Alton Webteam: April 2020
I hope you have been able to enjoy the glorious spring sunshine and the warm weather.
We have been taking our daily walk through Ackender woods, out into the fields and beyond. The woods are carpeted with blue bells and the trees are exploding into leaf.
Wild Garlic also covers the forest floor and its white flowers glisten in the sunlight with its distinct aroma filling the air. The new life of spring and the wonders of nature help us to delight in the beauty of God's creation.
I have also been rising early in the morning to go to my allotment and prepare it for planting. No-one is around at 7am and as I turn over the soil in the morning sunshine, I am soon joined by an eager Blackbird who hungrily feeds on the worms and grubs that soon appear.
It was early in the morning on Easter Sunday just as the sun was rising that Mary Magdalene encountered the risen Jesus. As she stood weeping outside the tomb she thought he was the gardener 'They have taken my Lord away and I don't know where they have put him' she said.
Jesus said to her 'Mary'. She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic 'Rabboni' (Which means teacher)! After that early morning encounter Mary went to the disciples with the news 'I have seen the Lord!'
I also noticed that it was early in the morning that Jesus again appeared to the disciples, this time on the shores of Lake Galilee.
They had been fishing all night and caught nothing so the stranger on the beach dared suggest that they throw their nets on the other side of the boat. As the nets filled with fish it began to dawn on the disciples as to who he was. 'It is the Lord!' cried Simon Peter. With that he wrapped his outer garment around him and jumped into the water. On the beach fish cooked on the coals as the disciples enjoyed a very special meal with the risen Lord — this being the third time he had appeared to them.
The Gospel account of the life of Jesus remind us that all sorts of people met with the Lord in lots of unexpected places — most of them not in the temple or the synagogue. He met with Matthew when he was at work collecting taxes, he met Peter, James and John, whilst they were mending their nets, he met with the Samaritan woman when she was drawing water at the well, he met with Thomas in the Upper Room and Cleopas and the 'other' disciple when they were walking home on the road to Emmaus. We long to meet again in Church for worship, but we will find that God can meet with us in all sorts of surprising places — if we are open to him, having eyes to see and ears to hear.
Ways to Worship
NEW! Sunday Worship — Hymns, Songs, Readings and Reflections — found by clicking on the April 19th video file which will appear early Sunday Morning.
The Methodist Church have provided a weekly printed sheet (attached) to help us share in worship whilst at home.
BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship at 8.10am — why not sing along with the hymns!
BBC 1 'Sunday Worship' — from St David's Cathedral. (10am — double check time)
The BBC also offer 'Songs of Praise' at 1:15pm with Aled Jones... connecting the Beatles with Christianity at Strawberry Field in Liverpool!
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. See picture
God, give us eyes to see
the beauty of the Spring,
And to behold Your majesty
in every living thing -
And may we see in lacy leaves
and every budding flower
The Hand that rules the universe
with gentleness and power -
And may this Easter grandeur
that Spring lavishly imparts
Awaken faded flowers of faith
lying dormant in our hearts,
And give us ears to hear, dear God,
the Springtime song of birds
With messages more meaningful
than man's often empty words
Telling harried human beings
who are lost in dark despair -
'Be like us and do not worry
for God has you in His care.
Helen Steiner Rice
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