Spitual Reflections for Easter
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Here you will find some reflections for the coming Easter Season while coronovirus is disrupting things, starting with Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday Relection 2020

Text Box: 9:45A character in a 1970s UK children’s comedy, called Worzel Gummidge ( a scarecrow) asked his long-time but disdainful girlfriend (Aunt Sally) if she could write the time of day on a piece of paper for him so that, at least twice a day, he would know the time.

Ornate old clock inside Central railway station in Glasgow ...On a railway platform, equally long ago if not more so, there were two clocks which always ran 6 minutes apart from each other. An angry traveller asked the Station Master what was the point of having 2 clocks  which told different times to which he replied  that there was no sense in having two that told the same time. You could literally say that time was two-faced.

 

One of the challenges of being a preacher is that every year (or at least every 3 years) the same readings come round and we are required to say something new and different. The snag is that you’ve heard it all before, there is, as Ecclesiastes says, nothing new under the sun. Once you been going to church for 6 years, you’ll have heard the lectionary (the collection of  set readings for each Sunday) go round twice because it’s on a 3 year cycle. On some special days the readings are the same every year so then the challenge is harder.

This year might be different though with things being as they are, in a state of flux and fear. We now need and long for the stability of regular things happening at regular times, going to work, doing the shopping, visiting gran, school activities, pizza on Friday – or whatever other activities punctuated and marked your day, week, month, season, year. You might be glad just to be able to go to church, gather in one place without a metre measure and share the peace and bread and wine and pray and sing and be normal, regular Christians.

With Palm Sunday we visit not only the same basic story line, the lead up to the Passion narratives, but we may also visit our guilt, recognising in the crowds that cheered, the same crowds that called for the release of Barabbas, and, as is the nature of crowds, we are there with them. We cheer and celebrate the entry in to Jerusalem and then, in Passion week, we watch the events of the Last Supper, washing feet, betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion. We are audience, onlookers, not central players. We are observers: some of us are witnesses who tell others what we have seen. But it is, nevertheless, give or take, the same every year. We move on from the event, we process and progress though the year, now Easter, now Pentecost, now harvest, now Advent, now Christmas, now Lent.

So what makes for real difference? Coronovirus is giving us Difference. No contact, no outings, no gatherings. This year really is a Different Easter. Some of us will lose loved ones or know of illness and next year we will mark this time with grief and relief. But mark it we will, as days crossed off on the calendar (there is so much encouragement to be had in paper calendars!). It comes to pass as plagues have done before and as Springs, Summers, Autumns and Winters have done before. This year the clock face is 6 minutes out, next year it will be in synch again – but a great deal of experience and time will have passed before then. There will be a time when the piece of paper we have in our heart’s pocket will tell the right time again. This year’s Palm Crosses will still make next Palm Cross Clipartyear’s ash for the  Wednesday that marks the beginning of Lent. What we cannot do is change the pace of time.  We can chase it, waste it, push it, run out of it, try to put it behind us, look forward to it, ignore it, forget it,  but we cannot make the days go faster or slower; a second is always a second. We may have more daylight but we do not have more hours.

There will be a time when time is done with, when we engage with the eternity Christ speaks of and promises us. You can chose how you think of this event, either at the point of your death or at the Second Coming, but linear time will come to an end we are told. The Resurrection is the beginning of this -if Eternity can be said to have a beginning! When we accept that we fail, that we are the mob of the crowd and the individual who screws up, that we are as bad as everyone else and yet individually liable, when we acknowledge and own this, and say sorry, then the crucifixion, which happened centuries ago, becomes a contemporary event for us as Christ takes our place and punishment. But, then the Resurrection is ours too and we will rise with Christ, forgiven and transformed.

Every Easter is set at 5 to 12. Will we look on and leave or look on and stay? Will we flee or will we  watch? Will we help take down the corpse and then go, days later, to find the empty tomb or will we condemn Jesus to death, not risen in our hearts and lives? We Christians are described as an Easter people, some of us are stuck, ground-hog like, on Friday, watching shadows, rather than sunbeams, play.

I have just come back from walking my dogs. For the first time this spring I saw, around Onsøy, what I saw last spring in the Cotswold  hills –  snowdrops and crocuses and a butterfly enjoying the sun. Every year there is the miracle of ‘repeat’ which is not repeat at all but re-new. As you read this, possibly in isolation, remember our future rests in Christ.

 

Collect for Palm Sunday

Almighty and everlasting God,

who in your tender love towards the human race

sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ

to take upon him our flesh

and to suffer death upon the cross:

grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,

and also be made partakers of his resurrection;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

 

 

 

 

From the Diocesan Bishop, David Hamid, the following piedces of liturgy are intended for home use during the coronovirus lock down.

Agapé

An Agapé or Love Feast is a way of breaking bread together as Jesus did with people in all sorts of settings. You may like to join in at home with some bread and wine or juice.

 

Giving Thanks

We have bread and wine,

gifts of this good earth,

enough for all, if we can share!

Gracious God we give you thanks

for all the many blessings in our lives

and ask that you would bless us now

as we share your good gifts

in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

Breaking Bread

Loving God, you provide enough for everyone:

this earth is fertile, fruitful and abundant,

but we are sometimes greedy, wasteful and selfish.

Many go hungry despite our plenty,

many are left outside while we enjoy a feast.

But on the hillside, in the wilderness,

with five thousand and more hungry people,

Jesus took the bread that they had,

broke it and gave thanks to you.

He shared the bread,

so that no one should be left out,

and they all ate and were satisfied.

Blessed be God forever!

 

Blessing Wine

Hurting God, you hurt with our pains,

you weep with our tears;

when you see how we struggle and suffer.

You long for our peace, yet we so often make war.

You long for our healing and wholeness,

yet we so often turn away from you.

But at a wedding in Cana when the wine ran out,

Jesus asked them to fill the empty jars with water,

and by your grace, water became wine,

sadness was turned to joy,

and all were able to share in the best wine of all.

Blessed be God forever!

 

Sharing Together

Dreaming God,

you long for us to dream your dream,

of a world at peace, a people made one,

a feast for all;

where bread is broken and shared with companions on the road,

where wine is blessed

and shared with all who are hurting,

and all are caught up together

in the Kingdom of your Son,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

The bread can be shared, using the words:

Bread for the world to share.

 

The wine can be shared using the words:

The best wine, saved till now.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Gracious God we thank you,

for your abundant love in creation,

your compassionate, healing touch in our hurting,

your inspiration for our venturing.

Thank you for bread, and wine to share.

Give us grace to follow

in the footsteps of your Son,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Blessing

God who longs for our healing,

meet us in our hurting,

with your compassion.

Jesus who stands with us,

touch us in our brokenness,

that we may be made whole.

Spirit who anoints us with power,

fill us with your grace,

that we may reach out to others.

The blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Be with you, now and for ever.

Amen.

 
 

Spiritual Communion

When Unable to Attend a Celebration of the Eucharist

If a household are praying together one person may act as leader and the others as the congregation and they join in the sections in bold type.

If alone read all the words aloud.

You may want to light a candle before you begin, and have a bible, cross or crucifix to look at.

The Lord is here. The Spirit is with us.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

You may want to pray the Collect of the Day here from an app or book.

You could use one or more of the readings of the day or the following short readings:

First Reading - Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Psalm - Psalm 62

On God alone my soul in stillness waits; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, so that I shall never be shaken.

Gospel - John 15:5

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Spend a few moments praying for the people you know and love, the needs of the world and for an end to the current Pandemic.

The Lord’s Prayer

OUR Father, which art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

Act of Contrition

I love you, Jesus, my love above all things, and I repent with my whole heart of having offended you. Never permit me to separate myself from you again, grant that I may love you always, and then do with me what you will.

Act of Spiritual Reception

In union, dear Father, with Christian people throughout the world and across the centuries gathered to make Eucharist, hearing your holy Word and receiving the Precious Body and Blood, I offer you praise and thanksgiving. Even though I am exiled from tasting the Bread of Heaven and drinking the Cup of Life I pray that you will unite me with all the baptised and with your Son who gave his life for us. Come Lord Jesus, dwell in me and send your Holy Spirit that I may be filled with your presence.

O LORD and heavenly Father,  we your humble servants  entirely desire your fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving;  most humbly beseeching you to grant, that by the merits and death of your Son Jesus Christ,  and through faith in his blood,  we and all your whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. 

Amen.

 

THE peace of God, which passes all understanding,  keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,  and of his son Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father,  the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always.  Amen. 

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