Dear fellow pilgrims,
Thank you all for your responses and contributions of thing that we might share together in these days. I shall certainly send some, out at hopefully a manageable volume.
I’m pleased to report that it seems no one on our mailing list is displaying symptoms of the virus, though some have colds or other common ailments which haven’t let us alone even in lock down! We can be thankful that Wiltshire as a whole has low reported numbers, and even more that people are behaving very responsibly and thoughtfully in our county.
I was sent a little shared message that began, “Am I the only one who is NOT coping…..?” and I’m conscious that we can feel duty-bound to say “I’m fine”, even when we’re not. So two things: firstly, it’s not a sign of selfishness or weakness to feel anxiety or panic in the face of something so unknown and uncharted. We’re hard-wired to have heightened emotions in the face of danger or threat, and these are fundamental human responses that we should not feel guilty or ashamed about. Secondly, there are good things we can do to help – talking honestly with someone about how you really feel is the most helpful, and there are relaxation techniques and meditations that can be very effective against anxiety. You can get in touch with me in complete confidentiality if you would like some help.
Another good suggestion is to find something creative to do, and it prompted me to think around Palm Sunday and Easter. So here’s my latest plan:
Our palm crosses are sitting in the vestry and will have to stay there, so this is going to be the year that you made your own “palm” cross!!! This is the link to a YouTube video.
But be ready to press the pause and rewind buttons – it takes a while to get the hang of it!
You might be able to access some pampas grass or similar, but really you can make it with a couple of long strips of paper, perhaps ½ inch wide. Four strips from A4 card or paper, sellotaped into two long ones would work, and you could decorate them before folding. You might try ribbon – but only if you have a patience threshold that is way higher than mine.
I suggest that, if you would like to join in the 10am time of worship on Palm Sunday (I’ll be sending out material soon), we keep it as a “fellowship meal”. Put some bread and a glass of water, juice or wine on your table, with your palm cross. Follow the prayers and readings we’ll send you, up until the Peace. Share the words of the Peace thinking of our church family. Sing or say the hymn we’ll all have. Then we can “break bread together”. This is not the sacrament of holy communion, which can only be celebrated when we’re back together again, but it is an affirmation of our sharing together and receiving God’s grace in a spiritual way in this crisis. Take some bread and a drink and picture being together at “the feast at Christ’s table in his Kingdom”.
In much the same way, I’d like to suggest we each make an Easter Garden! This could simply be a picture or a drawing, or you might want to start collecting twigs, stones and moss on your daily walk and get creating…
The ingredients are: a tomb with a stone rolled away (flower pot and drinks coaster?) a cross with a white cloth draped on it (two twigs stuck in half a potato?) some flowers and a green garden.
More nearer the time, but I’m picturing each of us with our Easter garden on the table, with some bread and a glass, a candle – to light when we say “Christ is risen!” and a bell (bicycle bell, crystal glass and spoon?) to ring when we say the Gloria. Then we can say with full conviction “As we are gathered, Jesus is here!”
A very different Easter from what we would wish, with our beautiful church building alive with flowers and banners and light, but at least we can make it an Easter to remember as being special in the best way we can!
And finally… take a photo of your “Easter in Adversity” garden and table, so that we can share them online – and put them on the noticeboard in church when we are back!
Love and prayers