“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
Psalms 100:4-5


“What was the highlight of your visit to Turkey?” we asked a couple
who was part of a team visiting us for two weeks. There time here had
included visiting places like the amazing rocky landscape of
Cappadocia, the spectacular travertines at Pamukkale and the
fascinating ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus not to mention
exploring the rich cultural history of Istanbul.
But without any hesitation they said the highlight of their time here
had been Holy Week. During the week prior to Easter they had joined us
every evening in the Dutch Chapel for prayer and worship, and to hear
God’s Word and prepare our hearts for the death and resurrection of
Christ. The services were sombre and reflective and every evening
people had the opportunity to come to the front, kneel at the foot of
the cross and participate in the Lord’s supper. It was very moving to
see people coming forward every evening to confess their faith and
their need of Christ’s redemption. The elements of communion, through
faith and the work of the Spirit, is the body of Christ broken for us
and His blood shed for us. I felt that God ministered to us through
His Word, through worship and through the elements of communion and
that our hearts were prepared to celebrate the victory of the
resurrection with the appropriate attitude of humility and
gratefulness for the work of Christ on the cross when he died for our
In the Middle East the liturgical calendar provides the rhythm of
life for the churches so that appropriate time and thought can be
given to the different aspects of the work of Christ. The focus and
attention we gave to the work of Christ on the cross during Holy Week
will certainly help us to be mindful throughout the year of the
enormity of what happened when Jesus died on the cross.
I can understand why Holy Week was the highlight of our friends visit to Turkey.