Thoughts from The Vicarage 13

Good afternoon Friends

A Poem a day for Holy Week …

Jesus Weeps by Malcolm Guite

Jesus comes near and he beholds the city
And looks on us with tears in his eyes,
And wells of mercy, streams of love and pity
Flow from the fountain whence all things arise.
He loved us into life and longs to gather
And meet with his beloved face to face
How often has he called, a careful mother,
And wept for our refusals of his grace,
Wept for a world that, weary with its weeping,
Benumbed and stumbling, turns the other way,
Fatigued compassion is already sleeping
Whilst her worst nightmares stalk the light of day.
But we might waken yet, and face those fears,
If we could see ourselves through Jesus’ tears.

and a thought …

Jesus Wept‘ is the shortest, sharpest, and most moving sentence in Scripture. Holy Week, our journey with Jesus to the cross has this year has begun amidst tears … tears of frustration, tears of lament, and for so many who have been cruelly bereaved, tears of grief.

Seeing through the tears is hard and yet those very tears are the same tears that Jesus, in his humanity, himself wept. Jesus offers to each one of us, as we weep here and now his presence with us.

God weeps for each one of us, He weeps with each one of us, God in Jesus understands to the depths.

In today’s Gospel [John 12:20-36] Jesus himself is in anguish ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say? Father, save me from this hour? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.’ He bears his own anguish and continues to walk along the path, always focused on love for others, looking out for others.

And Jesus calls each one of us to continue on the road with him, right beside us. He is there in the darkest moments; he lifts us and gently carries us.

Jesus, facing the torment he knew was coming reminded his friends, ‘While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’ In the risen Jesus that light shines – even in the darkest of places. More than that, we are each called to become children of the light, sharing His light so that others may know of his great love and presence, even in the darkest moments. It is that light that beams through our screens, our radios as we hear of everyday compassionate acts of love expressed in a myriad of ways.

Let’s take inspiration and comfort from Jesus being present with us constantly pointing away from himself to the glory of God, and of God’s presence amidst the suffering.

Time for Contemplation …

Yesterday someone was telling me how they felt that this period of time was like an offering through which there was a possibility for growth, for change and for taking time for the spiritual. That set me thinking and searching. Some find it helpful to have something to do with their hands while reflecting so I have attached a set of Stations of The Cross today in case you are interested. If you scroll through them you will find simpler designs if you would prefer them, and of course you can also share with the younger ones!

A Prayer Walk … may be more your thing!

If you are able to do a daily walk still then please think about turning it into a prayer walk- pray for the people you pass, the homes, the shops and ask God to bless them. Take your time. Breathe. Enjoy it. Look for God all around you.

As we continue through Holy Week …

Despite precarious times and not being in our churches we are still praying and I hope, that like me, you are looking forward to sharing in the different liturgies and ceremonies of Holy Week and Easter.
• Today, there is a simple Holy Week service booklet. It is for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday with an Easter Vigil. It is offered and designed to guide your devotions.
• The booklet is attached today so that those without internet may participate in Holy Week. Additionally, some people may prefer to simply pray the liturgy quietly at home rather than join in with streaming.
• There is also a piece on Spiritual communion when you are unable to attend the Eucharist. This may be useful as you use the booklet or if you join in with streamed services this week.
Please may I ask those of you who are very kindly printing out these thoughts for people to offer the service booklet to those who would value it? Thank you.

Zooming Morning Prayer and Compline …

The offices of Morning prayer and Compline are going really well. It’s been wonderful being able to pray together, to share the readings of the day and simply to smile at each other and see friends.

An idea … from Fthr David O’Sulllivan

Many of you may already know Fthr David, the new Roman Catholic priest for our villages. A good friend of mine – he was in my sending Parish, then followed me to Wokingham and is now here. So we are great friends – he even sent me an electronic Mother’s Day card! My last Parish used to call me Mother Julie!
Anyway, David told me he had set up a few coffee and chat events for his catholic flock via Zoom. I know a lot of you are all keeping in touch via messaging, chatting on the phone and WhatsApp but if you would like to ‘see’ each other do let me know and we can set up a coffee time zoom or an tea time zoom to share news and have a get together. Don’t be shy and have a go – you are very welcome to join in!

And finally … for today

As we move through the drama of Holy Week in this strange way, carry on keeping in touch with friends and neighbours. Keep praying for those who may become seriously ill. Keep praying for the medical and emergency services and funeral directors. This verse will be said from many a place of grief in future days…. Lamentations Ch 1:6, take comfort in the words “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.

May God keep you safe, bless your faithfulness, and give you Hope. Amen

Julie