Thoughts from the Vicarage 92

Dear Friends of The Valley,

Easter Day

It was such a joy to welcome Easter Day at the Benefice Easter Day Eucharist with the lighting of the Paschal Candle in St Michael & All Angels Lambourn. And wasn’t it simply marvellous to be singing together?

Numerous people commented on how wonderful it was to hear the bells ring out across the Valley welcoming everyone on that joyful morning! The flags are still flying at All Saints and St Michael’s celebrating and how wonderful was the organ fanfare accompanied by all manner of clapping and percussion as the words were proclaimed Christ is risen – He is risen indeed Alleluia! It was lovely to welcome Revd Christine back into our midst after the death of Dennis as she preached a super sermon reminding us to keep singing our song – Alleluia!

For all those who were unable to be with us – I do hope that you had a blessed day and please be assured that you were in our thoughts and prayers. If you are able, do pop into All Saints, St James or St Michael’s to pick up a sunflower seed pack to share the joy of Easter or a bunny, a chick or even a heart! And it’s not too late to visit the churches to pray and reflect at this Eastertide amidst the floral arrangements and Easter gardens.

 

Many thanks to all those who helped out in any way to ‘dress’ and prepare the churches for Easter – and to all those who joined in with the latest knitting project! How lovely did the little spiral staircase look ? And in the niche was a display in memory of Lydia and David Ashplant with their blown eggs, a little nest and other decorations donated to us – all complimented by beautiful narcissi.

I have also been passed on another interesting piece of china, the provenance of which I would love to know more. Once again, from Lydia and David’s home passed onto their church. If you have any thoughts I’d love to know more. I suspect it may be South American but would love to know more please let me know.

Looking ahead …

Unless there is a great change in local infection rates there will be services continuing the season of Easter during April as follows;

April 18th

  • 8am BCP Holy Communion St Michael & All Angels
  • 9.30 Family Communion St James the Greater
  • 11.00 All Together Eucharist St Michael & All Angels

April 25th

  • 9.00am Holy Communion All Saints
  • 10.30am Eucharist St Michael and All Angels

Wednesday @ 7

Today is Wednesday @ 7 as we begin to explore the comfortable words found in Isaiah chapters 40 -55 using Bishop Steven Croft’s book. All are welcome via zoom using the code found on the email which bought this to you. No need to worry if you haven’t read the passages simply come along and reflect upon the song of an unnamed prophet who sings at the end of the exile to call God’s people home – comfortable words to hear in the midst of this time of pandemic.

And finally …

This week I’ve been giving many thanks that we were able to meet in person on Easter Day. This time last year we were unable so to do. And as the bells rang out on Sunday I pondered ‘what is different this time round?’

Sadly, many are in a more difficult place: mourning the death of loved ones, struggling with financial hardship, debilitated by mental health issues. But then of course many are increasingly hopeful as the vaccination programme rolls out, as lockdown eases, and the possibility of a genuinely post-pandemic season gains momentum. And then there was the sobering thought of the unexpected length of the pandemic. A very stark reminder that we are not in control of our lives as we thought we might be. And into all these realities and more, the resurrected Jesus assures us of his presence and peace.

After his resurrection Jesus says to his disciples ‘Peace be with you’ (Luke 24:36). Peace, shalom, God-oriented flourishing, be with you. This peace comes not because circumstances are easy, but because whatever the circumstances Jesus is present with us.

It is a peace built on the assurance of his presence, and the trustworthiness of his promises. Those early disciples became leaders of the Church, committed to introducing people to the one who offers peace – in other words they were going to be singing the song!

May we know Jesus’ presence and the hope He offers us at this time. May we know his peace within us, peace that passes all understanding and can only come from Him.

With joyful Easter greetings

Julie