Time is flying by and we have started the journey towards Easter Day with a well attended Palm Sunday service in Milton Abbas led by Rev'd Jimmy and Rev'd Alan. They counted at least 69 people in church that morning from all the Benefice Churches. We were able to take the opportunity to thank Rev'd Marion Miles for her ministry in our benefice and celebrate over twenty years of her ordained ministry.
It was also the first outing into a parish church, for 'the Band' who have been accompanying the Sunday evening 'Mary's@6' service in Whitechurch Parish Rooms. Dulcie and the Milton Abbas choir led the service and The Band were able to play for a couple of songs in the middle. Maybe we will be hearing more from them.
The Holy Week reflections started yesterday in Winterborne Stickland (Mark 11:1-11) with Rev'd Jimmy asking three questions - 'Why Jerusalem?' 'Why death' 'So what?'
On Tuesday, the journey leads us to St Mary's Turnworth and Mark 11:12-33. Then on to St Andrew's in Houghton for Wednesday and Mark:14:1-11.
On Maunday Thursday the journey takes a different path. We meet at the Parish rooms Winterborne Whitechurch for a Tenebrae service. Tenebrae is Latin for Shadows.
The purpose of this service is to recreate the emotional aspects of the passion story. The betrayal, abandonment and agony of the events and it is left unfinished because the story isn't over until Easter Day. Lit by candles, around the table we share the elements of the Passover Feast, Communion one to another, and the service of Easter Readings, hymns and the gradual procession into darkness.
On Good Friday why not walk from Houghton to Stickland - remembering the events of Good Friday but knowing that this is not the end of the story. So there will be coffee and hot cross buns and conversation for all who join us there at 10.30. A reminder of the last Supper will be laid out in the church for all to see. There will be a hunt for silver coins - why silver coins and how many will we find? And some craft activities for children.
This is followed by a more reflective service at 11.30.When a tree is cut through you see the ring pattern that runs right the way up and down the trunk. Good Friday is a slice through history that allows us to see the pattern of Gods love stretching forwards and backwards to infinity. Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap; at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write his title in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. At the kind of place where cynics talk smut, thieves curse and soldiers gamble.....
This lead us to Easter Saturday when we meet at St Catherine's Chapel in Milton Abbas woods for a short service followed by the Polish Custom of Swieconka where we will bless an Easter basket of food.The foods in the baskets have a symbolic meaning:
- eggs - symbolise life and Christ's resurrection
- bread - symbolic of Jesus
- lamb - represents Christ
- salt - represents purification
- horseradish - symbolic of the bitter sacrifice of Christ
- ham - symbolic of great joy and abundance.