Today is Maundy Thursday and normally I would be leading a service of Holy Communion tonight as we remember the events of the Last Supper. This meal Jesus shared with his disciples is the beginning of a very emotional weekend in the life of the church as we remember that the Last Supper leads into the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, then the fear of Jesus’ arrest, the pain of Good Friday, the emptiness of Holy Saturday and then the joy of Easter Sunday.
During this lock-down period, maybe you too are feeling some of those emotions or maybe even the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter or the grief of the women who went to Jesus’ tomb. However we are feeling at this time, know that Jesus understands. That he too experienced all the trials of life and is with us throughout this weekend. Maybe we can take time in the next few days to look more deeply at one part of the Easter story, a part which we can relate to the emotion of, and see what we can learn from Jesus.
It is OK to feel sad, fed up, lonely, angry or scared, especially at this time, but don’t forget you are not alone. Your church family are here for you, and together we can celebrate the overriding message of Easter. Easter carries the message of love and of hope and of joy – not a glib happiness, but the deep down joy of knowing that God is with us and if God is with us, who can be against us. He is walking beside us stretching out his hand, to help us on our way. Easter is a message of hope, for us as individuals, and for our world.
So I hope and pray that as we see Easter in a different light this year, that we will still hold on to the hope of Eternal Life, hold on to the victory of good over evil and celebrate the message of love which Jesus brings.
Each day this week, one or more of the circuit staff have recorded a reflection, based on a passage from Matthew’s version of the Easter story. Deacon Ellen has done one for today looking at the Last Supper and Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, and Rev Graham Cutler has also done one for today looking at the Garden of Gethsemane. I have recorded one for tomorrow (Good Friday) looking at the crucifixion, but from the perspective of Peter denying knowing Jesus. These can all be found on www.youtube.com. Search for the “Chorley and Leyland Methodist Circuit” and you will find all the different reflections there and also the services from Passion Sunday and Palm Sunday if you missed them.
As well as my reflection, Churches Together in Leyland have produced a service which is going out on Radio Leyland at 10am, why not tune in to 104.8fm. Graham Cutler (minister at Hillside) has also recorded an Ecumenical worship for Good Friday which will also be on our YouTube page.
We have our circuit Easter Sunday service on Facebook live at 10.30am, and this will also be on the Youtube page if you don’t have Facebook and want to watch it at the same time.
Every Sunday evening the District are hosting a Zoom worship at 7pm. You need to sign up to this if you want to join in. Details can be found on the Lancashire district website: www.lancashiremethodist.org.uk
Don’t forget the Sunday services on the radio and Songs of Praise, but if you prefer the written word, then attached is a resource for Sunday which you can print off and use in your own worship time.
Last week we started our very own “Meals on Wheels” and 12 people had a hot meal delivered to them on Wednesday. Next week Anne is making Cottage pie, so if you would like to sign up for a hot meal each Wednesday, then please let either myself or Anne Baker know. The meal will be delivered between 12.30 -1.30pm and they are free. If you would like to give a donation, that will always be gratefully received (in a sealed envelope) but please don’t feel that you have to.
Sadly, I have been asked to lead three funerals in the next two weeks. All three people have had a connection with our church at some point in their lives. I know that family funerals are never easy, but it is an especially difficult time to have a funeral at the moment because of the current restrictions. So I know you will want to hold the families of Margaret Pearsall, Marjorie Doige and Leslie Harrison in your prayers. We remember Phil Gough and his family too as his mother passed away last Sunday.
Don’t forget that you are not alone during this time of isolation and lock-down. We are here to help – any thing you need, please just get in touch. And on behalf of us all, can I say a big Thank you to those of you who are still working to keep us safe and supply us with all we need at this time.
Easter Blessings to you all