Holy Week 2021

Dear friends in Christ,

Welcome to the Bishop’s Blog!During the days of Lent we knew the direction of travel. We could count the days to go, just as parents or children might mark off the days before the holidays begin (‘What holidays?’ I hear you mutter.) So, here we are at the start of Holy Week, Passion (Palm) Sunday. The Liturgies will take pace in their adjusted circumstances at the Cathedral and will be live-streamed (check Cathedral website).This past week I’ve had quite a bit of ZOOMing. I took part in an ecumenical ‘retreat’ for leaders of denominations in the north of England. I was in a MISSIO Trustees meeting, an Ushaw Trustees meeting, an International Affairs African Forum meeting and worked on a message for a CAFOD Mass. The message was concerned with the desperate humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Listening to first-hand accounts of the suffering and violence is deeply distressing. It also gives us food for thought when we ponder the ups and downs of life. When will their Lent end and Easter come?Talking with a neighbour about treating the wooden fence with preservative. Another neighbour bringing round some eggs from her brother’s hens. Hearing tragic news about a family and a school community in one part of the Diocese. Wondering if I should mow the lawns yet (second cut). Meeting to discuss schools. Starting Mark Carney’s book on ‘Value(s)’. Making sure the Lord has His fair share of time. Bits and pieces . . . . and Holy Week. Preparing for a brief interview with Joe Wilson on BBC Radio Lancashire. Remembering things I said I’d do and haven’t yet done. Bits and pieces . . . .  and, thank God, Holy Week. I need it more than ever. We need it more than ever.Your own week will be a mix of all sorts, good and not so good, things you have to do and other things you look forward to. People you long to see and people you’d rather avoid! (It’s always a grounding thought to remember there are those hoping to avoid me!)Holy Week is our way out, our way forward, given to us by our Lord. He has done it for us. He hasn’t changed, He hasn’t lessened because of our global problems or our particular problems. He sees the way for us, and is the way for us.With my thoughts and prayers and blessing, especially for those of you who are struggling


Paul Swarbrick 

Bishop of Lancaster