Almondbury with Farnley Tyas

Sharing the love of Christ in the community

A Palm Sunday Message

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

I’ve been thinking a lot about places this week, especially the places where we feel closest to God.  Because our churches are closed to us, we have all had to find a place in our home to worship.  And while I’ve always felt comfortable praying pretty much anywhere in my house, I never considered any place sacred.  However, now that I have been celebrating the Eucharist each day I felt I needed to choose a particular place in my home to do this.  I set up candles and a cross on a table in the corner of a quiet room, and I brought out the pottery chalice and paten I was given for my first Eucharist. And so, I began.  It felt strange at first, out of place. But as the days have gone by, when I go to this place in my house to pray and to celebrate it has begun to feel more and more sacred, I have started feeling closer to God in that space. 

And this has reminded me that the world is filled in every nook and every cranny with God’s Divine Love, God’s Holy Spirit.  It’s not the place in my house that has changed.  I have changed. I have begun to sense God’s presence where it has always been.  In these days our homes have become our sanctuaries, our chapels.  And God’s presence fills them.  David Adams writes of these spaces, often called thin spaces. He says: ‘everywhere has the potential to be a thin place, a location which seems conducive to our being more than usually aware of the presence and holiness of God. Ironically, we are often in search of what we already have’.  During Holy Week we traditionally seek God in our church buildings.  This year, we are given the gift of finding God’s divine presence in our own homes. 

We also have the opportunity to build a space with others in our community.  Each of the churches: All Hallows, St. Lucius, and St Michaels and St Helens, have set up the beginnings of an Easter Garden in their church yards.  We would like those who are able to go by one of the churchyards in their daily exercise, to bring a small plant or flower in a pot and set it in the Easter Garden of the church they pass. These are clearly marked with a cross. We would also like each of you to encourage others in the community to do the same if possible.  Not everyone will have a plant to contribute, and that is okay, because we would also like to invite anyone who can take their exercise through the church yards to stop a moment and rest, pray, contemplate, or just enjoy looking at the gardens. This will be our Easter gift to the community. 

This week we have a variety of options for sharing worship together. 

You could start on BBC Radio 4 at 8.10: 
On Palm Sunday Fr Dominic Robinson and Dr Theodora Hawksley reflect on the way Jesus accompanies Christians spiritually when facing times of trial, suffering and bereavement.

And then move on to:

BBC One at 10.45am Palm Sunday: 
The Dean of Hereford, the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor, leads a service for Palm Sunday from the city’s historic cathedral.

A number of services in the local area will be streamed if you can stream things from your television or computer:

Live Streamed Services

I’ll be writing to you early next week to give you some guidance and suggestions for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. 

As always if you need pastoral support, contact me. I continue to pray for all of you, and to celebrate the Eucharist for all of you each day.  Do join through your own spiritual communion. I usually celebrate at about 8.30 am.

Please feel free to forward this e-mail to anyone you think would benefit. 

The Blessings of God’s Holy Presence be with you at all times and in all places during this time of challenge.

Revd Jessica Malay