Alton Webteam: April 2020
One of the highlights of my last trip to the Holy Land was to be taken with our group to the Mount of Olives. It stands 100m above the old city of Jerusalem with spectacular views of the old city walls, the majestic gates and the Temple Mount. Those with donkeys expectantly waited for trade!
Like many pilgrims before us we then began to descend on foot down the steep, cobbled footpath (Quite a comical sight with three of us holding onto a wheelchair desperately trying to stop it running away with us, complete with our friend, Margaret!). Having stopped off at the Church of All Nations at the foot of the Mount of Olives, we then ascended up, through the gates and into the old city of Jerusalem.
Such memorable moments take me back to the scene portrayed on Palm Sunday during the Feast of Passover when more than two million pilgrims would make a similar journey as they crowded into the city, singing, excited, expectant and ready to celebrate the greatest of all their religious feasts.
Jesus could not have chosen a more dramatic moment in which to enter the city. He had prepared it in advance having told his disciples to go and find the donkey with which he was to ride on. With Messianic expectations running high the crowd didn't hesitate to honour him, wave their palm branches, lay their cloaks on the ground and to shout:
'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!'
The whole city was stirred and those watching from the city walls asked 'Who is this?'
He is a wonderful teacher. He is an amazing miracle worker. He is a compassionate friend. He is a prophetic figure. He is the one people were looking to for hope and help... and little did they realise that he was to become their Saviour through events yet to unfold upon the cross.
As we celebrate Palm Sunday this weekend and enter Holy Week may we also consider who this Jesus is and then praise him!
As for me, I have found him to be my help, my strength, my friend, my Saviour and my sure and certain hope... however life unfolds.
Ride on! ride on in majesty!
Hark! all the tribes hosanna cry;
O Saviour meek, pursue thy road
with palms and scattered garments strewed. (Henry Hart Milman 1791-1868)
Ways to Worship
The Methodist Church have provided a weekly printed sheet (email attachment) to help us share in worship whilst at home.
BBC 1 'Sunday Worship' — this week at 10:45am from Hereford Cathedral. (check time!)
The BBC also offer 'Songs of Praise' at 1:15pm this week from Glasgow.
BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship at 8.10am
Sunday Worship at 10am can be enjoyed via the URC Church by copying and pasting this link into your google search bar and signing in. https://devotions.urc.org.uk/
Oh...Why not have fun singing along to Bob Hartman's song: To the clip clop beat of the donkey's feet!? And send me a photo! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyFZ93k_0AU
And in other news...!
One of our members, highlighted 'A beautiful Idea for Palm Sunday' as promoted on social media: 'What if everyone in the morning on April 5th puts a branch on the door of their house, or in their window to celebrate Palm Sunday!'
How about making an Easter Garden and sending me a picture to display in next weeks newsletter? If you have the means, it's very therapeutic and will help us focus on the Easter Story.
Poem: 'History will Remember'
History will remember when the world stopped
And the flights stayed on the ground And the cars parked in the street
And the trains didn't run.
History will remember when the schools closed
And the children stayed indoors
And the medical staff walked towards the fire
And they didn't run.
History will remember when the people sang
On their balconies in isolation
But so very much together
In courage and song.
History will remember when the people fought
For their old and their weak
Protected the vulnerable
By doing nothing at all.
History will remember when the virus left
And the houses opened
And the people came out
And hugged and kissed
And started again....
Kinder than before.
(Passed on by Church Member — Author:Donna Ashworth — with thanks! )
If we are ill, strengthen us.
If we are tired, fortify our spirits.
If we are anxious, help us to consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.
Help us not to stockpile treasures from supermarkets in the barns of our larders.
Don't let fear cause us to overlook the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves.
Fix our eyes on your story and our hearts on your grace.
Help us always to hold fast to the good,
See the good in others,
And remember there is just one world, one hope,
One everlasting love, with baskets of bread for everyone. In Jesus we make our prayer,
The one who suffered, died and was raised to new life,
In whom we trust these days and all days,
The Revd Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference
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