As always, Holy week was a busy time for churches everywhere and the churches in Scarisbrick were no exception.
Reflective services were held at 7.00 p.m. at The Good Shepherd Mission on Monday and Wednesday, and at Bescar Lane Methodist Church on Tuesday and Thursday. These culminated in us partaking in Holy Communion as we remembered The Last Supper, and then sharing Christ’s torment, in The Garden of Gethsemene, as he prayed to His Father whilst awaiting the betrayal of Judas.
On Good Friday we had another very moving service at the Good Shepherd Mission. This service was an effective balance of readings, silences and music, interspersed with guidance from the leader, Andy. During the course of the service Andy, dressed in black, reminded us of the Advent candles we had lit in the run up to Christmas which symbolised the hope, peace, joy and love which we were given when Jesus, “The Light of the World”, was born.
As the service progressed these candles were gradually extinguished one by one. As “The Light of the World” died, hope, peace. Joy and love were snuffed out too. We were also invited to come forward and blow out a symbolic candle of our own to reinforce this notion.
We left the church in silence and in a somber mood.
On Saturday, 31st March, the mood changed when Eileen, dressed in white, married Pam and Peter at St. Mark’s!
(I’m sure that everyone at St. Mark’s wishes them well and prays that they will be happy together for many years to come.)
Finally Easter Sunday dawned!
“Alleluia! Christ is risen.”
Soon after the service began, Eileen blessed the Easter Candle and lit it saying “May the light of Christ, rising in Glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds”
During the service we renewed our baptism vows so that, “as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, we remember, through the paschal mystery, we have died and been buried with him in baptism, so that we may rise with him to a new life within the family of the Church”.
During her talk Eileen reminded us of the women who visited the tomb to anoint the body of their beloved Jesus; and how stunned they were to find the tomb not only open but empty of the body! To emphasise this, she distributed some little Easter eggs amongst the congregation. We were all exited to get a chocolate but when we opened them some of us found not a chocolate inside – but a grape! Not at all what we expected!
Next she asked for a volunteer to come forward and hold a glass bowl. She then held up an egg and asked him whether she thought this was a proper chocolate Easter egg. It looked as if Michael was already suspicious, as she had to push him to give an answer! Eventually, he conceded, “yes”! At which point Eileen cracked the “chocolate” egg on the side of the bowl to drop the yolk and albumen of a real egg into it! [Mike had been right to be suspicious!]
Later, as she relit the candles of the Advent wreath, Eileen explained that Christ rising from the dead had rekindled the lights of hope, peace, joy and love.
As the time came to exchange the peace, Eileen invited a somewhat bemused Libby up, to demonstrate, to those who didn’t know, how it should be done!
Holy Communion was then celebrated and after the post communion prayer, Eileen reiterated,
“Christ has risen”
to which we all replied,
“He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!”