A monthly letter
The Hot Cross Buns and the Easter Eggs are all in the shops. Sadly, the daffodils are nearly over but I hope the primroses and wallflowers will still be out along with the tulips and cherry blossom. A garden features a lot in the Easter story. Mary Magdalene, when she went to the tomb in the garden where Jesus' body had been taken, met Jesus, but in her grief, and certainly not expecting to see Jesus alive, mistakenly thought that he must be the gardener. Not a bad mistake; in a book I have been reading about Easter, it suggests that in many ways that was what he was, a gardener of souls. The picture accompanying the last section of the book by Jane Williams, the theologian wife of our last Archbishop, was a beautiful Monet from the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. I went there last year but sadly I cannot remember seeing it. There were so many great works of art.
In the beginning of the Bible, God walked in the Garden of Eden, when all was new and perfect but then it was spoilt by the first people. Now Jesus can be seen as the new Adam through his sacrifice making it possible for all to join him in his kingdom. Easter morning makes me think of the freshness of a garden, as in the hymn “Morning has broken like the first morning.” It is in the creation section of the hymn book like that other wonderful hymn, “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder”, a Russian hymn apparently. However, my favourite hymn Easter hymn is “Now the green blade riseth”, a French tune this time. It too makes me think of new life coming out of grief and pain, made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus, God's own Son. Do look up the hymns and read the words.
Easter is very late this year, on 21st April. The latest it can be is the 24th. Hence, our Pancake Lunch is on Tuesday 5th March and Ash Wednesday the next day.
Because of this our Lent Course will start on Monday 11th. It will be held again in Mudford Village Hall, which worked well last year, in a smaller space, with about 20 people attending. Lent means growth and as we see spring burgeoning around us, it gives us a chance to grow our souls; details at the end of this letter.
As an aid to those who appreciate quiet or would like to learn to, there will be a service of Compline, or Night Prayer (not a healthy drink for the ill!) at 6 pm in Marston Magna Church each Friday evening of Lent. The ancient service of Compline is the last of the ‘offices’ said or sung in monasteries and convents before the monks and nuns enter into what is called the great Silence which lasts until the first service of the following day. When the first revision of the 1662 Prayer Book was made in 1928, this short, beautiful service was included. It has been revised again and offered in our new, or now not so new, Common Worship services. It is a very short service so if you can spare about 20 minutes do come and join me in Marston church.
January's WI meeting in Marston had a talk from the organiser of the Lord's Larder, the food bank which services Yeovil and its surrounding area. All three of our larger Churches support this work and have a box or a basket in church which is regularly emptied to a safe place. When there is a large enough contribution, the food etc. is taken to the Lord's Larder which operates from the Gateway Church in Yeovil. Churches are often open during the day and it is possible for anyone living in the villages to contribute if they wish. In Mudford, donations may also be made at the Thursday Cafe in the Village Hall.
The Food Bank seeks to help those who have nothing to tide them over, for whatever reason, until a payment of some kind is available to them. The Bank only responds to referrals from Social Services, Doctors, Citizens Advice and other bodies who know who is in desperate need for a short period. It can be argued that there should be no need to do this as the government should do it, but it is often delays in the payment of benefits that mean many people have no money for a short time. Rough sleepers are also helped; care is taken that they are given items that need no cooking and are not difficult to open. Special diets are also catered for, as are cats and dogs. Sometimes a church gives a monetary gift, perhaps at Harvest, and this can be used when stocks of something have run down and the items have to be bought. Obviously, tins etc. must be in date and home-
It was heartening to learn that at present there are sufficient volunteers to service the Bank. We have regular letters of thanks from the Lord's Larder and believe it is a simple thing for anyone to do to help those in the most need in our own country.
I must have had time on my hands this weekend and read the Church Times. As you may know the US government is experiencing a shutdown which has led thousands of government workers to have no pay. It is the American churches with their food banks who are helping these people now.
A basket of goodies was collected at the WI meeting and given to the
Thank you to all those who support this much needed project.