Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter persecution

I was glad of the quietness of Holy Saturday, to send out some Easter greetings, and prepare a homily for the Easter Vigil. The City's half marathon day created traffic problems for anyone going about their usual business during the day, so I was glad not to need to go out until after six. By that time, the roads were clear and transit to St Germans was easy.

Just fifteen of us gathered as the sun set, to kindle and bless the fire, process through the church with the Paschal Candle and proclaim Christ's resurrection. I took great pleasure in chanting the Exultet in the traditional manner. The acoustic of the building is very sympathetic to unaccompanied singing. It went well, thanks to the great team work of the servers and congregation members involved in the readings. It was gratifying that Hamid was there, having participated properly in the observances of Lent and Holy Week for the first time since his baptism.

I put all the house clocks forward, and enjoyed this week's interestingly complex episode of 'Follow the Money', offering a lay person's guide into the world of insider trading and dodgy corporate finance. Then, I made an effort to go to bed early enough to compensate for the loss of an hour. It's never easy to go to sleep however, but without the need to get up for an early service, this was less of a problem than it has been in the past, when the arrival of Summer Time clashes with Paschaltide.

There were over fifty of us for the Solemn Mass, blessing of the Easter Garden and procession, and the sun came in and out of the clouds brightening the interior of the church wonderfully.
After the service, we said goodbye to Hamid with a small card and a gift. He moves to Portsmouth to accommodation which isn't in a hostel, something he's been waiting for over many months. I'd promised to write him a letter of commendation so that a Portsmouth parish could be quickly appraised of the detail of his story, which is still difficult for him to express adequately given his limited English, but being so busy this past few days, I'd forgotten, and promised to take one to him later in the day.

Kath and Rhiannon arrived just at the same time as I arrived home, and Owain came an hour and a half later, having overslept due to the advancing of the clock, so we had our lunch rather later than usual. For Clare this was hardly the pleasant family weekend she was looking forward to, being stricken with a very nasty virus with complex symptoms. I had to hunt for a pharmacy still open, over the other side of town, to buy her some cough medicine before meeting Hamid to give him the promised letter. 

After we greeted each other, he told me that he'd just heard on the six o'clock news about the bombing of an Easter rally by Pakistani Christians in Lahore, with over sixty deaths. That's also in the Punjab, about four hours journey away from Rawalpindi, where he comes from. The Christian minority of the population in Pakistan is concentrated in the Punjab. I can only hope that the Home Office immigration court judges are fully appraised of the facts which convert deportees have to face if not granted leave to stay, and change their minds.

Tonight's final episode of 'The Night Manager' was an ingenious re-write of the original ending of the book, but disappointingly, I didn't spot the vignette appearance of Le Carre himself, Hitchcock style. Amazingly good telly drama. Fascinating how some top movie makers are now turning their hand to making TV serialised works instead of blockbuster movies. It must be hugely profitable, and it makes for high quality home entertainment as well.

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