Once again this year, people from St. Mark’s joined our Methodist friends, at Bescar Lane Methodist Church. We gathered on Maundy Thursday, at 7.00 p.m., for what was described as a “Seder Meal”. The service, which took place around a table, enabled us to understand a little more about the roots of our faith – specifically the origins of the Passover meal.
As well as sharing prayers, hymns and Bible readings, throughout the service we shared food and drink and engaged in ceremonial washing. [The cups were filled with grape juice.]
Our ”First Cup” [Kadesh] symbolised the promise God made to Israel to take them out of Egypt. We were asked to drink this whilst leaning to the left.
We then indulged in “Ceremonial hand washing” [Urcatz].
Then came “Dipping the vegetables” [Karpas]. This saw us dipping parsley in small bowls of salt water. As the water fell off the parsley we remembered the tears of the slaves in Egypt. We thought about tears shed at Jesus’ death too and also of modern slavery and trafficking.
We then broke and ate the Matzah [Yachatz] – the bread of affliction that the Israelites ate in the land of Egypt. We also remembered that Jesus had said, “I am the bread of life ….”. At the same time we remembered those who are still in need – living in the darkness of oppression, hunger and disaster.
Before we went on to eat the Passover meal we heard the Passover Story [Maggid].
We then drank the second cup, remembering the Passover lamb and the blood that Jesus shed for us, before further ceremonial washing [Rachtzah]. We then ate the unleavened bread [Matzot- Motzi Matzah] and bitter herbs [Maror] which in our case were savory biscuit and lettuce dipped in horseradish sauce. These were to remind us of the flight from Egypt and the sorrow and persecution of the slaves in Egypt. In fact we ate these as a Hillel Sandwich [Korech] made with the bitter herbs at one end and the sweeter ”Charoset” (apple) at the other. As we ate our Passover meal [Shulchan Orech], which included the Passover lamb, we talked about or preparations for Easter and what God has done for us.
After the meal there was a blessing [Barech] and a third cup, the cup of redemption. This was followed by further prayers of thanks and praise before the final cup of redemption.
Overall the service was both interesting and moving if, at times, rather confusing!
It was a good preparation for Good Friday and Easter, which followed.
The Good Friday Meditation took place at The Good Shepherd Mission at 10.00 a.m. The service was very emotional. Andy led the service and Eileen read out a meditation by a woman called Hilary Faith Jones, about one of the robbers and his experience both of the crucifixion and Jesus. It was so moving that Eileen could hardly read the end and by then nearly everyone was in tears.
Then on Sunday we reached the joyous celebration for Easter.
Alleluia He is risen.
He is risen indeed!
At 9.30 a.m. there was a communion service at The Good Shepherd Mission. It has to be said that some of the singing had something to be desired but it was all sung in good faith, which is the critical thing.
Eileen spoke about “New life” and “New beginnings”.
When, at one point during the service, Eileen asked for two “big boys” to help her, the two smallest boys in the church dashed forward enthusiastically!
They were then asked to distribute little Easter eggs to everyone in the congregation with the warning, “Don’t let anyone take more than one or there won’t be enough left for you!”. Thus we were all strictly rationed!
There was another Easter communion service at St. Mark’s.
Here Erin had kindly made a butterfly shaped cake, which she brought to share with the congregation on Easter day. At Eileen’s request she brought it to the front of church to show everybody! Erin explained that originally it had three chickens but one had blown off as they were crossing the road. This led to much amusement and bad jokes about chickens crossing roads!
However, everyone admired the cake and Eileen commented on how appropriate the butterfly was as a sign of new life and new beginnings, which were to be the themes of the service.
BIG THANK YOU to
for the delicious cake,
for the photos at St. Mark’s,
for the photo at the Good Shepherd Mission.