Good afternoon Friends
It’s Friday, so do make sure you try to do something Friday shaped if you can- whatever that means for you in your part of the Valley. As well as staying indoors and staying safe, do carry on looking out for one another and keeping in touch via the ever growing means of communication!
My thoughts today are mostly on …
Palm Sunday …
Palm Sunday and Holy week is nearly upon us. The service I suggest we all share is once again from the Diocese of Oxford and will be livestreamed as usual at 10.00:
This seems a good time to say that I am really mindful of those who don’t have access to these services – and also of those who would prefer something quiet and gentle, away from a screen. For that reason, please find attached ‘Palm Sunday at Home’. If you need it printed out please ask a friend and if you deliver this letter would you mind helping out? Thank you.
It’s a pity we won’t be able to process with our Palms sharing our Hosannas this year and nor will we give out Palm Crosses.
- However, here are four things for you to do over the weekend to help us all think about Palm Crosses … I think the teacher in me may be showing a little!
If you can find an old palm cross in a Bible or on a shelf then dust it off and have it to hand on Sunday morning.
- You can colour in a Palm Cross (attached to this letter) over the weekend as an aid to prayer and meditation and then place it in your window or share with your children/grandchildren/friends next time you chat!
- Put branches from your own garden in the window or on your door. The link below is really short and it shows a few examples of how to it beautifully using craft skills the like of which I do not possess!
- And this link, scroll down, shows you how to make Palm Crosses out of paper- especially good to do with children and for all those who are more crafty!
Please do send me photos of any of these things so that we can encourage each other and maybe put them on the website.
Belinda and children …
Belinda church mouse was very upset a few days ago as she feared the worst. She’d heard that the country was being taken over by cats … she’d *really* seen it she told me, in a newspaper … well Belinda there you go you can’t believe everything you read in a newspaper can you? It was only a cartoon! Anyway, that’s a long way of letting you know that Belinda spent quite a bit of time yesterday at home, on the internet.
She told me, quite pointedly that I wasn’t doing enough for our children! She found the attached sheet which is Palm Sunday Together@Home so I’m sharing it today for everyone to enjoy – whatever age you may be! Plus it’s an added bonus for us to share with our families and friends and all the young at heart!
Zooming coffee after church …
Following Palm Sunday’s service there will be an after-church coffee on Zoom from 11.10. That will give you time to get ready, make a cuppa, link in and see one another for a get together as Holy Week begins.
If you haven’t zoomed yet, fear not. I will put an invitation into the email tomorrow. You simply click on it and arrive into the after-church coffee space. You will be asked if you want to use audio and video. This is what your screen will look like – here is a photo of a Zoom prayer meeting in which I was involved. Please give it a try if you want!
Today I invite you to join me in prayer as we remember the family of Ruth Jarvis who died on Wednesday aged 102. We send our love and sincerest condolences to her family at this time. We will let you know about her funeral in due course so that you may hold her and her family in prayer.
At this time funerals are being held either at the graveside or at the crematorium. At present only close family members are permitted to attend.
Comfort at a Time of Mourning …
Amidst our daily living we need to acknowledge that, for many, this is a time of pain, all the more so if you are mourning the loss of a loved one. I understand that it’s so difficult when you can’t go to a funeral, whether for family, friend or neighbour. Myself and Christine are feeling your pain.
Increasing numbers in our villages are facing this in the current crisis, I am attaching a short reflection which has been specially written for you to use at home, alone or with those who share your home. Light a candle, have a photo nearby as the time of the funeral nears. You might ask others to take part at the same time from their home.
When this time of social distancing is over, there may well be an opportunity to meet together at a special time of remembering and thankfulness in church. Your memories now can be part of that experience when the time comes.
And finally … for today
I think the message for today is “Let’s keep going.” I’m finding it more and more important to control the things I can control and not worry too much about the rest, and I’m beginning to be more relaxed with myself about pushing myself.
Let me develop the message a bit more “Let’s keep going. And let’s keep being kind to ourselves.” None of us has really done this before and we are learning a new way of living and being. It is bound to take time. Some days it’s hard to face the whole day so let’s just make sure we get through the next half hour or session and forget the evening for the time being.
We can do this together, we absolutely can. Keep going. Be kind.
And be thankful – because for all of us there are things we should be grateful for, and can be grateful for in the midst of all this, things that make our isolation more bearable or less impossible than if we lived in a different place or a different context or a different time. List them so you can be reminded of them … on your board or wall or door. Keep going. Be kind. Be thankful. As I am thankful for you.
God guard you, keep you safe, and inspire you today, tomorrow and always,