Tuesday 7 April


Tuesday 7th April

‘I have trodden the winepress alone,
and from the peoples no one was with me.’
                                                                       Isaiah 63:3

We say these words each day during Passiontide at Morning Prayer and of course they seem particularly poignant this year. 

Every day on the news we hear of the difficulties people are experiencing due to being alone. A grieving husband unable to attend the funeral of his wife of fifty years because, having been with her when she contracted Coronavirus, he is in self-isolation. A grandmother cut off from children and grandchildren, desperately sad to be missing a planned family gathering at Easter. A cancer patient whose vital treatment has been postponed, waiting anxiously and alone for news from the hospital. There are very many people all over the world who are treading the winepress alone just now. 

Throughout the gospels we read of times when Jesus chose solitude: times when he withdrew from others to pray. But, as someone who was fully human like us, he also experienced the desolation of being alone. In Gethsemane, where his disciples should have been alongside him as he faced the terrible reality of the death that was coming, he was left alone in that night-time of fear as they slept. And on the cross his shattering cry: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ speaks of a feeling of total isolation and abandonment. Jesus has plumbed the depths of human loneliness – he has been where we are now. 

And so, as we walk alongside him this Holy Week, perhaps we can understand and share more readily than in other years how he might have felt. Of course we know the triumphant end of the story. We know too that God promises us ‘Do not be afraid, I am with you.’ But this special week we are asked to wait, to stay with Jesus on the way of the cross, to empathise with him and with all who are feeling lonely or abandoned. That might, too, prompt us into action to show those who are on their own that they are not forgotten.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
your only Son was lifted up
that he might draw the whole world to himself.
May we walk this day in the way of the cross
and always be ready to share its weight,
declaring your love for all the world.

Rev'd Sophia Acland, Associate Vicar