Easter in Buxted and Hadlow Down was, like the rest of the country, more about time at home with virtual prayer and worship. However the three churches used their churchyards to make simple statements about Easter. At St Mary’s the Calvary figures garden area were tidied up and shone in the sunshine. St Mark’s had a small Easter garden beside the church, with the stone rolled away from the tomb. St Margaret’s had the bare cross, made from last year’s Christmas tree, with the simple message attached.
Covid-19 means that people are having to stay in their homes for longer periods of time with household members and with fewer opportunities for contact and support from the ‘outside world’. Sadly, this means that there is a heightened risk for both adults and children of being abused within the home. There has been a rise of 25% in reports of adult on adult domestic abuse since Covid-19 – with many of those cases having children in the home. There is a low report rate of domestic abuse, so the number of people currently suffering abuse will be higher.
If you are worried about your own safety or the welfare of someone else, here is some advice on where to find help:
If anyone is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police
If you are worried about the welfare of a child, contact:
ESCC SPOC: Tel – 01323 464222 https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/childrenandfamilies/professional-resources/spoa/
NSPCC: Tel – 0808 800 5000
Children or young people seeking support can call Childline – 0800 1111
If you are worried about the welfare of an adult, contact:
ESCC – Tel 0345 6080 191 https://www.eastsussexsab.org.uk/worried-about-an-adult/
Older people seeking support can call Silverline – 0800 470 8090
If you are worried about domestic abuse, partner to partner:
Outside of office hours call The National Domestic Abuse Helpline 08082000247
East Sussex: CGL https://www.changegrowlive.org/the-portal-east-sussex/info
Call CGL for Domestic Abuse support on 03003 239985 (Central PORTAL number), 01424 716629 (Hastings and Rother) or 01323 417598 (Eastbourne Lewes and Wealden)
Sussex Police also have a useful list of phone numbers here: https://www.sussex.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/support- helplines/
If you are worried about hurting the ones you love while staying at home, call the Respect phoneline for support and help to manage your behaviour
https://respectphoneline.org.uk 0808 8024040
Nationally: The Government has issued the following national guidance regarding adult on adult domestic abuse and national contact numbers on the following link:
One of my Easter rituals is to find time to myself and listen to Handel’s Messiah. I was given a recording as a confirmation present by one of my godfathers (the set of LPs – remember them? – was a recording by the choir from Kings College Cambridge, conducted by David Willcocks).
Whilst the Hallelujah chorus is uplifting, there are so many other parts that are familiar (indeed a danger to lesson readers who must resist the temptation to sing “Ev’ry valley shall be exalted” or “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given”).
So often music can be a background whilst we are doing something else, but just occasionally putting time aside to sit and listen to a piece of music can provide an experience that is special.
To me, Good Friday is a special day when I want to have some time to myself and my thoughts. Time to reflect on the horror of the crucifixion, but also upon the fact that this was part of something so much greater, than 2,000 years later it has shaped our lives.
MAUNDY THURSDAY (9th April)
Maundy comes from the Latin ‘mandatum novum’ – ‘new commandment’. John 13v.34. Today the Church commemorates the institution of the Eucharist, ‘the day before he suffered’. During the supper our Lord gave us a lesson in love which was shown washing of his disciples’ feet.
+ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Trusting in God’s plan for us, let us ask to be renewed in heart and in mind.
Lord, you showed us perfect love. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, you gave yourself completely. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, you left us an example to copy. Lord, have mercy.
A reading from the first letter of S. Paul to the Corinthians:
This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and thanked God for it and broke it, and He said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.” In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.” Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.
We offer our prayers to the Father who calls us home.
We pray for the Church; that in the humility of Christ, we may share her true riches with each other and with the world.
For the leaders of our nation: that they may lead by service especially at this difficult time.
For those who are in need, that they may be supported by a caring society.
We pray that we may all help each other in the great journey, and lighten each other’s load on the way.
We pray for the medical and nursing professions and for all carers.
We pray for all those who have come to the end of their life: that they may take that final step into the heavenly kingdom.
We thank you, Father, when your Son loved us to perfection, and showed us the final meaning of His love.
CHRIST MOVES TO THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE WHERE HE WILL FACE ARREST AND THEN TRIAL
Servant – Christ, in prayer we follow you into the garden, to watch with you. Help us to be ever vigilant for signs of the dawning of your day; to struggle unsparingly to understand, and to be obedient to your perfect will.
GOOD FRIDAY (10th April)
Today the Church stands before the cross of Christ. The significant part of the day is silence.
Almighty Father, look with mercy on your family for which Our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed and given up into the hands of sinners and to suffer death upon the cross; who is alive and glorified with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and for ever. Amen.
THE PASSION GOSPEL
And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
And they parted His raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. Then the rulers also with them derided Him, saying: “He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He be the Christ, the chosen of God.” And the soldiers also mocked Him.
And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, “I thirst.” Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar; and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon a hyssop, and put it to His mouth.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said: “It is finished”; and he bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.
A short period of silence.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Lord, what would we have done? Would we have fallen asleep and then run away terrified, like the disciples in Gethsemane? Thank you that you forgive us for our weakness, when we opt out and run away from conflict and cost.
Lord, what would we have done? Would we have shouted ‘Hosanna’ on one day, and ‘Crucify’ on another? Forgive us when we fail you because it is easier to follow the crowd.
Lord, what would we have done? Would we have been harsh and judgemental like the Pharisees? Forgive us when we are quick to condemn, or hide behind legalism.
Lord, what would we have done? Would we have been like the soldiers, hard and callous, just doing their job? Forgive us when we act blindly and unthinkingly, without considering the effect our behaviour has on others.
Lord, what would we have done? Would we have slunk away ashamed from the horror of Calvary? We thank you that you forgive us when we let you down, and that your love is stronger than all the evil we could throw at you; Lord accept these prayers, offered in your name.
Standing at the foot of the cross, let us pray with confidence as or Saviour has taught us:
May the cross of Our Lord protect those who belong to Jesus, and strengthen our hearts in faith to Christ, in hardship and in ease, in life and in death, now and for ever. Amen.