Monday 6th April

April 6th

Christians begin Passover this week with Jews throughout the world. Families celebrate this festival in their house, cut off from the threatening world outside.

Exodus 12. 12-20

12For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the Lord. 13The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance. 15Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel. 16On the first day you shall hold a solemn assembly, and on the seventh day a solemn assembly; no work shall be done on those days; only what everyone must eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your companies out of the land of Egypt: you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a perpetual ordinance. 18In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day, you shall eat unleavened bread. 19For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether an alien or a native of the land. 20You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your settlements you shall eat unleavened bread.

 

1 The day of resurrection! 
Earth, tell it out abroad; 
the passover of gladness, 
the passover of God! 
From death to life eternal, 
from earth unto the sky, 
our Christ hath brought us over, 
with hymns of victory. 

2 Our hearts be pure from evil, 
that we may see aright 
the Lord in rays eternal 
of resurrection light; 
and listening to his accents, 
may hear, so calm and plain, 
his own "All hail!" and, hearing, 
may raise the victor strain. 

3 Now let the heavens be joyful! 
Let earth the song begin! 
Let the round world keep triumph, 
and all that is therein! 
Let all things seen and unseen 
their notes in gladness blend, 
for Christ the Lord hath risen, 
our joy that hath no end. 

St John of Damascus (c675-c750) translated John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

 

Alone as the rooks are

In their high, shaking homes in the sky at the mercy of winds.

Alone as the lurking trout or the owl which hoots

Comfortingly I have a well-crammed mind

And I have deep-down healthy and tough roots.

But in this house where I live

In one big room, there is much solitude,

Solitude which can turn to loneliness if

I let it infect me with its darkening mood.

Away from here I have an abundant life.

Friends, love, acclaim and these are good.

And I have imagination

Which can travel me over mountains and rough seas;

I also have the gift of discrimination.

High in a house which looks over many trees

I collect sunsets and stars which are now a passion.

And I wave my hand to thousands of lives like this,

But will open my window in winter for conversation.

Elizabeth Jennings, Collected Poems, Macmillan 1967

 

 

A prayer for us all

Loving God, bless us all, particularly now.

    when we are comforting others

    when people are isolated

    when we feel overwhelmed ourselves

    when we are afraid.

Help us to remember that you are right here,

now in the midst of us calling us by name. Amen.

 

The Queen speaking from Windsor Castle last night

I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.

I want to thank everyone on the NHS front line, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all. I am sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times.

I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones. Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.

I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.  

The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit; and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children. 

Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort.  

And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation.

It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister. We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do. 

While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed - and that success will belong to every one of us. 

We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.  

 

 

 

 


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