From St Edmund’s parish church, March 2016
I love buying little bits and pieces which probably are just clutter, and not worth a great deal, I just like things which are a bit unusual. The other week I bought a “Campaign chair” a portable armchair which folds up and can be easily carried around. The style looks as if it could have been used during the Boer War, though I’m guessing it isn’t as old as that. In fact when I first saw it for sale I didn’t realised it did fold up, but having made the discovery I thought how useful it would be when an extra seat is required at the Vicarage for a study group.
When I was in Sussex I had a retired priest colleague called Father Reg, he always came to the Eucharist on a Tuesday rather than a Sunday as he had a wife who lived with Alzheimer’s and was also physically very poorly. One of our parishioners used to sit with her so Fr Reg could go out occasionally. After her death he continued to worship on a Tuesday and found himself free to go out and about on Sunday. But one Tuesday he wasn’t in church. A couple of days later he phoned me to tell me, that like “a wandering Aramean he had rolled up his tent and moved on.” He and his wife had been living in retirement in Littlehampton in a bungalow belonging to his wife’s niece. As he had got to the age of 88 and widowed he decided to take himself into a clergy retirement home, and so with only a few possessions to call his own (he had been a missionary in India for almost all of his active ministry) he moved to Worthing. However a few months later he once again ‘rolled up his tent’ and came back to us as communal life in a house of other retired clergy drove him to distraction.
We shall be celebrating Easter towards the end of the month, and it reminds us, if we need reminding, that life isn’t permanent and we are always moving on. After the death on the cross Jesus returned to his friends and disciples, showing us that death does not have the last word, showing us that life with God continues through and beyond death; but that Easter life, is a new life, totally brand new, Jesus was raised to new life, he wasn’t resuscitated to the old life. In the course of a life time I haven’t met that many people like Fr Reg who was quite happy to roll up his tent and move on; most of us, regardless of what we believe, become attached to the things of earth. I might have just bought a very portable armchair but I have a house full of clutter, bits and pieces, and shelves full of books. Yet deep down I know that Fr Reg’s attitude is a real living out of the Easter faith, ready and above all content to move on. The day will come to all of us when we have to ‘roll up our tent and move on.’ None of us can get out of it.
So how ready are we to do just that? Believing that Jesus, the God of Easter will come to us, as he went back to his disciples, and will ask us to go forward with him and leave behind all we’ve collected in life? An adventure with him into God’s closer presence. When we come to the boundary of this life we step forward into resurrection life which will be something new and glorious, not an imitation or repetition of this life.
With Prayers and good wishes for a glorious Easter, your parish priest and pastor,
Father John, Vicar of Hunstanton St Edmund and Ringstead St Andrew. Tel 01485 532531
Mothering Sunday, March 6th: 4pm Bring and Share Tea followed by a simple act of worship in St Edmund’s church hall
Worship for Holy Week which begin on Palm Sunday March 20th:
Monday, 21st and Tuesday, 22nd: 7pm Eucharist in St Edmund’s
Wednesday, 23rd: 10.30am Eucharist
Maundy Thursday, 24th: 10am Eucharist at Ringstead & 7.30pm Eucharist of the Last Supper at St Edmund’s
Good Friday, 25th: Liturgy of the Passion, 10am at Ringstead & 3pm at St Edmund’s
Easter Eve, 26th: [Decoration of the church for Easter at 9.45am to which everyone is welcome to come and decorate the church] 8pm The Easter Vigil at St Edmund’s
Easter Sunday, 27th: Parish Eucharist 9am at Ringstead & 10.30am at St Edmund’s. 5pm Evening Prayer at St Edmund’s