Dear St Raphael friends,
I hope that you and those you love have been keeping well this week. You are of course, always in my prayers, and since it is Friday, I would like to ask you if any of you or those you love would like to be included in our written prayers for Sunday? If you could let me know any names by tomorrow morning that would be most helpful – thank you.
You will receive a written order of service and reflection this week as usual. Could I put out my usual plea for those of you who are able to leave your house to pop a paper copy through the door of any congregation members who are not on email please? It may be, that this week for those of you who wish to engage in this way, that there will also be a YouTube video up of me and the family participating in the service that you can join in with, with your orders of service at 10am on Sunday. I say “may be” because I am not making any promises that I can get it to work satisfactorily! I realise that YouTube is not going to suit everyone, so be assured that if you choose to read the order of service quietly in your home, you will still be joining in with the worship of the whole Church.
Plans for Holy Week.
Our Holy Week will look very different this year. Some will miss the regular round of services in Church that help us to walk with Jesus in the last week of his life. For others, the restrained circumstances in which we find ourselves may offer an opportunity to keep Holy Week more fully that we have previously managed.
DIY Holy Week Perhaps some of you would like to make an Easter Garden in your own gardens or homes this week, or create a piece of art? If you do this, it would be wonderful if you would like to send a photo through to share it with the congregation.
For those of you with children or grandchildren at home, you might like to act out some of the stories from Holy Week – I can send you the relevant stories from the Lion Storyteller Bible if you send me a message. You can also buy great Easter crafts from “Baker Ross” on line to help children to reflect on the stories.
Palm Sunday 10am we will be worshipping together as usual. This will be a slightly more “all age” feel to the worship. All being well, you may be able to also follow this on YouTube and join in with the songs – if not, then feel free to sing in your own homes! You might like to bring in a branch from the garden for this service or make a Palm cross for it to be blessed during the service.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday you will receive a reading and prayer for the day.
Maundy Thursday: The Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane – John will provide some vigil material for you to use at home in the evening.
Good Friday I will be directing you to listen to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Good Friday address and sending you a link to some music to help you reflect.
Easter Sunday We will join together in worship at 10am as is becoming usual. You will receive an order of service and reflection, and hopefully a link to our YouTube video from home. Normally this service would, of course, be a communion service. This is something we are all missing, and we look forwards to the day when we can share the bread and wine together again. Although in theory I could consecrate bread and wine and share it with my family, I want to let you know that, like many Priests and Bishops (including Bishop Nick), we will be keeping a “eucharistic fast” with you until we can all join together again. Our Easter service will be instead what is called a “spiritual communion” where we celebrate Christ’s resurrection and remember that we are one with all those other members of Christ’s body – those who celebrate now in either their own homes or in Churches around the world, and those Christian Saints who have worshipped down the ages. We look forwards to the time when we can share in the holy meal together again, but in the meantime we rejoice that we are in communion with God and with one another right now by his Spirit.
I will be in touch about Palm Sunday tomorrow – in the meantime, please do send me your prayer requests.