Yesterday I was the grateful recipient of a Moderna vaccine (#1 dose - CHECK!). I feel moved and grateful that clergy were pushed up the chain, even as I long for every single person who can to be vaccinated and for all of us to be able to meet freely again… but gradually, steadily, we are moving forward both as individuals and as a community. Step by step. Day by day. So, so grateful.
But even with joyful interruptions, Lent can feel long. I wonder how you are doing with any Lenten practices you took up, or things you laid down? Are you tempted to quit sometimes? I know I am … It can be hard to dig deeper, to find a bit more self-control, a bit more hope. So grateful that God enters into these days with us - so grateful that we are not alone on the journey. I wonder, too, if you have taken time this week to examine your life to ask the Holy Spirit to dig up the rocks in your path which may be causing you or others to stumble? If you have thoughts to share - please write a blog! If you want to talk/pray with me or pray through the ‘reconciliation of a penitent’ (BCP 223), please email me. If you have any questions following last week's sermon, please call me! Let's talk.
This coming Sunday is Lent 5 sometimes known as Passion Sunday, introducing what is called Passiontide, the two weeks running up to Easter Sunday, i.e. including Palm Sunday and Holy Week. It marks a deliberate turning towards the cross, a sense of brooding anticipation as we examine our hearts, as we expectantly wait to walk through the gospel accounts leading up to Christ’s sacrificial death - and then the glorious hope of the resurrection.
This week you may want to pray this collect for Passion Sunday each day:
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I can definitely pray that! My wills and affections are often unruly. Grateful for a fixed point of connection in Jesus. Why not pray it and then sit for a while listening to this beautiful sung prayer.
So what else is happening? Well two BIG bits of news:
The first is not really that unexpected :) HOLY WEEK is coming. Please, please, please read this webpage and begin to accumulate the things we are inviting you to bring to services. We’d also love to invite you to ‘tea with the pastors’ at 11am on March 27 - an opportunity to pick up a palm branch and some pre-consecrated elements for Palm Sunday and Holy Week and just to say ‘hi’.
Then … YES! Our re-gathering plans are suddenly moving forward with speed and hope and enthusiasm. Read on - with expectant hearts but also cognisant that this is our plan: life has a way in a pandemic of messing with our plans (as you may just have noticed!!) so be patient with us and the world!
Holy Week: you can signup to join us in the Chapel or in a garden church on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (physically distant, masked etc).
Easter Sunday: we will be meeting ALL TOGETHER!!! OUTSIDE!!!! In the AUMC carpark by the chapel. Please let the weather be dry! Bring your chair or rug….. And bells….
And from then on? Well, we are hoping that EVERY week we will meet in the carpark….. BUT rain may stop play as cricketers have found through the years. In which case we will revert to hybrid chapel/garden church/zoom.
So what do YOU have to do today?
Gather items for worship
Think about whether you’d like to host some form of garden church: it does NOT need to be in your own yard - think creatively :)
Decide if you’d like to come to the Chapel
Your grateful pastor and friend,