Friday, April 06, 2012

There are better things... do on Holy Thursday and Good Friday than write blogs, so I have been doing those better things.

It is now lateish on Good Friday night. On Holy Saturday Auntie packs lots of chocolate eggs and other goodies and departs joyfully via Paddington Station for a big family gathering.

Went to the Maundy Mass at Precious Blood church near London Bridge - it's in a fascinating corner of London where every little side-street is crammed with history. The George tavern still flourishes - Chaucer describes his Canterbury pilgrims starting their journey there, and I enjoyed lunches there with my father over the years. There are other pubs with good old names - the King's Head and the Blue-eyed Maid and St Christopher's and the Rose and Crown. There is a poignant War Memorial - a WWI soldier running gallantly forward, a great list of names nearby. There are proper local shops.

During the Maundy Mass, Tube trains rumbled away beneath our feet. The main overground railway station is of course a major feature here too - and there is busy London Bridge teeming with traffic, and the old river. We knelt in silence before the Altar of Repose, and the priest led us gently in thought to the Upper Room, two millenia ago, in another city...

This morning, a Walk of Witness in the busy, pleasant suburb where we live. A much bigger crowd than usual. We gathered outside the United Reformed Church where there is a garden, and walked down the High Street, led by men carrying three big crosses. Outside the Methodist Church we held a short service. Somehow, it feels reassurring that in modern Britain you can still get a good-sized crowd to hold up the traffic in the suburbs and gather to sing "When I survey the wondrous Cross" on Good Friday. The local Anglican church provided a very good choir. There was a sermon with a thoughtful message. People prayed. It was the right way to start Good Friday.

I was in London later in the day so went to the Commemoration of the Passion at St Patrick's, Soho Square. Timeless, powerful. The Passion account from St John's Gospel was beautifully sung. Long lines of people moved slowly up the aisle to venerate the Cross. Then the stark silence as things finish and there is just the bare chancel and the thought of Calvary.

Now at home after Hot Cross Buns I'm about to start sorting and packing things for the joy that comes on Sunday. This will be a special Easter as it includes a Divine Mercy trip to Poland, about which you'll be reading in due course.

Periodically, I met readers of this blog and so I don't feel you are all anonymous. It's a very genuine message when I wish you all a very happy Easter.


angela said...

And a Happy Easter to you Joanna from a reader

Pearl of Tyburn said...

You sound like you had a very spiritually fulfilling good Friday. It must have been inspiring to gather together like that and sing "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." That hymn is one of the major ones sung in Britain, isn't it? Isaac Watts really had a gift for writing, I think.

I'd love to become one of the readers who meets you someday!