org's blog- The confessions of a Sci-fi addicted vicar

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Reflections on Maundy Thursday/ Good Friday 2012 #blOrg
I've given up Twitter for the few days leading up to Easter, so feel strangely dislocated, but am benefiting from not having it as a distraction. The following are my reflections on things so far, in rather more than 140 characters!

It's with a degree of nervousness I've begun the Tridium (Maundy Thursday-Holy Saturday) in my first year as Vicar of St Michael's. Worry about remembering how the services worked here over 7 years ago has mixed with the fact my predecessor changed things after I left anyway, and so there's been quite a bit of catching-up to do. I've been very grateful for the assistance of the Curate here, without whose guidance I'd have made a right mess of things no doubt.

Yesterday evening's service went really well, with oils received, having been blest by the Bishop in the morning, and then there was the foot-washing. In my previous parish the congregation had refused to have their feet washed, and there was no way I could force them to, so I reluctantly gave up the practice. I'd forgotten how moving it is to kneel down and wash the feet of the people I am called to serve. It's a right and proper reminder that I'm still a deacon as well as a priest, and being vicar should never become a power-trip. So, humbling in a very good sense.

We also stripped the altar, and benefited from music on the piano for a change, along with having the choir down from the gallery and at the front, making for a more reflective, intimate service.

Finally there was the Watch, something else I'd not done for 7 years. Three hours in silence and darkness in the church. Wonderfully atmospheric, and there was just enough light for me to work my way through Mark's Gospel. Made it to the end of the Watch without dropping off too.

Today was the ecumenical march of witness up Welling High Street. To be frank, I'd been dreading it, not being a fan of militant Christianity, but the march was conducted without fuss, and was as un-intrusive as a procession of 100 or so Christians up a busy high street can be. We stopped a few times to sing hymns, but there was no preaching or banners, just a wide range of Christians from different churches walking together in remembrance of Christ. Powerful stuff.

I'd also been dreading the 2pm service at St Michael's with the veneration of the cross, and I could feel every protestant bone in my body shuddering as congregation members knelt down to kiss the feet of Jesus on the crucifix held before them. But whilst it really isn't me, those who came forward did so with reverence and a simple desire to make a symbolic show of their love for Jesus, and who am I to get in their way? The service ended up having a simple beauty that I was more than comfortable with.

The next service is the Vigil Mass at 8pm tomorrow, another complicated affair which I remember not enjoying much when I was here last. Hoping this will be pleasant surprise too.

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