The Fifth Sunday of Lent
St Mary’s and St Andrew’s Worshipping Together
A very warm welcome to all
Jeremiah 31: 31-34; Psalm 51: 1-13; Hebrews 5: 5-10; Gospel: John 12: 20-33
In our Gospel today
Today’s Gospel from John gives me the opportunity to tell you the secret to life. You probably already know what I am going to tell you, though you may not have thought of it as the secret to life. It’s something you’ve seen and experienced over and over. It’s one of those secrets hidden in plain sight. It’s also one of those secrets that can trouble the soul, so we often turn away from it or close our eyes to it. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). So, there you have it. Now you know. That’s the secret to life. It’s the pattern of loss and renewal that runs throughout our lives and our world. Even if you’ve never thought of this as the secret to life, you’ve lived and experienced it, sometimes by choice and other times by chance. Either way it’s there. Please find time to read today’s Gospel, you might get some inkling to what I am trying to share.
Next Sunday (28th March) is Palm Sunday when we will be allowed to gather for Worship, up to a maximum of fifty (50) people. Of course, this will entail observance of the usual social distancing requirements that we previously had when we were opened. In doing this at St Mary’s, our absolute maximum is 40, and this includes children. Very much like before. So, it is incumbent upon me to ask you to revert to our previous arrangement of letting me know if you intend coming to our service at 10 am on Sunday the 28th of March. Just as before, you can either call, text or email me and I will happily put your name on the list.
Beginning of Holy Week
Of course, Palm Sunday sees the beginning of Holy Week and also the attempt to provide appropriate forms of worship therein. This requires specific planning in relation to cleaning and sanitising our Church between services. It also requires no small amount of patience from each of you should things not go as originally planned. Last week I published the dates and times of our proposed Holy Week services and I am entirely hopeful that we will be able to honour that. You may not, however, be aware that I have a pressing family matter that may require my wife Sam and I to travel to England at very short notice, and this may well interfere with my original plans. I will endeavour to keep all of you informed in good time should this be the case. However, as per last Sunday’s Newsletter, below are the proposed services for Holy Week:
Services for Holy Week
- Friday 26th March: Pre-Recorded Service (I intend to continue this for a while yet as I feel it remains to be beneficial to those who still choose not to attend)
- 28th March – Palm Sunday: 10 am Service at St Mary’s
- 29th March – 10 am Morning Prayer at St Mary’s
- 30th March – 10 am Morning Prayer at St Mary’s
- 31st March – 7 pm Compline at St Mary’s
- 1st April – 7 pm Maundy Thursday Service at St Mary’s
- 2nd April – 3 pm – Good Friday – Reserved Sacrament Service (Possibly a Vigil commencing at 7 pm) at St Mary’s
- 3rd April – Pre-recording Easter Sunday Service at St Mary’s
- 3rd April – Holy Saturday 7pm service at St Mary’s
- 4th April – Easter Sunday 6 am Sunrise service with Fire at St Mary’s (This may be subject to change as we are still not allowed to gather outside – I am taking advice)4th April – 10 am – Easter Sunday Holy Communion Service (followed by a zoom lunch at 12 pm (not 1230 pm)
Virtual Hymn Singing
I continue to promote that St Mary’s Organist, Mr Matthew McVey, has asked me to highlight this once more in today’s Newsletter: “As hymn singing in Churches is currently a ‘no go’, and we are unable to meet together for worship, I am inviting everyone to take part in some ‘virtual hymn singing’. I fully support Matthew in this venture and encourage members of both our congregations and afar to consider joining in. Matthew has very kindly provided his email address should you want to get involved in some way, and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
With effect from this Sunday (21st March) Our Church Notice board will be displaying a different image from the Stations of the Cross on a daily basis. If you are passing sometime, please stop and take a look, and contemplate on the image on show. Just give some thought to what actually took place, and how, over the years, we have become guilty of allowing it to only emerge in our minds, during this particular time of the liturgical calendar. We are Resurrection people; we are Easter People. Holy week is the most important period in our faith lives. Remember when we say the Nicene Creed, ‘…He suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures…’ Yes, we are affirming our faith, but we are also calling to mind the tumultuous events that took place at that time.
Now that we will be re-opening soon, I am looking for a volunteer to take on the task of preparing our Readers/Intercessions rota as we move forward again into regular services. This would normally be done 3 months in advance and has been, for some time, the responsibility of Ms Elizabeth Smyth, who is also our Vestry Secretary. It is essential that we have this rota available to everyone who volunteers to read/intercede. I would therefore ask members of either St Mary’s or St Andrew’s to consider taking on this valuable ministry, and to speak to either myself or Elizabeth, who would only be too happy to advise accordingly.
New Public Signage
On the subject of notice boards, our New Pro-Cathedral status notice board has now been installed. I am grateful to Mr Stuart Smith of Alt Ten Interactive for his help in making this happen. I am also grateful to my Warden, Mr David Rose, for overseeing this work to its completion.
St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Carden Place, Aberdeen, is holding a Photograph competition as part of our on-going fund-raising initiatives. The competition will run between Easter Sunday the 4th of April until Trinity Sunday the 30th of May inclusive. We are asking that anyone who wants to enter should submit their photograph(s) to Mr David Rose via the St Mary’s email address at email@example.com The photographs would then be displayed on the St Mary’s website – with a number and perhaps an appropriate caption. What are considered to be the best three photographs will be decided by St Mary’s Vestry, the owners of which will receive a small gift for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. The entry fee for each photo submitted will be £2. Payment of this can be made either direct to St Mary’s Bank account or via the Pay-Pal donation function on our website at www.stmaryscardenplace.org.uk Alternatively, if neither of these arrangements are suitable for you, please contact me and we can arrange something else. I will publish some guidelines that will need to be followed in next week’s newsletter.
The Diocesan Newsletter is now available to view online at https://aoepiscopal.scot/diocesan-newsletter-18-march-2021/ This link is also available via our website at www.stmaryscardenplace.org.uk
Services/ Events at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral week commencing Sunday 21st March 2021
Lent Devotional Prayer – 7 pm, live, every evening during Lent via Cn Terry’s Face-book Page
Sunday 21st March – 9.55 am – Pre-recorded service for 5th Sunday in Lent
Friday 26th March – 10 am – Pre-Recording for Sunday Service
Sunday 28th March – 10 am – Palm Sunday Eucharist
Commencement of Holy Week
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”
(John 12: 24)
Rev Canon Terry Taggart