News from the clergy
“Thy Kingdom Come”
“The Lord is risen”... “He is risen indeed, Alleluia”. There is more to Easter than Easter Sunday. The season of Eastertide stretches before us and in our planning we anticipate the concluding festivals of Eastertide. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a call to prayer from Ascension Day until Pentecost, for the witness of Christians in this country, with a threefold aim:
- To join in prayer with the whole family of God the Father
- To pray for the empowering of God the Holy Spirit
- That we may be effective witnesses to God the Son, Jesus Christ
It is a call to find deep unity of purpose in prayer, not only across the Anglican Communion but it has now gathered momentum as an ecumenical event. It was piloted successfully last year and the Archbishops are keen to widen the net for more churches, like ourselves, who didn’t participate last year to do so this time. In fact they want all churches to be involved.
At the heart of “Thy Kingdom Come” is the commitment to corporate and individual prayer. When we utter those words in the prayer that Jesus taught us it expresses a longing for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as in heaven. The Archbishops write, “In the Kingdom of God the hungry are fed, the poor hear good news and the oppressed find justice. In that Kingdom the broken are made whole, the sick are healed and the sinner is set free. In that Kingdom all can know right relationship with the Father, through Jesus, the Son, and so find the goal and purpose of their lives. In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.” It is powerful stuff. When we watch all the news reports of famine, war, terror and injustice, we are confronted by how much our world presently needs that kind of transformation.
At St John’s we will engage with this by having a Pentecost Quiet Day on Sunday 4th June. It will begin with our usual Sung Eucharist at 10 am and end with closing worship at 3.30 pm. There will be talks, prayer stations and time for individual prayer throughout the day. Let’s hope for fine weather so that we can spread out into the churchyard as well. Please do put the date in your diaries and endeavour to stick around for the full day if you can. If you have other commitments, then you are welcome to join us for the part of the day that you can manage. Jesus prayed that we might be one that the world might believe (John 17:21). As we come together, we do not only do so as a church, but also, globally.
Rev Lisa Cornwell
Holy Week fast approaches but do you know your Palm Sunday from your Maundy Thursday? Here follows a reminder. We hope you can share in the drama of the week and in order to appreciate the full impact of the Easter celebrations. The key events are as follows:
Palm Sunday: Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We receive palm crosses to remind us of the palms thrown in front of the donkey on which he rode. A procession enters the church, where the events of Holy Week in Jerusalem are celebrated, shouting “Hosanna” like the crowd accompanying Jesus and his disciples.
Maundy Thursday: The day of the last supper and Christ’s betrayal and arrest. It includes thanksgiving of the Lord’s Supper; the ceremonial washing of disciples’ feet in obedience to our Lord’s command to love and serve one another; the stripping of altars and descent into darkness as Jesus goes out from the upper room to be betrayed, deserted and arrested in the garden of Gethsemane. The congregation disperses in silence but the Gethsemane vigil begins before a candle-lit altar laden with flowers.
Good Friday: The proclamation of Christ’s death upon the cross. We are confronted with a bare church and a wooden cross with a crown of thorns. In the morning there will be a Churches Together all-age interactive service at St John’s, followed by a walk of witness via the high street and Morgan Rec. concluding at the Methodist Church for hot cross buns. In the afternoon, there will be an hour long meditation before the cross service at St John’s.
Easter Eve: The beginning of Easter. The light of Christ, represented by the paschal candle, emerges from the darkness and fills the church. In some churches there is special liturgy on the evening of Holy Saturday or at a dawn service. During such services there is a thanksgiving for the resurrection and renewal of baptismal vows. At St John’s, the service of light is combined with the first service of Easter Day, a sung Eucharist at 8am…
Easter Day: The greatest of all Christian festivals. The risen Christ is known, as at Emmaus, in the breaking of bread. The “Alleluia” banished in Lent returns in full glory: “Alleluia, Christ is Risen!” The Easter garden is blessed (at the 10.30 am service) and we enjoy Easter eggs, a symbol of the new life that Christ gives.
Joy did not burst upon them
at His bursting from the tomb.
Firstly, frightened out of their wits
but perfect love drives out fear.
They came to apprehend
an other worldly reality.
Like the blind man,
healed in stages,
their sight became clearer.
Their resolve renewed.
Rev Lisa Cornwell