Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Feast of Feasts

I was delighted that Father Mark asked if I would celebrate the eight o'clock Eucharist at St Catherine's this morning, as it meant that Clare and I could worship together on the Feast of Feasts. There were just eight of us in a church seating several hundred, including a dad, granny and two children - perhaps their only opportunity to attend together. No everyone can cope with the hour or the occasion of a big Easter Day Mass, when there are conflicting demands on family life.

By the time we returned, Rhiannon was already up and about, and had completed her Easter egg hunt, bright eyes and full of excitement at the magic of the Easter Bunny. There was plenty of time for breakfast with the rest of the family before I set out to drive to Ystradowen for the Sung Eucharist there at eleven. The church seats about three dozen, and it was nearly full. There were little children, teenagers, men and women, a really mixed age congregation. We began by blessing the Paschal Candle and singing as we did last night in St Marychurch, a creditable metrical version of the ancient Paschal Proclamation, the Exsultet, written by Richard Hanford. He was a priest Vicar in Llandaff Cathedral at the time I was ordained. He's now retired and has returned to South Wales again to live.

It was sad to see that the pub next door to the church has now closed and has a 'To Let' sign fixed over the sign board on the forecourt. Such a loss to the village. At least on this day, people arriving by car for church were able to take advantage of the unused car park instead of blocking the narrow lane and main road nearby.

I was home again after the service in good time for a family lunch, and more Easter egg exchanges. Much as I enjoy chocolate, I find this single minded consumerism rather overwhelming, so remote from what this day means to me. The joy of the occasion is tinged with sadness that its true meaning is not shared with my offspring. All I can do is entrust them to the One whose love embraces and liberates us all.

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