Online Service for 2nd Sunday of Easter

Date: April 19, 2020

I hope this email finds you well in this unusual Easter week. From here we
begin our fifty days pilgrimage towards the Ascension and Pentecost. (For
Eastertide is longer than Lent, reminding us that our joy should be of more
delight than our penitence.) And yet…I imagine for many that this still
feels like a long Lent, with the uncertainty that still covers our day to
day lives, not knowing how or when our normal routines will continue. I
think for many we shall not truly have the sense of Easter until we can
meet together again and *sing unto the Lord, rejoice in the strength of our
salvation;  come before his presence with thanksgiving, and show ourselves
glad in him with psalms.*

Indeed, I would have preferred to mark my first Holy Week and Easter
actually in at St John’s – even if alone, to pray, to celebrate the
Eucharist, the ring the bell, to record services there, rather than from
the Vicarage. To remind the world that prayer was being offered for the
people of this parish, where prayer has been offered in Holy Week for 140
years, even throughout times of affliction and uncertainty.

As we will hear tomorrow, at the first Easter Christ came to the disciples
behind a locked door, when they were still held in fear and disbelief, and
he imparted to them peace and the forgiveness of sins – and they rejoiced.
It is our place in this strange fusion of Lent and Easter to catch hold of
that promise and perhaps learn afresh what ‘the peace that the world cannot
give’ looks like in our day.

I attach our readings for tomorrow and hope that will join with me in
prayer as we celebrate the Eucharist here. I will continue to offer a
recording of daily prayer, which I hope people are finding helpful. The
services can be found here:

https://soundcloud.com/stjohnswimbledon

I remain grateful to Rob and the choir for continuing our musical
traditions through this time. For those who would like even more of their
amazing work, there are various pieces and recitals to be found here – most
notably, his organ recital from Notre-Dame, Paris in January 2019:

https://soundcloud.com/robert-john-mingay

https://soundcloud.com/musicatstjohns/

As always, every cleric in the world has been offering their opinions
about the present crisis, and perhaps more sermons for Holy Week have been
made available to the wider world than ever before. However, I mention some
of note:

Stephen Cottrell (Archbishop Elect of York)  (here
<https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/a-first-for-christendom-holy-week-without-church>)

Marcus Walker (Rector of St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield) put
together a condensed form of Holy Week in video form. I think his homilies
on Holy Week in a pandemic are superb. (Here
<https://www.greatstbarts.com/holy-week-and-easter/>)

Cathedral clergy from around the country put together an online service
leading us from Holy Saturday to Easter (here
<https://www.rumoursofhope.co.uk/>).

Jonathan Aitken (a former politician of some note, now Assistant Curate,
St Matthew’s, Westminster) (Here
<https://unherd.com/2020/04/what-prison-taught-me-about-lockdown/>)

John Updike (an American poet, died 2009) on Easter (here
<https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/seven-stanzas-at-easter-john-updike/>)

It is modern church custom to avoid commemorating saints during Lent. (I
set this aside when we marked St Benedict on the 21st March, as I didn’t
really expect that the present situation would still be continuing now –
but we are where we are.) The yearly cycle of celebration now continues, so
I shall be offering daily prayer, the Eucharist, and perhaps even a short
recorded homily this coming Thursday (St George) and Saturday (St Mark the
Evangelist).

My prayers for you continue, and I hope that we will all share in the
promise of Eastertide, that God will *show us the path of life; and in his
presence the fullness of joy.*

Rosie adds:

*I don’t know about you, but I found Holy Week was both confusing and
intense. Confusing because it so nearly kept slipping from my consciousness
and intense because when it was in focus, it felt too much to process. I
cannot help but wonder if I am experiencing a small something of the
emotion felt around the first Easter – devastation, joy, confusion and
not being believed have all played a part in my last few weeks too. Perhaps
something of what we’re all facing in the radical relief of this
resurrection. *

*I can’t thank you enough for your prayers for myself, my colleagues,
those we are treating and their families. I have no doubt we are all –
directly or indirectly – being changed by this experience and my hope is
we are changing for the better. We pray for you all regularly, and I look
forward to when we can all share in praising and lamenting together at St
John’s. Please take care of yourselves, and I promise I’m doing my best to
be safe.*

With kind regards,

Stephen

Service times

Sunday

8:30am Holy Communion (BCP)
10:15am Sung Eucharist

2nd Sunday of the month

10:15am All Welcome Service