Sunday 10th October, Making Preparations, 2 Chr.35 Lk.22:1-13 

Prior planning and preparation prevents AHEM- ‘particularly’ poor performance,” said my School Cadet Instructor and Geography master, as he walked past a particularly wet and miserably 14 year old me on exercise, on a dreary and damp Salisbury plain. Him – dry as a bone – covered head to foot in waxed rain gear.

And of course, as always, the teacher is right.



Preparation is vital in most areas of our lives.

We prepare in all kinds of ways for every-day activities, we make special preparations for important events, we’ve been doing that A LOT in recent days with a large number of big special services taking place here this month.

And I see the Christmas lights are already up in the High Street…

Which reminds me – not of Holy Scripture – but of the immortal line “prepare to meet your doom,” made famous by the B movies.


Our readings this evening are also all about making preparation, making preparations for the Passover, the great foundational feast of Judaism.

In the Old Testament the word ‘prepare’ is mainly used to describe choosing and making ready a sacrifice.

Whatever the gory intricate details are, a sacrifice is always ‘prepared’ so it is ‘ready’ and ‘acceptable’, just as in our first lesson.

These images, of course, are a prefiguration of the sacrifice of Christ being prepared. Or rather, the saving work of Jesus on the Cross – is read through the lens of those former practices.

Remember the Easter sequence that surrounds the second lesson:

Judas has made his deal with the Chief Priests.

Jerusalem is full of pilgrims.

The Romans are nervous.

The Chief Priests are on edge.

Jesus gathers his disciples for a final meal.

Preparation for the sacrifice to end all sacrifice.



But the word ‘prepare’ will probably mostly resonate with us here this evening because we sing it or hear it sung almost every evening at Evensong

“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people.”

It hints at a God, that has been getting ready for this moment for a long time

And this idea of our salvation being prepared for us, resonates with other New Testament ideas of our salvation being prepared since the beginning of the world, of Jesus being the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.

Whilst those concepts aren’t always easy to reconcile they do tell us that salvation wasn’t an afterthought.

And that despite the apparently random Chances and changes of this fleeting world, God had been preparing our salvation since the beginning.

Looking back at the Second Lesson you can get the sense that Jesus too, in his humanly life has made his own preparations.

Echoing his instructions to the disciples on Palm Sunday, he sends two of them off to meet prearranged contacts to make everything ready.

It is commonly thought that Jesus made these preparations in secret so that Judas couldn’t betray him while they were at supper.

Jesus will go to his false trial and to his death, but in his own time.

Why talk about all this tonight? Well – it seems to me that we are in a kind of preparation season now.

With nights suddenly drawing in. With things getting back to normal. But not quite.

With the wonderful Leaves of the Tree exhibition (over there) inviting reflection on what has passed and upon our hopes for the future.

With Advent and Christmas still a way off and All Souls-tide soon to arrive. It seems to me as if there is a little liturgical and emotional gap in the schedule.

A short window of preparation.

We are probably all familiar with the idea that Lent and Advent as seasons of preparation – 25 or 40 days set aside to get ready for what was to come. To fast, pray and prepare to receive the sacrament of initiation, the beginning of a new life.

It strikes me that these coming days and weeks could be for us a kind of pre-Advent to help us to prepare for something to come!



Thomas Merton said of Advent proper:

“The purpose of Advent is not only penance and abstention but above all a preparation to rejoice in his love. And this preparation – above all consists in receiving the gift of God’s mercy.”

Whatever comes at us in life. Bounty or tragedy. Joy or sorrow. Adventure or trial we don’t have to have done very much prior preparation and planning.

God’s mercy has been slow cooking for us forever. He has packed all we need. Everything is prepared for us. If only we will receive. As we read and consider the call to “go and make preparations,” that Jesus made to the disciples so we hear it come down to us.

Go and make preparations… RECEIVE GOD’S MERCY.

Through regular prayer, through receiving communion, by holy reading and reflection and by humility, confession, and a readiness to learn we can lean into the preparations that God has been making since the beginning of time so that – come rain or shine we may – with equanimity rejoice in the salvation that God has prepared before the face of all people.




Loving God we thank you for your invitation to be prepared to seek and experience a true relationship with you. We come before you now in humility and with faith, voicing our petitions, knowing in faith, that you are always ready to hear and answer us.

Holy God your word is living and active and so we pray that our Church life will also be full of life and love, contemplation and action and that day by day we will grow to know you more clearly and love you more dearly.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Mighty God, so often the lack of justice throughout the world makes us angry and bitter. Like your prophets we see the poor being trampled and denied the basic freedoms that we so often take for granted. We pray for all those who are being driven from their homes in places of conflict and forced to seek refuge in in the UK with no time to prepare. We pray that we would do our best to offer a safe refuge to those in need and offer the same love to others that we receive from you.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Merciful God we remember this morning those who are sick, sad or lonely and those who are brave and patient when things are going wrong. We pray that they may be aware of your comforting presence and know that in your hands they are safe and loved and that you have prepared a place for all who love you.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Gracious God, through the ministry of your son Jesus Christ you have freed us from the grip of the tomb. We pray for those who have departed this life and ask You, through your loving kindness, to have mercy on their souls. We pray too for those bereaved by their passing.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Creator God, we thank you for this time together in prayer and as we look forward to the week to come, we pray for an awareness of your love and support in all we do.