Towards Easter 2020

Easter has now passed….  For the latest on our online services (through zoom etc.), go to our ‘church services‘ page.

Alternatively, add your name to the  email list to keep updated on coming services –  contact : churchwarden.gmr@saintneot.church

EARLIER:

Dear all,

First and foremost, we hope that you are keeping well and warm and are able to use your day for good.

During the coming week we are able to offer the following to share, in a different way, moments of silence and prayer, together with an opportunity to gather ‘virtually’ for the daily sharing of Prayers at the end of The Day.

We are mindful that not everyone has access to a computer, and that a telephone call means a great deal.

Living through a prolonged ‘Holy Saturday’ from the Church of England website.
We have already become ‘a different sort of church’ in unprecedented ways. The very place in which the body of Christ finds its identity, offers prayer, and receives solace in time of crisis—that is, the church building—is not available to us, and, as in the early days of our faith, public gatherings of Christians outside the home are forbidden. Nevertheless, we are finding ways to join in prayer and intention; to cry ‘Abba, Father’; and to recognise we are all buried with Christ by baptism into his death, that we might walk in newness of life. The present situation does not negate the joy we have been granted in the resurrection, but it will be lived out this year in different ways.

Holy Week and Easter, in particular, will give us opportunities to reflect on all of these matters. In the annual commemoration of the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we explore who we are and our relationship to the God who loves us. We are enabled to realise, quite counterculturally, that everything that we have that is good is a gift, and not a right. Unlike God, we, as humans do not always have the answers.

We can reflect that, even in the hardest of times, even in the prolonged ‘Holy Saturday’ of emptiness in which we find ourselves, there is always hope. God, whose nature is mercy, sent his Son, who experienced the fullness of our own human suffering and makes all things new. We are still called upon to serve those within and beyond the church, and to care for the vulnerable. Our historic structures still place us at the heart of the community and indeed of public life. Those of us in the church are sometimes called upon to be spokespeople for our ecumenical partners and for those of other faiths who are experiencing similar difficulties to our own.

In these dark times, when it is not possible to recall the death and resurrection of Christ in our church buildings, we have the opportunity to mark Holy Week at home. We can discover how what we are now experiencing may contribute to our own ongoing journey as God’s people. The homes in which we now mainly find ourselves offer us a place in which our faith can be discovered afresh, where we can find ‘the Church within’. Some of the suggested activities nod in that direction. In the renewed hope that will come from remembering the story of our salvation, we hope that all the faithful will experience the genuine, unreserved joy of Easter.

During next week, Holy Week, we are able to offer the following:

A phone call to those for whom we have a telephone number. If we do not have your telephone number and would like a call, do please let us know.

On Sunday, Palm Sunday
If you access our website you will be able to listen to a dramatic reading of the Palm Sunday Gospel.
Additionally, you will find there prayers for Palm Sunday and a short reflection.
The Gospel reading, should you wish to follow it can be found here:
http://www.oremus.org/liturgy/lhwe/matthew.html

Palm Crosses will be available in the Church yard, at both churches in the benefic – St Neot and warlegaan- on the ground opposite the church door. These crosses will have been blessed – set aside for Holy purpose – and scattered on the ground.

HOWEVER, Consider making your own ‘palm’ cross out of paper or card this video may help https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfZaD1iSeP8  or this one……
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UouKwRVxW_Q .

Families/households: make your own cross out of paper or card, and blu-tack to a window for passers by to see too!

The prayer over the cross is this:

God our Saviour,
whose Son Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem as Messiah to suffer and to die;
let these palms be for us signs of his victory
and grant that we who bear them in his name
may ever hail him as our King,
and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

At 6.00pm on Palm Sunday and throughout Holy Week
We will share prayers at the end of the day, called Night Prayer, using an App called Zoom.  To join in this adventure in prayer you will need to download the App Zoom. It is very easy to do and to install and to use, but trial it before Sunday so that you can indeed join in.

At 6.00pm throughout Holy Week we will use Zoom to share prayers and a short time of silence. Everyone is welcome to join us.

We will use ‘Night Prayer’, which can be found on the Church of England ‘Daily Prayer’ app (via the Apple App Store or Google Play) or alternatively can be found here:
https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer . You will need to download the text, or have it ready on a separate device (phone or ipad) if you wish to follow it and join in. If you have trouble using this link, just Google: ‘ChurchofEngland daily prayer’ .

Holy Week material.
For those of you looking for something to use daily throughout Holy Week, we will email you a copy of daily reflections, readings and prayers. This material was prepared by Philip’s brother in law, The Revd. Dr. Robert Bull for use this year, in a parish local to where he lives, and which has been adapted for use in our homes.

Good Friday
We are planning to offer some resources and activity for Good Friday. These will be circulated next week. In the meantime, those of you at home with children, or who have grandchildren stuck indoors somewhere, why not construct a simple Easter garden depicting the hill at Calvary, with three crosses and the tomb with a stone covering the entrance. If you want some help to get started, have a look at this; https://request.org.uk/restart/2017/02/23/make-an-easter-garden/.

We hope that you are not overwhelmed both by the events that unfold each day and by the length and content of this email. Indeed we look forward to sharing these things with you in your home and hope you will join us for some, or all of these moments to worship, to pray and to be still, together.

The Revd. Philip Biggs & The Revd Ian Wheatley