Palm Sunday, 10th April, 6pm; Don’t forget the Donkey…
At Billingsley Church this Palm Sunday we celebrate the contribution of Donkeys, both in the story of Palm Sunday but also today, helped by colleagues from the Severn Valley Rescue Centre( www.Severnvalleyrescue.org) who (weather permitting) will be bringing some of their donkeys to church. All are welcome to meet our four-legged guests, learn more about them and the work they do in helping children who suffer with anxiety and autism who are not at school ( www.proudtobeeme.co.uk ). There will be suitable donkey-themed music and hymns with refreshments afterwards.
I’ve moved morning prayer on Easter Sunday forward to 9.00am, as apparently at 10.00am, we are being invited to sing “Jesus Christ is risen today” followed by “Thine be the Glory” from our front doors…..
The new invitation to Easter Sunday Morning prayer is below:
At St Mary’s, we have been working in partnership with others in the community to reach out to people in Billingsley, Glazeley, Deuxhill and neighbourhood during the Covid lockdown. We have used our webpages and facebook page to publicise our activities, as well as leaflets. The report below gives a good example of what is happening.
“About a dozen residents in Bynd Lane have been working together to help each other out with shopping. The group set up in a very simple way via a facebook Messenger group and have organically grown over the past few weeks. Two of the families involved are in complete self-isolation so for them this has been a vital support. People take it in turns to go shopping, which means that each of those who need shopping only have to ask for a few items for each shop. The group has also been linking in with services offered via the Billingsley Farm and Community facebook page, managed by Helen Leather of Billingsley. One such service is breads, cakes, pies etc home delivered to those in isolation in Billingsley every Wednesday by Catherine’s bakery. One resident said ‘the deep sense of community is immense. As a family in isolation, without this very local support we would be struggling, but it’s not just about the practical help, it’s the laughs and jokes we share to keep each other motivated and involved with each other’.”
Some words from Matthew’s Gospel (chapter 18, v37-40) spring to my mind:
“Then the righteous will [say], ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Easter is ultimately about the setting loose of God’s Kingdom here on earth; in our response to Covid, perhaps we see glimpses of what that looks like.
In April we had a talk on the archaeology of Billingsley and a number of Easter services. These focused on the medieval Easter sepulchre in the church. This is a recess in the wall of the church close to the altar. It looks like the space for a tomb, typically where the founder of the church would be buried, but there is no body. This is point, it represents the empty tomb of Jesus. In the middle ages, shortly before Easter Sunday, the altar would be stripped and the cross wrapped in a shroud and put in the tomb, to be removed first thing on Easter morning and put back on the altar. We carried out theses ceremonies over Easter, probably the first time they had been done for 500 years.