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Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter!

On this glorious, celebratory day in the Christian calendar.  The day when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to anoint Jesus body and found the stone rolled away and his body gone. Then she encounters the risen Lord, mistaking him at first for the gardener. Mary is so excited that, with her head spinning and trying to make sense of it all, she runs to exclaim to the other disciples: “I have seen the Lord!”

So, today, we worship the risen Lord Jesus whose resurrection built a bridge back for us to our Heavenly Father.

Welcome Bishop David

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This Easter Sunday we welcome especially Bishop David and his wife, Janice. +David retired from being Assistant Bishop of the Church of Wales in Llandaff and has, at midnight last night, already helped us welcome in Easter Day. We are thrilled to share in his ministry today. Janice and +David will be staying for coffee so do meet them and make them welcome.

Easter Joy – The Third Day

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The Reading: Matthew 28:1-15

“After the Sabbath, towards the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene …”(v.1)

Jesus rose on “the third day”. This does not mean that he rose ‘three days later’. Jesus was raised just over 24 hours after his death and entombment. He was dead and buried on the Friday evening just before 6pm: “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph,” (Matthew 27:57). He remained in the tomb through the Sabbath (Saturday), and he burst from the tomb on Sunday just after 6am – “Now after the Sabbath, towards the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene …” (v.1).

Jesus had repeatedly said during his ministry that he would rise from the dead on the “third day” (Matthew 16:21, 17:23, 20:19). It was because of this expectation that the Romans set up a guard in front of the tomb “until the third day” (Matthew 27:64).

God promises all who put their trust in Him that they will have a ‘third day’. This is the day of resurrection, the day we overcome the difficulty, the day we are set free. For us it may not be a literal 24 hours or so, but it is still a sure and certain hope. In Christ we are more than conquerors, even though for a time we may stagger.

When a narrow boat travels down a canal its progress is often interrupted by a lock. Whilst in the lock it appears to make no progress, it is in fact going up or down in order to be able to proceed. Life, too, will lock us into hard places, but there will come the ‘third day’ when we shall move on again with rejoicing.

Dear Lord, today is a day of rejoicing. Thank you that in Jesus you overcame death and the devil. Thank you that you will do that in my life as well. Amen. 

Explore More

1. Who was put in prison and in irons until God set him free?

Psalm 105:17-19

2. Who came out of his grave on the 4th day?

John 11:39-44

Easter Lilies

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Easter Lilies in church 1_mini

The Easter lilies look wonderful, filling the church with colour and perfume.

Thank you to all who have contributed to this floral splendour and thanks also to our Flower Team who have worked so hard.

The Lenten Cross

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IMG_8968 - Easter Cross - export at 940_mini (2)

This Cross started with the bare remains of the Christmas Tree. Each Sunday in Lent an item was added to signify the humiliation and suffering of Jesus.

Firstly, there came the Purse of Money which contained the thirty pieces of silver which the church leaders paid to Judas to betray Jesus (Matthew 27:3).

Secondly, was brought to the Cross the red Robe that the soldiers put about the shoulders of Jesus hailing him mockingly as King (Matthew 27:28).

Thirdly, there was hung up on the stump the Crown of Thorns that the soldiers also pushed onto his head (Matthew 27:29).

Fourthly, several nails were added, two for his hands and one for his feet (John 20:25).

Fifthly, the Spear which pierced his side to prove his death was lain against the Cross (John 19:34). Finally the Dice were brought which the soldiers used to gamble for his raiment (John 19:23-24 and Psalm 22:18).

Maundy Thursday Supper

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Dining table - 597937_dining_table_3

Maundy Thursday Supper on 28th March at 5.45 pm.

We will again be having a meal with time for reflection before the Holy Communion Service and Leonard Daniels, from the local Jewish community will be speaking to us about the importance of the Passover.

There are only 40 places so be sure to sign up on the sheet at the back of Church.

Easter Saturday – Midnight Communion

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Do note that we will be marking Easter Day in a very special way.

At midnight we will gather around a brazier in the Vicarage Garden and sing some Easter hymns – we will then move into the church and renew our baptism promises, before Bishop David leads us in a simple communion service based on a 7th century rite. This should be very special.

Do come at 11.45pm on Saturday 30th March.

‘Wondrous Cross’ – a new cantata for Passiontide

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We are delighted to let you know of a special concert which our choir, the choir of Queen’s College and St Mary Magdalene Strings are performing. It is being held on Good Friday 29th March 2013 at 7.30pm.  Miles Quick, our Musical Director, expands on the delights on offer.

“In the evening of Good Friday 29th March our choir, combined with singers from Queen’s College Choral Society and a small group of experienced string players, will join together to present the short new passiontide cantata Wondrous Cross by Alan Bullard. It is based on the traditional ‘Seven Last Words’ of Jesus Christ from the cross as they appear in the four Gospel accounts. Most of the text is from the Authorised Version of the Bible, but other well-known sacred texts are also included for reflection. It will be combined with complementary meditative instrumental music, including Bach played on the oboe with organ accompaniment, and also some inspirational sounds from saxophone and organ combined. Soloists include Lorna Anderson (soprano), Peter Evans (tenor), Lynn Carter (oboe), Rachael Parvin (saxophones) and Andrew Carter (organ). The event will last about an hour and admission is free.

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Alan Bullard is one of the UK’s most highly regarded contemporary composers and a popular writer of both instrumental and choral music. He has also been involved as an elder and choir member at Lion Walk United Reformed Church in Colchester, and it is for this church that he wrote Wondrous Cross in 2012. The piece is designed along the lines of classic Passiontide pieces such as the Bach Passions and Stainer’s Crucifixion. Like the latter, it is designed for performance by enthusiastic amateurs and there are several chances for the audience to join in as well, especially at the end when the beautiful Isaac Watts hymn ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’ is introduced. Other moments for everyone to join in include the hymns ‘There is a green hill far away’ and the spiritual ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’.

We hope that a good number of people will be able to come and join in with this event. Hopefully it will be a good way of stepping apart from this busy world (although it is just down Hammet Street, through the angel doors) and getting Easter Eggs into perspective a bit! It could perhaps help us to enter more deeply into worship, and contemplation of the deeply wonderful mystery of the power of the cross and what it makes possible for us. Words struggle to express concepts of that magnitude, and maybe music can sometimes take us a little further.

If you would like further details, please do have a word with me. And, if you know of anyone who you think might like to come, please do tell them about it or send them a poster. There are copies at the back of church or it can be downloaded and emailed very easily from the church website.”

Miles Quick