End of Term message from The Chaplaincy
This year so far has again seen the Academy in line with COVID restrictions closed to most students for a great number of weeks, during which time home learning thanks to technology has continued to take place. Thursday 11th March saw the full return of all students and staff and it was a joy to see the Academy bustling again, albeit with all the changes adopted back in September still in operation.
As we approach the end of term, we journey through the last week of Lent- Holy Week and remember Jesus’ journey from his triumphant arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday through to his death on the cross and Resurrection on Easter Sunday. This week is the most important in the Christian Calendar and formed the basis of our End of Term Lent Service, which as with other services this academic year was recorded in advance, instead of being an occasion for the whole Academy to come together.
The Service was a combination of bible readings, poems, music and drama. The readers were selected from the Year 9 bubble of students and objects relating to the readings were placed on a table in front of the lectern. We began with a welcome from Mr McNiffe, Academy Principal, who also led students and staff in the Academy Prayer.
The introduction read by Lucy, set the scene on Palm Sunday when Jesus received a hero’s welcome on his arrival into Jerusalem, but behind the scenes there were those who were plotting to kill him as they felt threatened by his growing popularity.
Chris then read a poem entitled ‘The Betrayal’ which explored possible motives for Judas betraying his friend close Jesus.
We then moved on to the events of Holy Thursday. Objects: a bowl and cloth. Mr McNiffe read the account from the Gospel of John (13:4-5, 12-17) of Jesus washing the feet of his twelve chosen disciples at The Last Supper. Showing us that if Jesus the Son of God was prepared to do such an unpleasant job, that the lowliest of servants was usually tasked with, then we in turn should not think ourselves better than anyone else but instead be ready to reach out in humility and help each other.
The Music Department treated us to a rendition of the song ‘The Servant King’ which was sung beautifully by Maisy and accompanied on piano by Mr R Crann, Head of Music.
A Year 7 Drama piece followed entitled ‘Tomorrow will be a good day’, performed by Ruby, Megan, Marta, Rory, Amy, Keely, Sean, Charlie and Carlos, reminding us of the service shown by so many during the pandemic.
We then continued with the events of Holy Thursday. Objects: Chalice, plate with bread. Ocean read the account from 1 Corinthians (11:23-25) of Jesus taking and blessing the bread and wine saying this is my body, this is my blood, do this in memory of me; giving us Holy Communion. So at every Mass, Communion Service or Celebration of the Eucharist we remember Jesus at The Last Supper.
Events then moved to a nearby garden, Kaci read the account from the Gospel of Mark (14:32-36). We heard how Jesus asked his disciples to stay awake while he went to pray to his Father, asking if there was another way rather than the cross for him but agreeing to obey his Father’s will and not his own. Jesus is then arrested, betrayed by Judas identifying him by a kiss, a sign of friendship.
Tasmia follows this with a reading about Good Friday questioning how this day could be called ‘Good’.
We continued Jesus’ journey and took up the story with Jesus being condemned to death by Pilate. Object: Crown of thorns. Charlie read the account from the Gospel of Mark (15:1-15) and we heard how the crowd shouted for Jesus to be crucified and Pilate gave in to their demands although he found no fault with him.
Our final Gospel reading was ‘The death of Jesus’ from Luke’s Gospel (23:32-34, 38-46). Objects: hammer and nails. This was read by Bernie, in it we hear Jesus ask his Father to forgive those putting him to death. We also heard how one of the criminals with him taunted him while the other rebuked him saying they deserved their sentence and that Jesus was innocent. The criminal asked Jesus to remember him and Jesus replied ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’ Later Jesus called out to his Father and then breathed his last, this was followed by a moment of silence.
Emily then read a piece which asked many questions about Jesus’ death and his Resurrection, tracing the people involved, ending with the question ‘Where is he now?’- In hope and despair he has always been there and he is here with us now.- Jesus’ Spirit remains in the world, so we are never alone.
Mrs C Spence (Lay Chaplain) in her reflection asked the students to try and imagine how Jesus must have felt, betrayed by a close friend, let down by his friends when he needed them most and his best friend denying ever knowing him. Jesus of course knew what lay head for him on the cross, we heard of his anguish in the garden and how he submitted to his Father’s will. By dying on the cross Jesus took the blame for our sins and those of all humanity, and so we were reconciled with God, he is our bridge to heaven. Jesus promised he would rise again and he did three days later rise to new life bringing hope and the promise of eternal life to all who believe in him and follow him. We celebrate this on Easter Sunday, the chocolate Easter eggs being symbols of new life. The disciples were witnesses to the sacrifice made by Jesus for us and we too are called to be witnesses to the risen Jesus, we are called to make a difference in the world, to reach out with love and compassion to those both nearby and further afield.
My best wishes for a happy and enjoyable Easter break and try to remember the true meaning of this special season. God Bless.