Easter 2020: A Call to bless – St Ninian

The resources for Easter 2020, which centre around our Saint Ninian liturgy – including the liturgy for the Renewal of our Vows – can be accessed from this page.

Saint Ninian shared with permission by Aidan Hart 

Our tradition, since early days of Community has been to gather at Easter to renew our vows, whilst setting aside time to learn together. In 2019, we began to learn how to be Waymarks in the World, pointing others toward God in our daily lives. For 2020, we will respond to a very timely Call to Bless, inspired by the story of St Ninian of Whithorn, Galloway. Ninian’s monastic and missional life inspires us to engage with our own neighbourhoods, sharing the love and light of Christ.

Below is an introduction from the Overseers, filmed on location at St Ninian’s Cave, Whithorn, Scotland, UK:

An Introduction from the Overseers

Our Ninian Liturgy is a lens through which we consider  – Receiving a Blessing, Being a Blessing and Extending a Blessing  – themes ripe with potential for 2020 with all the complexities that year posed for the whole of this precious world. Because we care for others in this ‘strange land’ of Corvid-19 where it has become a ‘time to refrain from embracing’ we believe it is a calling upon us to Bless. 

From Easter 2020 to Easter 2021, the Community’s School for Monastic Living will be helping us to Extend the Blessing of God in practical ways, inspired by the encircling prayers of Ninian.  We will be asking ‘How then shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’ in all the places God has called us to across the globe in our dispersed, networked Community. 

Rather than sending out a large, one-off pack of materials for Easter (we listened to your feedback!) there will be materials released each month, beginning with reflections and videos created for Holy Week and the Renewal of Vows liturgy. Following this, over the next 11 months, we will hear about, and interact with, the stories of Companions, Novices and Friends from different geographical locations, as they share their experiences of singing the Lord’s song in the land they have been called to.  It will be an adventure of extended blessing, taking us around the world to encompass the People, Land and Story God has called us to engage with. 

Alone, together:

‘In the strong name of Jesus.

we bless all that is living,

and recognise in all that lives the reflection of the Word 

who said, 

‘Let there be life’,

How can I join in with the Easter resources?

In the light of the developing situation with Covid -19, we have been working hard to gather creative resources that can be used both individually and in gatherings; face-to-face or online. We embrace the opportunity to bless and be a blessing, as much by being Alone as being Together, as we live out our vows in the coming 12 months. 

We have prepared a series of videos filmed to help us learn from this Call to Bless. Each will draw together a particular part of the Easter Story, looking at the events of Holy Week through this lens of Blessing; discovering Jesus’ blessing through life, death and resurrection.  

We will learn from the story of Ninian: both a monk and a missionary, obediently responding to a call from God to bless a particular land and a particular people. 

Additional reflections and activities will help us engage with what it means to be a People of Blessing in the Land we ourselves are sent to bless.

We hope that these resources will be helpful for each of us in the Alone Together of our companionship – whether we gather with others in person, online or in solitude to renew our vows and learn ‘How then shall we live?’ with fresh insights into discipleship in Christ. 

How else can I engage?

We invite you to share where you intend to renew your vows by taking a photo, or recording a short video (landscape orientation please) and saying why this place is significant for you. Please email your reflections to school@northumbriacommunity.org

We will represent each place as a candle on a map, as a visual representation of how we are connected – an invitation to pray for one another as we bless the land and people God has called us to. The map will be posted on the School for Monastic Living Blog.  

Share liturgies online:

As well as our newly initiated, online offices, that we are currently co-ordinating, during Holy Week we invite you to join us with online prayers and liturgies. These will include a Maundy Thursday foot washing and communion, a Stations of the Cross and an Easter Vigil.

Pray:

Recognising that this year’s gatherings for Easter will be affected by  Covid-19 please join us in this prayer for all those already affected and for all our dear ones:

Lord God, our protector, we would draw all people of our world into Your circle of protection, peace and salvation. Let Your love shine from us, as Ninians White House shone across the sea, attracting people to Your love and light. May our words and actions reflect our prayer; in the name of Christ. Amen.”

Written for us by Maurice Johnson. 

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