Thoughts from The Vicarage 17

Good morning Friends,

‘I cry aloud to the Lord; to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before him and tell him of my trouble.’ Psalm 142.

Let us pray …

God of compassion, you regard the forsaken and give hope to the crushed spirit; hear those who cry yo you in distress and bring your ransomed people to sing your glorious praise now and for ever.

Amen

An image via Br James Martin, but artist unknown.

Holy Saturday …

The quietest day of the Christian year. The day on which the eucharist is not celebrated. All creation holds its breath, while Jesus sleeps in the tomb. And that is the spiritual and liturgical truth every year.

However, in all the churches in which I’ve worshipped my experience is that it is a day when everything is being made ready with an air of expectation. A day full of people cleaning, lilies being arranged, people setting up the Easter garden, finishing sermons … For a day when nothing is supposed to happen, it’s terribly busy.

Of course I haven’t celebrated Easter with you in The Valley yet but in the past I’ve traditionally sat in church and heard again the stories of how God has acted to save his people over many centuries and many crises – with a succession of Bible readings followed by reflection. Last year the weather in my old Parish was so beautiful, rather like today and we held the quiet simple service in the Churchyard.

  • This year I’d like to encourage everyone to explore.
  • There’s a series of six short addresses by the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford. Each episode includes hymns and a reading. Listen, download or read the six episodes here
  • Watch and wait and pray through the night of Easter Eve. The traditional vigil has been re-imagined and remixed with fifteen short acts of worship online, each lasting 10-15 minutes, to use throughout the night. This link gives the order of service and more information.
    https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/rumours_of_hope_vigil_programme.pdf
  • You can do a reading every hour or so, or read them all at once.
  • You can commit in your head to spending a set time there, or you can stay for as long as you are interested.
  • The key thing is that you are praying and worshipping there.
  • We need to be open to the movement of the Spirit and not reading something on a website as we usually do.
  • I do hope that these are helpful and please let me know what you enjoy and find helpful.
  • And for those who might be missing the Dawn Service you can switch on and join in at 5.45am.

A Poem for Holy Saturday …

Here at The Centre Everything is Still by Malcolm Guite

Here at the centre everything is still
Before the stir and movement of our grief
Which bears it’s pain with rhythm, ritual,
Beautiful useless gestures of relief.
So they anoint the skin that cannot feel
Soothing his ruined flesh with tender care,
Kissing the wounds they know they cannot heal,
With incense scenting only empty air.
He blesses every love that weeps and grieves
And makes our grief the pangs of a new birth.
The love that’s poured in silence at old graves
Renewing flowers, tending the bare earth,
Is never lost. In him all love is found
And sown with him, a seed in the rich ground.

With rumours of hope I leave you with prayers for your staying safe and well and a blessing,

Julie