Reflection ahead of Easter 2020
This will be a very different type of Easter for all of us, and certainly one of the only Easter Days in a long time when I haven’t been able to go to church. It is 38 years now since my friends and neighbours Derek and Sue Akker helped me back to church after a period of absence. A lot has happened to me since then but I’m happy to say my faith has remained and I look forward to each Easter with the same expectation, for me it is better than Christmas.
On probably the last day our church building was open, I went in for quiet prayer - just me there at the time, and Simon put some music on for me. It was so peaceful and lovely, and the tears flowed. Simon asked if I needed a hymn book, but having my choir one at home, I made a promise to myself that I would go through the book and play each hymn in the book - I’m now on number 304, but I do hope that I don’t get to the end, and the lockdown is lifted soon.
I was looking forward to Holy Week, it would have been a busy time filled with lovely activities, but I have been forced to slow down. I have found some peace with the broadcast morning services and the prayers and readings for the week we have been sent by Simon and Luke. It has been very different.
And, like the tomb when Mary visited and found it empty, our church buildings remain empty when they would usually be filled with people, services, children and celebration. But, the building isn’t the ‘church’, we the people are the church, and I am sure we will have a wonderful service to go through at home on Easter Day. We will also be re-living the Jesus’s words to Mary when he first showed himself to her - ‘Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father and your Father and my God and your God’. We too will not be able to touch our families and friends due to the Coronavirus and make do with phone calls and video links.
Let’s keep our spirits up and get ourselves ready and excited for Easter Day, enjoy the day, give thanks, dress up, make ourselves some nice food, take photos to share. I’m hopeful it will be a one-off year, we should make memories of how we have celebrated Easter this year, and be very thankful that we are still here to enjoy it.
Reflections on the readings for Passion Sunday
My first thought once I’d gone through the service at home was to think of the Hymn by Bernadette Farrell - ‘Send out your Spirit Lord’ which opens with the words ‘How lovely are your works O Lord .. . ‘ and is in keeping with the words in our Psalm 104. We in the choir sang it with the joint choir at St Stephen’s last year and have sung it as a choir piece during Communion in our own church. A wonderful hymn and I’m hopeful we will sing it as a choir again soon.
My second reflection is about the Gospel reading from Matthew. I’m sure we had this or a similar reading a few weeks ago, when it also made me think. Many of you who know me well will know I am a bit of a shopaholic- particularly where clothes are concerned. I can always be found in Marks and Spencer’s, Debenhams or my favourite Boundary Mill! What will I wear today? The Gospel tells me not to worry and right now I’ve begun to realise that - I don’t need 7 pairs of jeans and everything that goes with them, together with the rest of the things in my wardrobe when we go out at the moment. (A huge number of which will be donated to the charity shops as soon as that is allowed.) But, instead of my everyday clothes, I will make a special effort on Easter Sunday. We might not be able to be together at Church and share the special day, we might not be able to have a nice family lunch, but let’s all make a special effort and put on some nice clothes and make ourselves feel good on for this very special day.