In the footsteps of Ninian: Extending a blessing
Welcome to our Easter Sunday space. Today we are focusing on the theme of extending a blessing, asking ‘how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’
There is a slight change in our timings for today. As part of our daily rhythm for the Easter Weekend, we suggest that, following your own Morning Prayers, you join in at the slightly earlier time of 9.30am and watch a video of today’s chosen bible readings -taken from John 20: 1-18 and John 21: 1-14; Matthew 5: 1-12.
At 10am we would like to create space for you to join in with ‘Sing Resurrection’, should you choose to do so. This is a creative initiative from Community Companion, David Pott.
At 10.30am, we invite you to listen to our final talk, given by Sarah Pillar, one of our Community Leaders, responsible for the Dispersed Community network. In it she explores how we might extend a blessing and sing the Lord’s song in the strange and disorientating landscape we now find ourselves inhabiting.
At midday, we invite you to stand with those of us who are Community Companions, as we renew our vows alone, together – each within our own context – committing ourselves once more to intentional, deliberate Availability and Vulnerability before God, in the cell of our own hearts. In this time of pandemic, it seems particularly poignant to recognise that this is how we must receive the blessing that will enable us to turn outwards, be a blessing to others and extend the circle of blessing to include Christ the stranger in every person and every neighbourhood.
Today’s bible readings
Watch a video of the Easter Sunday bible readings here – taken from John 20: 1-18 and John 21: 1-14; Matthew 5: 1-12. Most of the photographs were taken on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and at Beaurepaire Priory, Bearpark, Durham, UK in 2019.
Session 4 – Extending a blessing: with Sarah Pillar
Today, Sarah explores what it means to extend a blessing and considers one of our key, Community questions: ‘how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’
1) Joy in blessing those who do not expect it. Cast your net the other side.
- Make a prayer net for your home, either from spare fishing net or from woven string or yarn. once in place day by day attach to it your prayers for those whom you meet and are yet to know well (even if that means you describe them whilst not as yet knowing their name. God does).
2) The lyrics of the Lord’s song to be sung in a strange land.
- Take the words of the Beatitudes (Matthew chapter 5). Write them as lyrics.
- Make your own ‘Blessed Be’ list. Make it personal, adding names of those who mourn or those who are merciful.
3) The melody of the Lord’s song to be sung in a strange land.
- What is your Land’s ‘folk music’, the indigenous genre of the place where you live? Do you like it or is the music from the place of your birth that which you prefer? Make your own playlist of these styles and appreciate the melodies in their variety.
- Record a soundscape of your location – the bird song, the noises of the natural and human world. Some of these will be common across many lands, like the house sparrow and the sound of car engines. Others will be unfamiliar to the ears of people in different hemispheres, like the song of the red cardinal or a rutting deer.
4) How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
- Sing! Practice anyway. In the desperate and dispiriting situations – like that from which these words from Psalm 137 originate – pray that the boundaries of despair and resignation may be pushed back by the blessing of God. Be the blessing by living available and vulnerably with each whom you meet.
- Share where you renew your vows to live with Availability and Vulnerability. Let us pray for one another in the particular ‘strange land’ God where God has asked us to put our roots down (until the next time we are asked to wander for the love of God).
You can download a PDF containing all of our Easter activities below:
Below , you can join in with the Burdon family’s paradox blessing – one that seems really pertinent for a time such as this. The words are below the video link.
Daily Exercises – Part 4 (of 4)
Linking the themes of the coming four days of A Call to Bless, Anne Collison has prepared a series of 4 reflective activities – one for each day – each building upon the day before. We can share these exercises Alone Together.
Very early that Sunday morning, the women made their way to the tomb. . . but the tomb was empty. The body of Jesus was gone! . . Suddenly two men appeared in dazzling white robes . . .(and) said to them, “ Why would you look for the living One in a tomb? He is not here, for he has risen! . . .”’ Luke 24:1-5Happy Easter! Rejoice in this new day, rejoice in the Good News of the Resurrection and let the wonder of it all take your breath away!
Today unwrap your stones from their linen cloth. Fold up the cloth, as the tomb clothes were, and place it beside the Christ candle as you relight it with celebration. Take the stones and form them into a circle of blessing around your Christ light. If you have access to spring flowers place some by your circle to celebrate the rebirth of nature after the dark winter. Sing an Easter hymn of celebration.
You can download a PDF containing all of our Daily Exercises – from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday – below:
Why not share your thoughts, photos or any other outcomes from today? You can do this in one of two ways:
1. If you are on Facebook and don’t mind sharing a little more publicly you can post in your own personal Facebook page, tagging us by using @northumbriacommunityofficial or, you could post in our Northumbria Community group HERE .
On Facebook our tag should look like this….
2. If you are a Friend, Novice or Companion and would prefer to share more privately please email your contributions to school@northumbriacommunity..org and we will include these in a password protected post on the School blog.
Renewal of Vows
As a Companion of Community, join us ‘live’ at midday for our renewal of vows. The words will appear on the video, so you can speak them alongside other Companions, in every place where they are.
My Prayer for You
And as a final blessing, Anne Collison dances ‘My Prayer for You’…
Our daily offices
Our other daily offices are HERE.
Return to the Easter 2020 main page HERE