Male and Female Models of Discipleship in John’s Gospel: Sunday 11th March 2018
Anne Futcher’s final event of her busy month with us before returning to her parish in Exeter was to lead a Living Room Dialogue exploring Male and female roles of discipleship in John’s Gospel, particularly looking at the examples of Nicodemus in chapter 3 and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in chapter 4. She gave an overview of John’s theology before looking at the particular examples in these two chapters and her conclusion that Jesus was more concerned about discipleship than gender specific roles. Anne had to be whisked off to the airport to catch her 23.00 Emirates plane via dubai to London Heathrow and I followed her carrying a parcel she’d left behind the following early morning at 02.15. I was able to meet her off the plane, hand over her parcel and have a quick cup of coffee before she caught the bus to Exeter and I caught the train via London to Gloucester.
Meeting Isla: 12th-17th March 2018
It was exciting to spend five days with our daughter Alex and Dan and their newly born daughter Isla, my first meeting. The first two days were spent in Ross-on-Wye, where they were at the end of their holiday, which included a lovely 10kms walk out of Monmouth, up into the hills overlooking the city and back along the River Wye which after recent snow was in full flood with the meltwater.
On the Wednesday we drove back to their home in Hitchin. Dan was back to work immediately, but as the weather was fine Alex and I got out and about on foot, meeting up with her fellow new mums for an ice cream one time and meeting a former colleague of Alex, a church youth worker, for a coffee. And it was lovely just to be able to relax and to read Isla stories.
The weather turned back to winter on leaving Heathrow, the snow beginning to fall and the plane needed to be de-iced before take-off.
Preparing for Holy Week and Easter
Holy Week for us in the Middle East begins on the Friday before Palm Sunday, so really is a Holy Ten Days, but having decided on telling the Passion Story in a variety of different ways in our Palm Weekend services and using many people to be involved, especially for the crowd responses for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and Pilate’s interactions with the crowds when he tries to have Jesus released, it is sometimes a challenge to pin people down. This is especially so on Sunday evenings as the road in front of the Cathedral compound has been made one-way, creating longer journeys for most people at a time when the roads are already crowded, so people are anxious about making a commitment.
The Easter News is all prepared for emailing and distribution, as well as going onto our website. It has an Easter message, details of services though Holy Week and Easter Day and news of events coming up in our life together.
Palm Sunday weekend: 23rd-25th March 2018
Telling the story in a variety of different ways seems to be the most important part of our worship through Holy week and Easter and in Greek this is often apparently done by using the historic present tense, which draws the readers or hearers into the text into the story, into the present time of the story as if we are there. This is surely the function of a well-told story that we become participants in it. I felt this was so both in the dramatic reading of the Passion from Susan Sayers’ simply but well told story of The Road to the Cross and the dramatization of the crucifixion and resurrection by our older Samaritans group. It was as if we were there, especially when Neha appeared from behind the big rock, alive following the crucifixion.
Remembering Camille Jones and her family: Saturday 24th March 2018
In response to the tragic death of Camille Jones, whose funeral was held yesterday in her home town in Canada, I had suggested keeping the cathedral open for those who would appreciate it as a place to come and pray for her and her family. This note went out to the St Christopher’s School community:
Many of us in the St Christopher’s School and wider community have been touched by the death of Camille Jones.
Although St Christopher’s Cathedral in Manama is regularly open in daylight hours for anyone to come and pray, on Saturday 24 March between 3:00pm and 5:00pm the Cathedral will be open for all who would like to come and pray for Camille and her family. There will be a book for messages of condolence and candles will be available to light for all who find that a helpful symbol.
About fifty people came to the Cathedral at different times over the two hours and it was clearly appreciated. In our frenetic society we rarely give ourselves time and quiet to sit still and reflect and as well as candles to light, a book of condolence for all who wanted to write a message, I’d prepared some prayers for a time of bereavement.