After a late breafast, Anto disappeared for a band rehearsal, and the girls went into town for shopping, leaving me free to take some quiet time to pray and prepare a sermon for Easter Day. After supper I drove out the Vale, bathed by evening sunshine, to attend the Cowbridge Benefice Easter Vigil Eucharist at St Marychurch. With twenty in the congregation, the church was nearly full. The Easter fire blazed in a cast iron barbecue tray in front the south porch, as the sun went down. Four church representatives presented their paschal candles for blessing and one of them was processed into church for the rest of the service. Once again, I was glad just to savour this occasion as a member of the congregation in such a beautiful setting.
My mind went back to Easter ceremonies at St John's with half the number of people attending, having to shout out the prayers of blessing against the sound of a garbage truck manoeuvering a few feet away in the street, or the over-amplified sound of a busker or the night club across the road, touting for early evening passing trade. There was no question of starting any later when the centre got a lot rowdier. Such a sweet joy this night to be at prayer in a naturally quiet place, with only the wind in the trees and occasional birdsong to bless the twilight before the Easter dawn.
Yet, there is no more vital a place to proclaim the Resurrection than in the centre of the city district dedicated to the forms of self indulgent dissipation which pass for leisure in this passing age. The voice of prayer, albeit swallowed up by noise or drowned by a tide of indifference is still the presence of a spiritual pulse a beating heart of faith that connects across the landscapes of town and country to many more tranquil places like this, where the same proclamation is made to the love that remains eternally stronger than death.