ASK – Passiontide

Vicar's Blog ~ March 29th 2020
ASK - Passiontide

2020-05-17-Gordon

Dear friends,

This weekend it is Passion Sunday - the Fifth Sunday of Lent, which falls between the respite of Mothering Sunday and the beginning of the agonies and ecstasies of Holy Week. There is little respite for us, hunkered in our bunkers. I do hope and pray that everyone is OK, and can tell you that there has been some good ASKing going on. The redistribution of a large amount of frozen food was co-ordinated on Wednesday and Thursday and today I delivered bread to some of you. It was lovely to do a bit of doorstepping - at safe distances of course! If anyone needs some bread I still have a few loaves! Ring me up or email.

It is still very much Lent (keep reading the book!), but as was pointed out to me today, there is very much an Advent feel to this season now, we waited expectantly but fearfully for the ‘lockdown’, which almost brought relief when it came. And now we wait for a return to our past lives, groaning in anticipation as St Paul put it to the Romans (8.16-25):

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

We will not return to our past lives, not completely. Things will be different. The way the world lives, the way it communicates, the way it behaves, the way it cares, will change. The wisdom of the just and the wickedness of the foolish are soon to be exposed, and many will pay a high price for it. None of us will be unaffected.

Stay indoors 99% of the time. Try to be at home with God and with each other, and with yourself. Keep ringing, texting, Whatsapping (is that a new verb?), and get up every hour to walk about. Lengthen your tempers that the days may be short. Here is a little screenshot that you might find helpful:

This weekend’s readings, offered to us by the Church as we approach the passion of our Lord, are about resurrection. There cannot be death without resurrection and there cannot be resurrection without death. This is a comforting thought, because it means that there is hope, and what we are enduring (which is not great hardship compared to some in war zones etc) will blossom into life again. The raising of Lazarus prefigures the raising of Christ, and his resurrection prefigures ours. Yet, he wept to see his friend die. Our Lord is with us in our trials and tribulations and sufferings, and rejoices with us in eternal hope.

Pray for Michael and Colin whose operations have been postponed.
Pray for Anneliese and Ray, whose sister Sue just died.
The PCC are meeting online this week. Good luck folks!

In Holy Week there will be a special ‘At home’ treat - a dramatic reading of extracts of Dorothy L Sayers’ Passion and Easter dramas. These will be available online from next weekend, with a daily download to listen to from Holy Wednesday. I will also provide some ‘At Home in Holy Week’ material, so we can celebrate an Agape meal together and keep the watch of Maundy Thursday, spend an hour at the Cross on Good Friday, open a celebratory bottle on Easter Eve and rejoice in the resurrection with a unique eucharist on Easter Day. Watch this space! Remember these timings to set aside so we can be ‘together’ in prayer and reflection:

Maundy Thursday 7.30pm Agape Supper - 9pm - ‘Watch’ for one hour.
Good Friday - An hour at the Cross 11am
Holy Saturday - Easter Exultet - 8pm
Easter Day - Special ‘Service’ of fellowship and prayer 10am

More next weekend on this. ‘Live’ streaming is currently beyond us, but we all have clocks and be synchronised in that way.

Finally, remember that the clocks go forward tonight - if you have anything to get out of bed for in the morning!! For once it may not matter...

With love to you all, wherever you are,

Gordon

This week’s sermon is given by Mo (congratulations on mastering the technology Mo!), and is available here: Lent 5 ~ Mo Lunn