To The Benefice of Silsoe, Pulloxhill and Flitton

 Dear Friends,

 I was due to lead the united service this Sunday in your Benefice. As we know this will not be possible, but you will be very much in my thoughts and prayers, as we mark Palm Sunday together, but apart. Thank you for all that is being done to provide materials for worship and to reach out to your communities, especially those who are most vulnerable.

 Palm Sunday and our Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem, in many ways, is the culmination of that theme that runs through the Gospels in which the people, including on occasions the disciples, misunderstand the calling and character of Jesus. They believe they are expecting a powerful and triumphant leader who like King David will restore the fortunes of Israel. That’s why the people greet Jesus as he enters the city with palms and acclamation. They don’t recognise the presence of God in someone who comes with self-giving love and sacrifice. That’s why the people quickly turn from welcome to cries of ‘crucify’. And yet the next few days will reveal that the God who is present in the midst of suffering, who appears weak, is the God of life and hope.

 It is a timely reminder for us all. In this period of social distancing and self-isolation we can trust in a saviour who is there for us and with us, and in whom we can find life and hope.

 Thank you for all that you are doing to make the invitation of Holy Week and Easter widely available in your villages. May God Bless you and be with you.

 With best wishes

 Bishop of Bedford