We are all affected by the restrictions we have been placed under to try to protect one another from the Covid-19 virus.
This message is for you as we enter Holy Week, leading to the life-changing events of Easter.
Many of us have been lighting a candle each evening at 7pm and having a time of prayer. I want to invite you to join us and especially during Holy Week to say Compline (also called Night Prayer), either alone or with your household. The Order of Service is on this site.
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem – it’s a great irony that this year, as we isolate ourselves in our homes alone or in small family groups, we remember how huge crowds gathered in the streets to wave palm branches and cry ‘Hosanna’!
It ends next Sunday as we are invited to share in the culmination of his work of bringing salvation to the world through his death and resurrection. Jesus came into the world for this very reason.
Easter is the most important of all the Christian festivals. Without Easter there would have been no salvation – no being reconciled to God through the forgiveness of our sins; no church, no sacraments, no Sunday Sabbath rest.
I want to encourage you to remain faithful and to continue in prayer for our needy world. Prayer really does make a difference.
The world would be a very different place without belief in God: and not just because people would live and die with no hope beyond our short span of life.
Christians, spurred on by their faith and led by the Holy Spirit have been responsible for many of the advances in our societies, many of which have become an important part of everyday life.
Just a short selection must include the Hospice Movement, the Samaritans, Shelter, Macmillan Nurses, the Braille system for the visually impaired, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Christian Aid, the Mother’s Union, Alcoholics Anonymous, Amnesty International, Oxfam, the R.S.P.C.A., the Foster Care movement, the first Leprosy Missions, Barnardo’s Children’s Homes and the abolition of slavery in this country. Many of these began because of a single person or small group who saw a need and felt called by God to do something in response. Perhaps you might be inspired to find a way to help people who are struggling at the moment.
Our Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Revd. Paul Bayes has been encouraging us for some time now to help build a bigger church in order to make a bigger difference in our communities and beyond.
Recent research showed that 81% of Christians in the U.K. do some kind of voluntary work at least once a month. This compares with a much lower figure of 26% for the population at large.
So, if you want a better world for you and your children and grandchildren then you can make no more positive step than to join your local church – we are still the church even though we are unable to gather together at present.
I pray that despite the strange circumstances we find ourselves in, that you and your loved ones will have a happy, holy and blessed Easter, and that God will stir up his gift of faith in you.
Your friend and Vicar,