Beginning on 6 April 2014 is the last part of Lent – Passiontide as it’s often called. The Christian story approaches one of its climaxes with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Four writers tell the story in the Bible – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – several decades after it happened.
Not surprisingly they have slightly different accounts of what happened, but one constant is this worrying truth. The religious leaders of the day could not bear the straight thinking and talking of Jesus, and became so completely opposed to and disturbed by him that they saw no alternative but to seek to dispose of him.
Many people have based music or other arts around the dark Passiontide story – perhaps most supremely by the composer J.S. Bach in his St Matthew Passion and St John Passion. These are harrowing works to hear right through – so some people prefer to start by sampling them. There will be a full live performance of the St John Passion in Salisbury Cathedral on Wednesday 16 April at 7.00pm.
The story has been told in film as well as in music – very vividly and shockingly in The Passion of the Christ, directed by Mel Gibson (2004) and starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus Christ. Many pieces of visual art depict scenes from the Passiontide story, one of the most original consisting of crucifixes made partly from coral (Ambras Castle, Innsbruck, Austria, 2008).
Local churches in Chandler’s Ford provide opportunities for people to reflect on the Passiontide story.
Let’s enjoy part of the St John Passion by Bach: