For the youngsters attending the Children’s Sunday Club at St. James’, Palm Sunday was very exciting.
A tale about a donkey, carrying a King pursued by crowds of followers shouting ‘Hosanna!’ was most intriguing.
In addition to this, crafting some gift boxes, fit for His Majesty and receiving a Holy Week bag bursting with ‘things to do’ as we journey through the next few days, helped the little ones understand that this was indeed, a special day.
For the grown-ups attending the Palm Sunday service, a well-documented story, familiar palm crosses and hymns, plus a close examination of what it means to be a servant king, added another layer of learning to the start of Holy Week.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you; righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
A Prayer for the day:
True and humble king,
hailed by the crowd as Messiah:
grant us the faith to know you
and love you,
that we may be found beside you
on the way of the cross,
which is the path of glory.
Maundy Thursday’s Agape
The Last Supper of Jesus Christ was commemorated in Scripture readings, song, a shared Passover style meal and of course, Holy Communion.
A candlelit church, a bare wooden cross and a pensive congregation were visible signs of the solemn occasion. Those gathered, listened intently to the words of the Old and New Testament readings before retiring from the church to enjoy a simple Passover style meal of shepherd’s pie. The words from Exodus 12 were still fresh in their minds:
“This is the way you must eat it: you must be fully dressed, as if you were going on a trip.
You must have your sandals on and your walking stick in your hand. You must eat in a hurry; this is the Lord’s Passover.”
Following a return to church, Rev. Dyllis washed the feet of Sue in a moving re-enactment of Jesus’ example. A shared Holy Communion preceded the stripping of the altar and the opportunity for the congregation to keep a silent vigil on this holy night.
The journey continued into Good Friday…
Good Friday’s Meditation and Prayer
Six readings recounting the Passion from St. John’s Gospel were interspersed with choral pieces, familiar hymns and periods of silence for individual meditation and prayer in the Good Friday service.
A sombre atmosphere, respectful periods of quiet, and ethereal music took the congregation though the harrowing events of Jesus’ last day, to the point of crucifixion. Those gathered, were dismissed at the end of the service following the hymn, ‘My Song is Love Unknown.’
Onwards to Easter Day…
Dawn Communion at the Amenity Area, Pilling
As the first streaks of light broke through the shadowy night sky, some members of St. James’ church gathered alongside those from other Christian Over Wyre churches to celebrate Easter Day.
At the foot of the cross, and by the side of a blazing fire, the faithful came together to celebrate Communion in the presence of Jesus, our risen Lord.
Reminiscent of Jesus’ followers over two thousand years ago in the eating of bread and fish, the congregation also sang joyful Easter hymns of renewal, affirming their faith in the Resurrection.
The transition from darkness to light and from death to new life, could not have been clearer.
And so to the Easter Day Holy Communion Service…
Family Holy Communion
The church of St. James’ looked resplendent in all its Easter glory.
Bedecked in golden hues, with abundant seasonal flowers and a lily-strewn cross draped in white fabric, the austerity of Good Friday was banished, and replaced with opulence.
The lighting of the Paschal candle provided a visual sign of renewal. Readings and music were celebratory in tone, reminding us all of the triumph of love over death.
The youngsters enjoyed an Easter egg hunt and an Easter story treasure trail while the adults offered their ‘Jars of Change’ in support of Water Aid.
At the conclusion of this family Communion service, everyone left with hope and joy in their hearts.
In the words of Fr. Peter,
“Easter brings joy to the whole world. That joy is ours as we meet with Jesus in friendship, in the reading of his holy word and supremely in Holy Communion.”
“Thine be the glory
Risen, conquering Son;
Endless is the victory
Thou o’er death hast won.