The season of Easter
is almost over, and what a wonderful Easter Day it was; the weather was good, and in each of our five churches the joy of
the Resurrection was marked in joyful praise and with large congregations- it was a truly joyous day.
Elsewhere in this
magazine David has also written about the ‘Sunrise Communion’ at Maidford. I wish as we sat before the service,
waiting to see who would appear, I had a camera with me, (or at least remembered to charge my phone!) to photograph the inside
of the church and the way the sun streaming through the East window shone over the High Altar and onto the large crucifix
set up in the chancel. We had placed the crucifix there on ‘Good Friday’ as part of the Good Friday Service and
had dressed it in the symbols of the crucifixion- the nails, the crown of thorns etc. By Easter day, the crucifix had been
redressed with flowers in place of nails, a garland of flowers in place of the crown of thorns, all symbolising ‘new
life’ which is at the heart of the Easter message, that from the darkness of death, shone the new light of life.
In the coming weeks the Christian Church celebrates another great festival, the festival of Pentecost, (or Whitsunday) which
marks the gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples and the birth of the Church, again a time of rejoicing and celebration.
Traditionally there would have been Whitsunday festivals, walks and parties around the parishes and the communities would
come together again in joyful celebration. In Derbyshire there was, and in some parts there still is, the tradition of ‘Well
dressing’, when the wells in villages the common source of water so necessary for existence, would be dressed with flowers
to highlight the importance of water as a vital sustenance of life. Today we might take the availability of water very much
for granted, but without it nothing can grow, nothing can live, nothing can flourish.
So it is with the Christian life,
the Church cannot function without the gift of the Holy Spirit, that unseen power of God that breathes through it sustains
it and empowers it.
In the Book of Common Prayer, there is a wonderful prayer, the Collect for the 19th Sunday after
Trinity, which runs: “O God forasmuch as without thee, we are not able to please thee, mercifully grant that thy Holy
Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts. Through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
So as we look forward to,
to warmer weather, and hopefully a flaming June. Let us also hope that the power of the Holy Spirit may,(in all things), inflame
our hearts with love, joy and peace.
Rumblings -The Easter Sunrise Service and
Lessons from Scripture
"Then Jesus said to his disciples; "Let us go back to Judea." But
the disciples replied; "But Rabbi, a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you and yet you want to go back there!"
..... But Thomas, known as Didymus, said to the rest of the disciples; "Let us also go that we may die with him."
When the Rector told the gathering of the PCC that this year the Easter Day service
would be a Sunrise Service and that it would be at 8am there was silence. Then; "But last year we had the evening Vigil
Service." and "But what about families with children?" and "Why can't we have a normal Easter Day
service?" and ... so on. Then a lone voice; "Well, let us try it. Until we try it we won't know what it is like."
"A King prepared a wedding feast for his son and invited many guests. When
the feast had been prepared he sent his servants to summon the guests. But they all alike began to make excuses; "I have
just bought a field and I must visit it - please excuse me." and "I have just bought five yoke of oxen and I must
go and try them - please excuse me." and ... so on. Then the King sent his servants out into the country lanes and told
them to invite anyone that they could find so that the wedding hall might be full."
Then came the excuses; "We have family, friends and property elsewhere and we must visit them - so unfortunately
we shall be away for Easter." and "In view of Brexit we must make a last visit to France - just in case, you know.
So unfortunately we shall also be away for Easter - please excuse us." and ... so on.
"O ye of little faith!"
At 7:30am on
Easter Morning the Rector and Reader, both robed, sat in an empty church and contemplated the empty tomb - the Aumbry was
open and empty. Together they wondered if anyone would come, and if so, how many. One thought three might come, the other
thought four. Then just a few minutes before 8am they began to arrive. They came alone, in pairs and in families. They came
from neighbouring villages and from outlying homesteads. A grandmother came with her daughter and granddaughter, aged five,
and whose name, appropriately, was Martha and who insisted on wearing her Sunday dress. And on a glorious Spring morning
it was a joy to hear their voices fill the church; "Alleluia, Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia."
Filling the Christ shaped hole in the heart of
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