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Showing posts from March, 2013

Easter Sunday 2013

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"...on the first day of the week at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them,
'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again'.Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; sto…

Holy Saturday (Easter Eve)

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The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is different from the rest of Holy Week. It feels like a day when everything should stop, an in-between time to be still and wait. In practice I've often found this one of the busiest of the year - a day to travel, to shop, to clean, to prepare food for tomorrow's celebrations. There are so many ordinary things to get on with.
Churches often feel this tension. There's a contradiction between attempting to enter into the numbness, fear or despair Jesus' friends felt the day after his crucifixion and burial, while also being busy preparing Easter decorations to celebrate resurrection. There's nothing wrong with celebrating Christ's resurrection on any day of the year. But on this day it seems right to pause, imagine what it was like for those first disciples who, in spite of what Jesus had told them, really didn't expect Jesus to rise from the dead. As many feel after a death of someone close, or during a cris…

Good Friday: Mother and Child meditation

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On this Good Friday: Lord, we come to the cross; In your mercy hear us.




Maundy Thursday 2013

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3 'mandates' of Jesus are recalled on Maundy Thursday. At a meal with his disciples on the night before he died, Jesus told them:
to share bread and wine in remembrance of himto wash one another's feet to love one another In a ritual sense the sharing of bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus is probably the most obeyed of any of these three. 
Foot-washings often form part of Christian worship on Maundy Thursday as a reminder that we should have the same attitude of humble service that Jesus demonstrated.
To love one another is specifically for the community of Jesus' followers. Did Jesus know how hard they (and we) would find that? It is a 'new commandment', additional to the great commandments to love God and to love neighbour. 
The recognition of our failure as Christians to share food and drink generously, to serve humbly and to love one another as Christ loves us throws us back on our need for "the all-transforming presence of the Lord" as Malcolm Gu…

Judas Iscariot

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Wednesday of Holy Week has a focus on one of Jesus' hand-picked friends and companions, Judas called Iscariot, one of the 12 Apostles.

Before his arrest, at Jesus' last supper with friends, Jesus handed to Judas a dipped crust of bread, a sign of special honour.

Judas,
"...after receiving the piece of bread...immediately went out. And it was night." John 13:30 NRSVHis purpose was to hand Jesus over to the religious authorities. Jesus handed him grace and favour and I am sure looked at him with love. Judas responded with betrayal. Since then, in many languages, the word 'Judas' has become synonymous with 'betrayer'. To be betrayed by an enemy is hard enough. To be betrayed by a friend is particularly painful.
"It is not enemies who taunt me - I could bear that:It is not adversaries who deal insolently with me -I could hide from them.But it is you, my equal, my companion,my familiar friend, with whom I kept pleasant company;we walked in the house of Go…

Palm Sunday 2013

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This painting of the entry of Christ into Jerusalem was created by Wilhelm Morgner, a German artist who died on Flanders fields during World War 1.

For me it expresses both peaceful procession and the passion and suffering of Christ. The rich colours speak of royal triumph, but the darkness seems to be closing in and there is more than a hint of the coming passion. The Christ figure seems already pierced. The other figures are ambiguous. Are they there to cheer, to observe, to plot or to crush?

Lord Jesus Christ,you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant,and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation:give us the mind to follow youand to proclaim you as Lord and King,to the glory of God the Father.Common Worship Post Communion Prayer, Palm Sunday
For previous posts for Palm Sunday see

Who is this?Palms and PassionPalm Sunday



Image Credit: Vanderbilt Divinity Library, CC License

Kindness of friend and stranger

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Life tends to throw up the unexpected. People like me who like to plan ahead don't always find this easy.

At the start of Lent I intended to blog daily with posts about ordinary things for which I was thankful. If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know I have failed to fulfill this intention and thankfulness posts have become sporadic. As someone once said, "if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans".

During this Lent there have been several unforeseen events in my life. There have been some days when I haven't felt thankful at all. The last 10 days have been the most difficult. It's also been a time when I have noticed more things to be thankful for but have not had the energy to write any posts. On 11 March my very elderly mother fell and broke her hip. I dropped everything I was committed to do and went with my husband to snow-bound Kent. 

What followed is not something I want to share here - or at least not now. Instead, here's some of …

Mothering Sunday 2013

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Today I am thankful for all the mothering I have received in my life, especially from my own mother, but also from others in family, friends, work colleagues and church. So, on this Mothering Sunday, for all those who have nurtured and cared for me, I give thanks.

I'm also thankful for these posts about Mothering Sunday by other bloggers:
Global Justice and Mothers' Day by Krish Kandia has a challenging video clip about girls who have no choice about becoming mothers
Mothering Sunday by Kathryn at Good in Parts gives a simple but profound message about how God mothers us
Mothering Sunday and Mother's Day by Phillip Carter on the OUP blog writes about Constance Smith and the revival of Mothering Sunday 100 years ago with an explanation of how this is confused with Mothers' Day
A Sonnet for Mothering Sunday by Malcolm Guite is well worth a read
Mothering Sunday 2013 gives a Roman Catholic perspective on the Church as 'our Mother'

Today is also called 'Refreshment Su…

Books

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On my bedside chest I have a large pile of books, in various stages of being read, waiting to be read, or there to be dipped into from time to time.

I would find it difficult to live without books - real books, with paper you can feel. Even though I have a Kindle app on my tablet and read books that way, especially when travelling, nothing can beat the pleasure of handling a beautifully bound volume and anticipating the delights or the interest of its content. Today I am thankful for books.

Going into a library or, more dangerously, a book shop I am like a child in a sweet shop. Or  like the child I once was, taken by the hand into the local public library and encouraged to browse, or pulling out the books on the bookshelves at home and trying to read whatever I found. Never mind that I was 4 and picking out words in a Tolstoy or a Dickens novel. Browsing for books on the internet can be useful but lacks the pleasure of being able to handle and browse the book itself before committing t…