Messages from around the Benefice

Wednesday in Holy Week message from Lyndon
No Holy Week has ever been like this one. We are trying to meet the challenge of a contagious virus that is spreading across the entire globe. In the UK, like many countries, the population is in lock down, our NHS teams are working through exhaustion, battling a killer disease. Work places, transport and even churches are closed, and our Prime Minister is being treated in an Intensive Care Unit. This is certainly Holy Week unlike any other.
Yesterday, Cynth and I celebrated Holy Communion in our conservatory, going through the Holy Week readings in our Church in Wales Prayer Book. I then mowed the lawn, before reading a book, and later I began to think about what to write for Wednesday morning.
My mind began to float back to the Holy Weeks of my past. I thought of my time in St Michael’s Theological College, and the Holy Week training that we were given there. These were special services designed to prepare us for our new role as priests. All the ordinands, students, where assigned special duties, during the week, when we were not attending our daily worship. The liturgically talented students arranged the week’s services; the musically gifted students prepared our choral renditions. Along with a friend, I found myself, in the chapel vestry, polishing the brass.

In both my parishes of Ebbw Vale and Caldicot, Holy Week meant Churches Together, worshipping with friends from different Christian church traditions. In Caldicot, we followed a pattern, the Monday service was in the Baptist Church, Tuesday, the Pentecostals, Wednesday the Methodist and on Maundy Thursday, we would all attend St. Mary’s Anglican Church, where I served.
I have many standout memories from these times. I will never forget the Agape feast in the Baptist church, when all traditions shared in a meal of Christian fellowship. The Pentecostals Church introduced us to different forms of worship and music. I have two distinct memories from the Methodist Church. The first, a beautiful healing service, the second, was when our local Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Barry preached. Fr. Barry’s sermon made me feel that years of Christian division were being washed away. These exchanges were sometimes challenging, though always rewarding. We were all learning to share experiences with each other, learning to work in unity.
All the above Holy Week experiences have helped to shape my understanding of the importance of Christ’s Passion and the importance of journeying together through Holy Week.
I believe that God can work through diversity to bring about unity. People working together, for the common good, through acts of compassion and kindness, bring us nearer to God. The lesson we take from our current situation may be for us to be united together to defeat this unseen enemy, learning to work together for the benefit of all peoples across the world. Keep safe, Keep praying and keep trusting. God Bless.

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble”. 1Peter 3:8