Working on the calendar that includes this part of Holy Week as Lent, this may be the final Lent Blog.
This week has been exhausting, but also very engaging. Following a busy Palm Sunday - 8,10,baptisms @12,confirmation class and choral evensong, we launched into Holy Week. Monday-Wednesday were simple communion services, featuring meditations on characters from the passion story led by Sue. We sat together around the communion table, and as a visual focus we borrowed the 'rugged cross' from St Martin's Chapel at University of Cumbria, Lancaster. It was a different experience for all of us, as that kind of meditation hadn't been used in a communion before, and the communions had had a homily in previous years. Congregations were good - ranging between 24 & 28, which is encouraging.
Maundy Thursday was a new challenge for me - I had to wash feet for the first time. I realised that all my previous experience of Maundy Thursday had either focussed on the initiation of communion by Jesus, or had tried to capture something of Passover. This was the first time I had got on my knees to recall the 'mandatum novum' - the new commandment to love one another as Jesus had loved us. I felt strangely nervous beforehand, but it was a very good experience. Afterwards we stripped the sanctuary and just left the rugged cross bare in the centre.
Good Friday had two very different acts of worship - an all-age service, which featured a trial of some characters around the Good Friday story, and then this afternoon, we spent a couple of hours thinking and praying through the seven things Jesus said from the cross. Risked a bit of Peter Gabriel at the end - not sure what everyone made of it, but they are generous people who indulge me!
One or two folks wanted to know what the music was, so here's the list:
1) Benedictus from The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins (faded out at about 5:15 before it gets v loud)
2) Main Theme from Schindler's List (RPO)
3) Adagio for Strings by Barber. I used a rare version, where it is played by a string quartet. Much more emotional, but also more bare and appropriate.
4) Requiem aeternum from Rutter's Requiem.
5) Father, Son by Peter Gabriel.
There were also a couple of Good Friday hymns in the mix for congregational participation.
Completely washed out now, so resting up ready for 6-30am Sunday morning on the Prom.