the great I Am sayings in this narrative:
Jesus said, I Am – for Lent. Chapter 6 – I am the way, the truth and the life.
Later in the evening, when Jesus is arrested, there is a further I Am moment:
Reading: Good Friday Retold
Last year, I wrote a series of poems for Good Friday, which were used in a number of churches near where I live. It was a great honour to be able to do this. I put together a recording and posted it on Youtube, and there’s a link to that below. I also compiled a suggestion for a Good Friday Meditation, with links to music and the poems. It’s all here, I hope it helps!
The poems themselves: Poems – Seven Sentences from the Cross
The meditations: A Good Friday Meditation – including 7 new poems
A video of me reading the poems: YouTube Seven Sentences from the Cross
And here is one of my lockdown poems, on a theme which might be appropriate for the day.
Poem: Two trees
Reading: Retold: Easter Day!
If you are following in my books of Bible retellings and prayers, Chapter 12 moves us into New Life.
I think the following poem is very appropriate for this year, too.
Poem: Easter Sunday 2020
Thank you for joining me. I hope you find these things help.
Keep safe and well.