Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Sun 27 March 2016
Andrew writes ...
At Easter, we welcome a mix of volunteers and guests on retreat to share in our devotions and celebrations. Our Easter workparty volunteers have made the most of the opportunities to get outside and have been busy in the gardens. In the vegetable garden, eight new ‘no-dig’ beds have been created with the help of our Estate team. The beds are now full of soil and prepared for planting – the first broad bean plants are in! Much tidying and pruning has gone on which has given an excuse for a good bonfire.
While this work has been taking place, Hillary and our two lambing assistants, Sue and Robin, have been awaiting the arrival of this year’s lambs. So far, five lambs have been born to Greyface Dartmoor ewes and, on Easter Day, twins were born to one of the Manx Loaghtan ewes. Many more lambs are due and no doubt there will be regular updates on our Facebook page.
As Holy Week progressed, we started to look towards the weekend and the remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection. On the evening of Maundy Thursday, we all gathered to wash each other’s hands and to share a meal, interspersed with readings. Sue had to leave the gathering for lambing duties just after the reading about Judas leaving the Last Supper and she related later how powerful it had been for her to walk out of the room full of light and friends into the darkness, cold and silence of the courtyard.
On Good Friday, we met in the chapel for a series of readings and then, in silence and carrying the cross between us, walked through the courtyard, across the lawns and up to the back of the Long Barn where the cross was raised once more in its place close to the labyrinth, facing down the Teign Valley. After some time for personal reflection, we met back to the Pound House, for tea and home-made hot cross buns!
The glorious weather of Good Friday was replaced on Holy Saturday with rain and high winds which seemed appropriate for a day when Christians wait for the breakthrough of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Day. Indoor jobs were top of the workparty’s list including flower arranging in the chapel in preparation for Easter Day and planting seeds in the greenhouses.
After breakfast on Easter Day, and during a space between showers, we once more gathered at the cross which had been raised on Good Friday. As a sign of the light of Christ’s resurrection, a torch was lit from a new fire and carried down to the old chapel where the Easter candle was lit and then our individual candles. Together as Community members, Alongsiders and guests, we renewed our baptismal vows and shared bread and wine - as He told us to do - in the Chapel of Mary, Martha and Lazarus which had been beautifully decorated with flowers.
God of Power,
may the boldness of your spirit transform us,
may the gentleness of your spirit lead us,
may the gifts of your spirit equip us to serve and worship you now and always.
The Sheldon Community wishes you all a happy and blessed Easter.