Lent began on Ash Wednesday, 22nd February (the first of the 40 days, excluding Sundays, leading up to Easter Sunday and the Resurrection). At a quiet evening service in Ss. Simon & Jude Church, Cockshutt, pared of all ornamentation and flowers, we celebrated Holy Communion, having had our foreheads marked with an ash cross accompanied by the words, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return”, Genesis 3:19. Thus, our Lenten pilgrimage had begun.
During this season of reflection and reassessment of our relationship with Christ, some of us joined with the Welshampton Methodists for a study of “Peace”, using Bible readings as the basis for much discussion and reflection.
It is fair to say that it was with quiet relief that when Mothering Sunday dawned on 19th March, we were able to give thanks for and celebrate, both our Mother Church and our Mothers, whilst quietly remembering those Mothers who are no longer with us.
And so we continued into Holy Week, the road we walk with Christ towards his crucifixion. It begins on the fifth Sunday of Lent with Palm Sunday, the bittersweet celebration of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, marred by the knowledge that within days he would be betrayed, arrested, put on trial and crucified, as told in the Liturgy of Bible readings. At St Michael & All Angels, Welshampton, the altar was draped in Red, the colour of Martyrdom and palm crosses distributed, in commemoration of the palm leaves strewn across the path that Christ travelled on the back of a donkey.
We met at St. John the Evangelist, Colemere, on Maundy Thursday, for the solemn and poignant commemoration of the Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet, the Last Supper and Jesus’ command, “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another”, (John 13:34) and finally, His agony, betrayal, and arrest, in the Garden of Gethsemane.
As the dark abyss of Good Friday afternoon descended upon us and we reflected on Jesus’ death, we met at Ss Raphael & Isidore, Petton, for a quiet and sombre Liturgy of Bible readings, choral music and prayers.
Finally, as Lent ended so Easter began and at sunrise on Easter Sunday, we gathered on Petton mound to greet the sunrise and declare, “Alleluia, Christ is Risen!” before dispersing to our own churches to continue the Resurrection celebrations.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the retired Priests who have willingly given their time to lead us through this Holy Season of Lent: Rev. Anne, Rev. John, Rev. Ian and Father Paul. Thank you!
Please remember, everyone is welcome at all services.
The feature image for this post shows worshippers from around the Benefice celebrating the dawn of Easter Morning on Petton Mound.