Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It's been a quiet week

at Church in the Valley.
On Monday, 6 of us gathered in the Lady Chapel for an Iona Eucharist. Hugger Steward & I had gone overboard with tea lights & fairy lights & there was lots and lots of beautiful silence. Such a good place to begin our journey towards the cross.
I found myself almost unable to continue as I read those searingly honest words from the Prayer of Consecration
"our hands are empty, our hearts are sometimes full of wrong things"
Every time, something in liturgy from Iona forces me to halt, to really hear the words I am saying. That's not a comfortable process - but it's a good one.

Tuesday, we walked the stations of the cross - such a small group that I worried that Jesus might feel lonely. When I was a child, I was much perturbed by the huge crucifix outside Christ Church, St Leonards-on-Sea
"Is it nothing to you, all you that pass by?" it enquired as we chugged past on the 76 bus - and I always hated that sense of dersertion, of nobody seeing the depths of His pain. Last night, as a bare handful followed the via dolorosa, those feelings re-awakened. Each year in Holy Week I try vainly to protect Jesus, in all his frail humanity, from what lies ahead...last night I worried that we were adding to the hurt. Station 3 of Experoence Easter focussed on Christ's loneliness in the garden, inviting the children to make models to remember times when they had felt alone or afraid. Being the children they are, they made even their fears rather beautiful - an unexpected bloom in the garden. As a handful of families walked the trail on Saturday, another mum and I agreed that our worst fear was of leaving our children - that our failure to feel OK about trusting those beloved offspring to a world without us was a distressing indicator of the state of our faith. But our God knows about feeling alone - so maybe it will be alright.

Tonight was Tenebrae - which I loved. The same small nucleus, joined by just a few more, we gathered by the high altar. As we shared the Passion narrative together the darkness grew & shadows lengthened. In a kind of mirror image of the Holy Saturday Vigil, we sat listening to stories in a dark that increased as each candle was extinguished...I took the Christ candle out as the Dufflepud read the last words from the cross
Eli, eli, lamma sabacthani.
Hiding in the vestry all was quiet til I banged a metal tray relentlessly...
Earthquakes, the veil of the Temple rent asunder, graves giving up their dead. Then the Christ light returned & we heard once again of Isaiah's Suffering Servant
"Surely he has bourne our grief and carried our sorrows".

Maybe not such a quiet week for we who have been there.


Songbird said...

No, not quiet at all, so much happening.

Graham said...

Thank you for your calm thoughtfulness.

I just read this after coming downstairs and saying to my wife that 'I wish Easter didn't feel like such a production line.'

Your article got me back to where I need to be.

Thank you