Experiencing Christian Symbols

Christianity has long known the power of symbols. They communicate at various levels, to all ages. The Holy Week Services give rich opportunity for them. Here are 3 reflections from St John’s.

Rachel Burnell
Wednesday’s Passover meal was a great way of joining together the traditional Jewish Seder meal with elements of the Last Supper. There was a script to follow, which explained the symbolism behind the different foods presented and the story of the Passover. Dinner guests took on various roles to read this. The children were even able to get involved with the hiding of the Matzah. It was extremely entertaining, but at the same time thought provoking, and the delicious meal of lamb and vegetables was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

Joanna Gillum
I found stripping the church of the candles, crosses, altar coverings etc. at the end of the Thursday communion service unexpectedly powerful. Done in silence, it is a remarkable symbol of the way Jesus found himself abandoned at the end of his life. It too vividly suggested the emptiness of a world without Christ. I reflected on two things: how we too can horribly easily turn our backs on Jesus, and what would my life look like without him?

Brian Grumbridge
On Good Friday, whilst the toddlers gathered in the porch to act out Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, the adults watched stills from the Franco Zeffirelli 1977 TV film Jesus of Nazareth accompanied by songs from Lloyd Webber and Rice’s musical Jesus Christ Superstar. One aspect that struck me for the first time was the duration of the 39 lashes that Jesus had to withstand. My whole body wanted to cry out “STOP.” Arthur Spikins remembered feeling the same at the Oberammergau Passion Play in 2000, during the 39 lashes and the hammering of the nails into Christ’s hands and feet.