Thoughts from the Vicarage 90

Dear Friends of The Valley,

Thoughts today revolves mainly about Maundy Thursday with a little explanation.

Services for Holy Week

This year our services are looking and feeling different as they are online. It has been a joy welcoming you via the usual zoom code which you will find on the email.

You are welcome to join in at any point in the Holy Week journey. You may like to have a holding cross for the reflections, perhaps a Bible at your side or a candle.

  • Wednesday March 31st 8pm Reflection on John13:21-32 followed by Compline from St Michael & All Angels Lambourn (no in-person congregants);
  • Maundy Thursday April 1st 8pm Reflections, music and prayer followed by Compline;
  • Good Friday April 2nd noon Adoration of the cross in person at the Catholic church, Baydon Rd, Lambourn by kind invitation of Fthr David. If you would like to attend this service please let me know so I may book a place for you;
  • Good Friday April 2nd 3pm At the Foot of The Cross;
  • Good Friday April 2nd 8.30pm Compline.

Each church has some prayers and Stations of the Cross so if you would like a time of quiet prayer at any point during the week do remember our churches are all open each day.

Maundy Thursday is tomorrow

Each year clergy renew the promises they made at their ordination in the morning of Maundy Thursday at what is known as the Chrism Mass. It is usually held in the Cathedral of the Diocese – which is usually packed!

Obviously, we are unable to so do this year. If you would like to join that service by joining the online congregation using this YouTube link, you are very welcome. In that way we may renew our commitments together. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcvFmP-uM9I)

The Chrism Mass service ended, we usually return to our Parishes and prepare for the Maundy service and watch in church. This year will be different as we meet on zoom and sadly, we are unable to wash feet and celebrate the Last Supper.

Yet, I hope we may be able to ponder a little about what is a strange night. An evening of celebration that everyone looks forward to; celebrating shared history and God’s providence down the ages. And yet, it turns very quickly. A convivial meal is changed by the dark warning of what is going to happen in the coming hours and the preparations that the disciples need to make for life without Jesus. He gives them the gift of the Eucharist to remember him by each time they meet. (This deserves more pondering than a short meditation offers at a time when we can’t gather!). Jesus also tells them to serve one another, to wash one another’s feet. Not to be so proud either to refuse to wash someone else’s feet or to have one’s own feet washed. At a time when many of us need help of one sort or another and we need to serve in different ways, what might this say to us?

The evening gets worse however, with betrayal, agony of mind, body and spirit and the eventual arrest, imprisonment and trial. Jesus’ isolation and separation from the people he called his friends reaches a new point. That isolation and sense of abandonment will get worse as the hours wear on. And we are called to ‘watch’, ‘watch’ and pray.

We are all invited to obey Jesus’ instruction to keep watch with him in the Garden of Gethemane. Sit quietly and pray for the needs of the world. Maybe read a favourite book about Holy Week or read through John 13.16- 17.26, which offer a fabulous insight into what Jesus came to do and how he equipped and inspired his disciples at the end. Knit, sew, colour, write. But watch if you feel so moved.

Here Maundy Thursday evening will be marked by a short time of reflection, music and prayer at 8pm followed by a short Compline.

Wednesday @ 7

A reminder that Wednesday @ 7… will gather on Aril 7th. Do come along and join in – and if you would like the accompanying book please let me know asap as I need to put in an order. Thank you.

Easter Day – April 4th 10.30

And finally, not wishing to leap ahead, but a little reminder… Easter Day – April 4th 10.30 when we will celebrate in person at the Benefice Easter Day Eucharist with lighting of the Paschal Candle in St Michael and All Angels Lambourn.

The bells will be welcoming everyone on this joyful morning! The service will begin outside with the lighting of the Paschal candle and outside singing. Please do not arrive too early, the wardens suggest about 10.20 and please remember we should remain physically distanced both outside and inside the church.

Once the Paschal candle is lit we will all enter the church (with masks) by the West door – sanitising stations will be available and it may be wise to remember to wear an extra layer as we will be leaving doors open to ensure a good circulation of air.

Please bring any bells, rattles, cymbals, any percussion instrument so we may all join in a great fanfare as we proclaim the risen Christ.

It will be a great joy to gather once again as our Alleluias ring out and we welcome the risen Christ. The children will be looking for their buried A*******as and opening them up. No prizes for guessing what they will contain!!

For those who may not be familiar with buried Alleluias let me explain. At the beginning of Lent, just as lockdown began last year, we explained that in Lent we try not to say A*******a! So that when Easter Day arrives it is all the more special. The children coloured A*******as and we placed them along with one or two other items in a box that was carefully buried away.

Sadly we weren’t in church last Easter to open the buried A*******a – it’s been the longest, Lentiest Lent ever!

But this year on Easter Day they will be opened as we all join the celebration!

With very best wishes and many prayers

Julie