Parish of St Matthew the Apostle,
Douglas, Isle of Man

From the Archives

Manx Church Magazine - April 1939

My Dear People,

Lent is nearly over, and I am glad to say that our people have kept this solemn season very well. When you read this, we shall be in the most solemn week of the Church year - Holy Week. May I ask you to make a point of following the steps of our Lord’s Passion and crucifixion as closely as you can? There will be daily Eucharist at 7 and 9-15 each of the first three days. On Maundy Thursday there will be a sung Eucharist at 9-15 a.m. in commemoration of the institution of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or what we call Holy Communion. There is a special Epistle and Gospel for each of these days. If it is impossible for you to come to the Eucharist, will you read through devotionally the story of Christ’s Passion which you will find in the special Gospel for each day? Compare those days to these and see how by our own sins we crucify afresh the Lord Christ both individually and nationally. All social functions of the parish will shut down in Holy Week. This is done to give us time to meditate on the reason why the Son of God went through all His sufferings. Ask yourself why he did all this, why He hung upon the Cross with outstretched arms. Examine afresh your own conscience. Use the time given in the special evening service to think about these things. We have so little time to think in these days. It is to me an appalling thought that all who profess to call themselves Christians are not crowding into our churches to pray for the peace of the world. If the war breaks out, people will ask again, “Why does God allow it?” And yet so few in these terribly anxious days find their way to God’s House to pray for the peace of the world. Surely, if prayer is any use at all,

we ought to be praying with all our minds and souls for the averting of what seems to be almost unavoidable, instead of leaving it to a time when a crisis comes swiftly upon us. Although men and women are horrified and incensed at the crucifixion of small nations, yet it is amazing that their horror does not bring men to their knees. The truth is that the majority of people have forgotten how to pray, even if they ever knew. In so far as practising Christians have not made Christ a living person, let us confess our own failures. So use Holy Week as a real time of penitence and concentrated prayer that the pride, envy, hatred and lust of men may be changed into the love and spirit of Christ. When we realise the failure of politics, diplomacy, and personal agreements, when we see the personality of evil stalking through the world, causing fear, suffering and death, we are forced (if we read the signs of the times aright) to the conclusion that the only true way of peace is the way of love. Christ is crucified afresh when His children forsake His way. Christ died and rose again that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Let it not be said of us “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.”

That you should have a really happy and peaceful Easter is the earnest wish of

Your sincere friend and Vicar

Lewis C Watson

More From the Archives

Click here to read other installments from our archives