A well-attended Sunday, some of the faithful away, but well balanced by a sprinkling of occasionals, and one or two new folk. The happy, holy chaos of the procession around the streets at All Saints, and then our Bishop Stephen, presiding at the Liturgy at St Mary's. This year his pilgrimage through Holy Week sees him based principally in our Deanery. The first time I have ever heard a Bishop begin a Homily with the words, 'I have only been tear-gassed once...'.
Despite being Ordained for over 20 years, there always seems to be a sense of Holy Week suddenly taking me by surprise. This year has been no exception, despite an attempt to get ahead. Palm Sunday has taken us where we need to be, spiritually and practically, and I trust we are ready with readers, and with feet to wash and eyes to watch for Maundy Thursday. There will be Holy Oil Stocks to prepare, various bits of furniture to move, service sheets to find or produce which, together with the Daily Liturgies, will take us through the next three days. An encouraging number of folk have come forward and responded to the invitation to Confession or Counsel.
A helpfully reflective Evening Prayer and Benediction tonight - the Lord turned up. As there are houses built quite close around All Saints, its often possible in the silence to hear conversations going on outside, children shouting and playing, car doors being shut - a real sense that we are the Church in the world, and the Lord's Blessing is given for all in our Parish, whether they are aware of it or not. As we pray in a petition we often use on Sunday evenings, may the Lord remember those who have said no prayers on this Lord's Day, and those who do not know how to pray.