Pastoral Letter: w/e 10th April 2021

Dear Friend from Bridport United Church, Uploders Methodist Church or Hope or Radipole United Reformed Churches

Well, we have celebrated our second Easter during the pandemic and still we continue to live with restrictions to our daily lives, which are at best tiresome and at worst a major limitation on them?  Even the eternal optimist in me is beginning to struggle to see positives I admit, as, although I do feel hopeful as the unlocking gradually unfurls, I am aching to see some loved ones, desperate to hug them and simply fed up of talking to people with a sub-routine in my brain continually reminding me to keep two metres away!  

I suspect this will leave its mark on our behaviour and psyche for some time to come and it reminded me of a remark someone made to me some years ago about the Apostle Peter.  For all the three-fold commissioning and forgiveness that Peter is recorded as receiving in John 21 over a fish breakfast on the beach, she wondered if, every time throughout the rest of his life he heard a cock crow, it reminded him painfully of his denials?  

Well, possibly, we will find every time we spy someone wearing a mask, touch something in a shop and instinctively reach for our sanitiser … or something else that reminds us of this period … we will have a little pang of painful reminder in the back of our brains? 
Actually, if you’re one of the folks who have been stuck indoors for all this time you may even have a similar reaction now of significant irritation that you have been denied even the limited freedoms that masks and sanitiser have enabled me to have?

I do think therefore that our current experiences will leave their mark on us, just as the events of the original Maundy Thursday and Good Friday left theirs on the followers then?

But - and it’s a great big BUT - the events of that first Easter Day changed everything and must’ve filled their hearts with a joy that surely swamped the negative feelings left over from the terrible experiences of that horrible weekend?  

I’m sure for example that Cleopas and his companion must have felt a bit silly to have left Jerusalem even though they had heard the news that the tomb was empty?  Also, as I said on the last Soul Space Video Service, possibly even sillier to have walked all the journey and not recognised that it was Jesus they were talking with?  

But once they did recognise him, their joy was so great that they hot-tailed it back to tell the others - and got a bonus appearance into the bargain!

So, I hope that this Easter, despite all the negatives we have lived with (and will live with for a while to come) that you have experienced just a bit of that joy and wonder that they experienced.  Hopefully the following service options will keep that ticking over too?  


Sunday Options:

1)   We haven’t managed to produce a Video Service on YouTube so we have decided to warmly commend last week’s Easter Celebration Video led by the Soul Space Team which has been particularly appreciated by many and may have bypassed you last week with all the other options?  The video is on the Soul Space YouTube Channel and can be accessed the following Link (or via the Circuit Facebook Group):

 

2) The Audio Service is from the United Reformed Church will this week from the Daily Devotions Team is being led by Revd. Elizabeth Gray-King. Elizabeth is a person of many talents! I know her as having one of the most soothing, reassuring voices across the entire denomination and is also a terrific artist.  She excels as Programme Coordinator for the Education + Learning Team at Church House, Project Manager, Visual Theologian and URC Minister of Word and Sacraments.

Low Sunday, as well as being interestingly named, is an interesting Sunday to tackle.  How do we ride the wave of Easter?  What does Easter mean now for us?  Find out more on Sunday! 
Hymns include

   Jesus is Risen,
   Alleluia,
   Breathe on me, breath of God,
   Faith begins by letting go and a wonderful rendition of
   Come thou found of every blessing.

 
And I pray that as we now gradually move onwards to something like our old normality, that the joy and the presence of the Risen Jesus continues beside you and within you!
Easter Blessings from your Minister
Rev'd Peter Clark
URC Minister of the Bridport & Dorchester Joint Pastorate