Friday, 10 April 2009

Good Friday Stations

Christ Crucified, by the Westphalian Master,
in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

A friend sent this message to me in Facebook today:

The past and the future are born in the imagination. Only the present which is awareness is real and eternal. It is. Action in the present becomes fertile ground for creation of the future.

An apt thought for the day that's in it, as with so many others I contemplate how self-sacrificing love makes a new heaven and a new earth possible: the records left us of the ministry imagined by Jesus so long ago inspire us to imagine a future he dares us to create through action today! God bless you, Trish!

The theme of the three-hour vigil today was the Stations of the Cross, using a beautiful set of images created by the Benedictine Sisters of Turvey Abbey in Bedfordshire, England. Here is the first of the images:

Jesus is condemned to death

I like the discipline of the vigil, largely spent sitting still in silence contemplating the pictures, though we also heard readings and sang hymns. I am still and silent so rarely, but it stimulates the imagination wonderfully. After an hour or so, my joints and back started to ache in the hard pew, no matter how I tried to settle myself. I could begin to imagine the pain of the cross! Eventually I knelt in prayer, which was better, but I left after Jesus fell for the 2nd time.

In the afternoon I went out in the garden to dig the bed for the potatoes. The ground made an ugly slurp as the spade went in - far too wet still to dig or to cultivate. The soil is heavy clay and needs much more compost to make the friable, free-draining bed I crave. If only I had tilled it in the autumn as I should! The potatoes chitting in the green house will have to wait a while yet. Instead of cultivating I used the time to dig up some young trees as an Easter present, a rooted cutting of a good cultivar of pussy willow with red twigs, a young sloe which I have been shaping, and a brace of bullace - the wild damson which grows in the hedge and seeds about. I've been meaning to do this for months, and now is not the ideal time, but I hope they won't turn out to be a present of a job of work for the recipients without good reward!
I am writing this after returning from the highlight of the day - the ecumenical Good Friday walk. Now in its third year and set to become a tradition, it starts at Templederry Church of Ireland and wends its way through the country lanes to the Roman Catholic Church in the village. After a brief welcoming ceremony with a hymn and prayer at the Church of Ireland, folk from both churches take turns to shoulder a large cross, and walk together while children scamper about, stopping for readings and prayers at the stations, which for the second time in the day were those from Turvey Abbey. Arriving at the Roman Catholic church at dusk, the united congregations place lighted candles on the cross placed in front of the altar, with small stones carried in pilgrimage, and share a brief service of prayer and meditation. Once again the community was blessed with dry weather and sunshine. Once again the community was blessed to witness together to love of God and love of neighbour. May Jesus's spirit of loving self-sacrifice continue to bless the whole community of Templederry!

No comments: