He Is Risen

Happy Easter one and all.

Have had a good few days since I last posted, well, weeks really, since I last posted a proper post type post. Anyway. This week has been busy one way or another, have been at work all week, and had church most evenings, which has been lovely. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we had shared services with the neighbouring United Reformed Church. Each evening we had a talk, given by the vicar, and compline (Monday and Tuesday) and an evening of Iona community type prayer at the URC church on the Wednesday. It was great to go to another church for an evening. On the Maundy Thursday evening there was another talk, followed by a foot-washing, then communion. Several people went up to get their feet washed, and watching the vicar doing it was really moving in a way, more-so than I thought it would be (never having been to a Maundy Thursday service before), and at one point, one lady whose feet the vicar washed, then got the vicar to sit down, and washed his feet.

Unfortunately, I was required to work on Good Friday, so missed the services then, but was able to go to the Easter Vigil on Saturday night. I think that of all the services I have been to, through this last year or so since I returned to The Church, the Easter Vigil is my favourite. Starting out in the church , in silence and with no light, then lighting the fire outside, then the Paschal candle from the fire, and processing back into church. Then as the candle is processed down the church all the candles being lit, and spreading light as it goes, is, I think, as close to magic as it is possible to get.

When we were all sat in the darkness and silence at the beginning, dusk was falling outside, and as such, all the birds were singing, as I closed my eyes to think, it was almost as if I was in front of the tomb, waiting and expectant, everything silent and still before dawn, and the birds singing it was like they were sat in trees and bushes there singing before the dawn and the start of a new day. It was really wonderful.

The seven readings were given by candlelight, and when the vicar came down to read the Gospel, with the incense billowing (and boy did it billow) and everyones face lit by the candles with the smoke wreathing around, you could be anywhere in time. Lovely.  We also were able to renew our baptism vows ourselves by going up and dipping our fingers in the water and putting a cross on our foreheads with it. Again I found that incredibly moving, whether it was because I still had the memory of being baptised very recently in my head, or what, I don't know, but when it dipped my fingers in I was surprised by the fact that it was so warm, fully expecting it to be cold, the only thing I could think of was that it was like blood, which I suppose, in one manner it was. When I went and returned to my seat, I really had to stop and have a good think about it. Then we had communion, and it reminded me of the first time I took communion, after I had been baptised and confirmed in January. Lent and Easter have really made me think about things this year, but I think that that it is supposed to do that, so I shouldn't really be too surprised.

As we walked out from the church, somewhere close by began letting off fireworks and put on a wonderful display. I don't know whether another church was using them to celebrate Easter I don't know, but they seemed very fitting at the time. 

One thing that I couldn't quite understand was how few people had gone to it, 20 I think, including the vicar etc. During the week at the services there had been at least twice as many, with different ones coming on different evenings, whether the word vigil put them off, I'm not sure,  although I know whenever I hear the word otherwise, it does make me think of a bedside vigil, a very sombre and sad affair, nothing like the service at all. Never mind.

On to today now. As I was working this morning I missed the service at town church, but went to the evening Easter service at the country church. The church was much fuller than usual, which wasn't unexpected. Another really lovely service, and yet again moving. One man stood up to read from Acts 10.34 -43 but he couldn't contain his emotions and said the last few sentences with tears running down his face and trying so hard not to break down, he was so moved by the words he was reading. It was almost more than the rest of us could do to not cry. The rest of the service passed, and it was time to go home.

I cant remember whether I had mentioned or not about the fact that I was really uncertain about what I should be doing, or rather I did more or less know, just that I wasn't really willing to trust and have faith. Well finally I plucked up enough courage to ask the vicar whether it would be possible to have another talk with him about things, try to make sense of it a bit, and explain myself a little more. When I spoke to him last June, I still wasn't certain what the heck was going on really, and while I still don't have much of a clue to it all, it seems to make a bit more sense, and I think I am able to explain myself, or how I feel. I think I know myself a bit better too, which I hope is a good thing. Anyway I rang the vicar up on Maundy Thursday and asked if it would be possible to have a chat yes he said, what about today? It must have been about four in the afternoon when I rang, with a service at 7:30, and me not finishing work till seven, I didn't think that was going to be possible, but how sweet that he was willing to at such short notice. He is away on holiday for a week now, and he said to remind him about it, so will talk in a couple of weeks. Which I look forward to.

The other thing I had been struggling with was that however wonderful and lovely, kind and patient MLO has been with me, when I have been talking to him about how I feel, and trying to put into words something that sometimes seems impossible to put into words, I really felt that I needed to talk to someone who felt the same, someone who felt that they may have been called to become a vicar. It was really getting at me,  I just wanted to discuss with someone the way I felt and listen to how they felt, maybe get some sort of a gauge as to what was normal, for them anyway, and if it in anyway resembled how I felt. I had been praying about it for a while, and said to MLO several times that it was getting to me. Then a woman who had been to a couple of the confirmation classes with the rest of us, who usually goes to the morning church, started to come to the evening church, and last week we got talking after the service, and somehow ended up discovering that she also wanted to be a vicar, somehow she then also worked out that I did also. Spoke again for an hour after church tonight about things. So, one ecstatically happy bunny here, have arranged to have a real good talk next Sunday after church, really looking forward to it.

Must go now, getting very late, and cold in the study, so night night, and once again


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What would you do in heaven? said...

It's beautiful how you described your activities in waiting for the risen Lord. I could almost sense the peace of the place, the sacredness. Be blessed!

FullOfHopeAndJoy said...

Thank you so much for your comment.
Each time I have been to the Easter vigil at our church (only twice) it has been an amazing and extremely spiritual experience, although I am only speaking for myself here. Still, I cannot imagine anyone not being moved by it. It does help however, in that the vicar is an extremely spiritual man (what I have seen and heard anyway), and I think that really helps in setting a right atmosphere (not quite the right word, but I can't think of a better one right now).
Once again, many thanks, and many blessing your way.

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Herefordshire, United Kingdom
Born in 1975 in Brixham, in glorious Devon. Spent most of my youth in grimy birmingham. As soon as i was able at 18 I moved to beautiful Herefordshire. Where i remain to this day. Work at Locks Garage, famous for our ice creams. Generally wonderful place.
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