Dear Friends of The Valley,
Thank you to those who walked alongside me in Holy Week. It was a very different but meaningful week. Even though there could be no feet washing, no communion on Maundy Thursday or an in person watch in the garden, there was a gentle fellowship as we walked the pilgrimage of the week through to Good Friday. With altars stripped and a crown of thorns replacing the Palm crosses we heard shouts of Crucify replace those of Hosanna.
It was good to join Fthr David and friends of the Sacred Heart for the Veneration of The Cross on Good Friday and then to gather via zoom a little later for a short service including Stations of The Cross using the profound paintings of Seiger Koder. A film of his work ‘The Journey of The Cross’ set to the music of Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe is available here. I highly commend it.
Today is known as Holy Saturday. It’s a day of comparative peace and calm. Jesus lies in the tomb given to him by a follower, other people come to terms with what has happened. The frenzy of the last few hours and days comes to a shuddering halt. Some people wait in fear of being associated with Jesus. Some wait in expectation and hope, remembering in the back of their minds what they’ve heard Jesus prophesy. Will it happen? Will his promises come true? We know the answer, but that doesn’t have to lessen our expectation and hope too. Meanwhile, Angels hover over the body of Christ in the tomb by William Blake.
Easter Day is Tomorrow
Easter Day is Tomorrow and all are welcome at the Benefice Easter Day Eucharist with lighting of the Paschal Candle in St Michael & 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 at the West end of the church. 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!
On the last day of term every child at Lambourn CE Primary was given a gift envelope from St Michael & All Angels to take home. Last Summer, we grew a giant sunflower in the Vicarage front garden at 4 Newbury Street. Many, many people commented how it cheered them up and made them smile as they came along the road. We cut off the flower head when it had died down, dried it out for a few months and then gently shook out all the seeds! We wanted to share the joy of Easter and I was able to share the Easter story in each class – which was a huge joy!
The seeds look dead but planted and cared for they will grow as a sign of re-birth and new creation. Plant the seeds and let’s share the joy of Easter – with Lambourn looking resplendent with sunflowers!
The seeds are a gift to you as we share the joy of Easter not only in chicks, rabbits, ducklings and chocolate but also remember that Christ is risen, loving each one of us and being there alongside us as we journey through life!
Sunflower seeds will be in church for everyone to take home from Easter Day … as well as the essentials … like chocolate … . Come and join the celebration in St Michael’s church tomorrow, Easter Day at 10.30 with more chicks, ducklings, rabbits and many hearts, not to mention more chocolate!
And listen out for the church bells celebrating Easter!
Wishing you all a joyful Easter and a blessed holiday