Sunday, 20 March 2016

Pause In Lent #6

 The other week I was preaching at St Martins URC, in West Moors. This is the friendly little chapel a few miles up the road, where UCF was involved in the Christmas Tree Festival last December.
At the start of the service, the congregation joined in with the next stage of their Lenten Cross Liturgy.

I had not come across this before. After Christmas, the church tree [a real one] was stripped, and a cross made from the trunk and a strong branch. It was placed at the front of the church.
Each Sunday during Lent, another item was added to the tree - here is is with the chalice, the bag of 30 pieces of silver, and draped with a purple robe. 
Each item is part of the Easter narrative - nails, crown of thorns, etc are added weekly, and a prayer is said. By Good Friday, the tableau will be complete.

I had not seen this done before, and found it very moving. In the same way that the Advent Candles each Sunday focus our attention on the Christmas Day which is to come, so this simple display helped to remind me that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, to die for me. 
You can find Lenten Cross Liturgies here, here and here.
We will be marking Palm Sunday with a walk of witness through the town, ending at our Parish Church for a united service [Bob will be preaching] Sadly [unlike the Archers in Ambridge] we will not have a donkey !
RIDE on, ride on in majesty;
Hark, all the tribes Hosanna cry;
Thine humble beast pursues his road,
With palms and scattered garments strewed.

Ride on, ride on in majesty;
In lowly pomp ride on to die:
O Christ, Thy triumphs now begin
O’er captive death and conquer’d sin.

Ride on, ride on in majesty;
Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh:
The Father on His sapphire throne
Awaits His own anointed Son!

Ride on, ride on in majesty;
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
Bow Thy meek Head to mortal pain,
Then take, O God, Thy power and reign.

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