Keeping in touch 5: When time stood still – or did it?

Yesterday’s most important job – the Vicarage Easter Garden

Dear friends,

Is anyone else finding that despite the gift of all this time, the days are running away as fast as ever? Limited trips out, no school run, no visits to friends, no commute. Not even the stroll down the High Street that was mine. But all this extra time is not standing still.

Take me, yesterday afternoon. From 2.00pm – 3.30pm I had a meeting with other clergy via Zoom (I’m becoming all too familiar with this now!) and the next thing I know it is 6.30pm. Sure, I haven’t done nothing. I’ve made some notes from said meeting, made a couple of phone calls, read/answered some emails, streamed Evening Prayer. And made an Easter Garden. But for all that I can’t believe three hours have gone.

When the lockdown began we all had grand plans for all this ‘free time’. But reality is setting in now. Time is not standing still and we have new tasks to fill it with. Some of us are on the ‘phone a lot more. Some of us are working from home – some will find this easier than others! Some of you are wearing four hats as parent, teacher, colleague, friend. Some of us are anxious, for ourselves, our loved ones, our economic situation – just anxious with the whole uncertainty of it all. Anxiety will eat through time at a rate of knots.

The thing is, we’ve lost most of the usual markers of our day. Some of the ways that we could say this is this time, and that is the other time. Work time, home time, pilates time, lunch club time, church time… Music isn’t complete without rests. And our normal life has lots of little rests, changes of tempo as we move from one thing, one place, to the next. But now most of us are spending the day in the same four walls, with the same (lovely!) people. Work-space-is-home-space-is-fun-space. And without the boundaries that vary the flow of time, it can feel like we’re galloping along not really getting anywhere.

If like me, you’re beginning to feel like that, Holy Week is perfectly timed. In Holy Week the Church gives us all sorts of pauses. We are invited to walk with Jesus in his Passion. To pause with him as he gives us himself in the Last Supper. To wait and watch with him in Gethsemane. To meditate on his cross. And then to wait with bated breath on Holy Saturday. That day of absolute rest between the crucifixion and the resurrection.

‘On the Seventh Day God rested’. Even God blocked out a day in the diary to rest. Those words are from the Creation story of course. But they apply to Holy Saturday too. Saturday is the seventh day of the week, the Jewish Sabbath. The day God rests. Creation holds its breath. God rested on the seventh day before. What will he do on the eighth day this time? Last time he threw Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden – the picture of how we shut ourselves off from his love, and the love and care of others. What will he do this time?

As we approach the three most Holy Days of Holy Week – the Triduum – rest in the knowledge that God rested. If you need permission to rest from the things that are running away with your time, it’s right here. God rested. If you need permission to set some boundaries on your day, to give it some rhythm, go for it. God did.

I commend our Holy Week services to you as time to rest with God. And if you are not online, I commend the Daily Prayer booklet to you as well as the service sheets you’ll have received: you may wish to read along with these at the time shown on the cover so that we are all pausing with God and with each other.

Time carried Jesus from gethsemane to the cross to the tomb. But then God rested. Rested in order to re-create. May these most Holy days give you the opportunity to press pause and know the re-creating love God has for you. Be kind to yourself in this time. God stood still because of his loving-kindness for you.

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46.10)

With my love and prayers for you,

All Saints Vicarage
Holy Wednesday 8th April 2020

Services during the Triduum

Thu & Fri         Live Stream Morning Prayer 8.30am & Evening Prayer with a reflection 5pm
Maundy Thursday 9th April
7.30pm LiveStream Eucharist of Maundy Thursday (order of service)
Good Friday 10th April 
9.30am            Children’s reading, talk and prayers 
10am               Live Stream Stations of the cross
12noon            Live Stream Liturgy of Good Friday (order of service)
Saturday 11th April
8.30pm            Live Stream The Vigil Readings  †
9.30am            Live Stream Eucharist of Easter Day (order of service)
11.15am          Children’s reading, talk and prayers

† The Vigil Readings are listed in the back of the Liturgy of Good Friday booklet