Parishioner letter—Rev neil
The Cover Image this Easter is inspired by a new song “Come to the Table” by Matt Weeks which you can hear most Sunday’s at St Mary’s.
If you use social media, you may enjoy the ‘anniversaries’ that pop up every now and then, reminding you of what happened on this day in previous years. My timeline recently has been full of images from our early lockdown – our first Evensong in the carpark 2 years ago, ringing the bell, pancakes on the astroturf… It makes me realise that the last time we ‘did Easter’ the ‘normal’ way was 3 years ago! We had a few socially distanced people in church in 2021, but finally this year we are allowed to gather in greater numbers and celebrate with a shared feast.
I don’t know about you but I have really missed having people round for dinner for the past 2 years. Sharing a meal with a big gathering of friends is one of the things we have missed the most, but will we ever go back to that in quite the same way? As we have experimented and adapted, we have found new favorite ways. For example, we love eating outside now!
Do you ever want to pinch yourself and wake up, and find it has all been just a bad dream? The news headlines over the past 3 years have certainly included the stuff of nightmares. Emerging from lockdown we are different people from what we used to be, aren’t we?
One of the greatest joys now, is gathering around a table again with friends and family, whether at church or home, and it reminds us that whether you’re in a pub or restaurant or hosting at home, its important. Not just fun – really important, in fact integral to being human.
Gathering around a table was important to Jesus too, and so his last night of freedom was spent with his friends around a table, the night before he was arrested. What he shared around the table has brought us hope for the last 2000 years and forever. He explained that life is about serving and helping others, as he washed his disciples feet and set the example—look, what I do you should do. He lifted up the bread and said if you receive me, you receive God. No one comes to the Father except by me. This is something we remind ourselves of every Sunday we gather round the table in church for the eucharist. We simply remind ourselves what Jesus has done, we tell the story, share the truth, and then when we have finished we say to each other “Go in peace and love and serve the Lord.” Over the last 3 years we have seen a lot of people serving in our community and it has been a miracle that we give thanks for again this Easter.
So as Easter approaches, we invite you all to join us in remembering and celebrating during Holy Week. Come and hear the story! On Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus’s last meal gathered around a table with his disciples, and we meet together at The Chapel at 6.30pm for a bring & share meal. Come on Good Friday to Ash Wharf at 10:45am for an open air service where we remember the cross and the price that Jesus paid, and hot cross bns afterwards at The Chapel. And then on Saturday as we prepare for Easter and remind ourselves that Easter is coming, join us at St Mary’s where the church will be open for prayer and meditation. On Easter Sunday, we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection, rising from the dead Halleluia! We will be meeting in church on Easter Sunday at 10.30am for the service, followed by a feast afterwards. This will be bigger than ever before, as we join with our brothers from Fiji from the New Way Christian Life Fellowship.
we can’t wait to sing and celebrate.
“I will sing the wondrous story of the christ who died for me, how he left the realms of glory for the cross of Calvary”
(Francis H Rowley 1886)
You can find this on youtube if you’d like to hear it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDPCFbAysBc
The cross is bigger than anything we have experienced over the last 2 years, and anything we are going to experience. It is the biggest news ever. All these things will pass away, but the truth of the resurrection is for eternity. This is God’s perspective. The truth is, that with Him you can face anything that comes. Nothing can separate us from the truth and love of God, Alleluia!