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Magazine April 2020

The article from 100 years ago focusses on Good Friday. However Easter is the real focus this month and quotes and a poem examine the meaning of Easter. There is something about the customs that have developed linked to Easter.

An article concentrates on the month of April and Charlie has decided to give you an insight into his doggy mind.  Elaine produced a copy of a prayer card from Winchester Cathedral and this led to facts about a statue found there. She also expressed thanks to helpers at recent church events. A copy of  the Plian Goespl should bring comfort to those who often hit the wrong letter on a keyboard.

A Happy Easter to you all.       Eva.

The Good Friday Procession.

High and clear, thin and sweet, the sound came through the evening air, and fluttered round the squalid courts and alleys of club Street and Idlewells. One by one doors were opened, and men and women appeared in doorways or gathered in groups outside the houses. The sound grew nearer, louder, more distinct, and round the corner came a man in a fluttering white garment, holding high up against the evening sky a golden cross.

            It was the Good Friday procession, and the white-robed choir, following the cross, turned into the alley, singing the old familiar hymn “There is a green hill far away.” behind the choir came two tall priests, the younger beckoning, as he walked, to the children who followed open-mouthed. As the procession passed there was a reverent silence in the alley, which more often resounded with the shouts of drunken men and women. Haggard, bloated faces peered from behind filthy curtains; in the public-houses men crowded to the windows to look; more than one woman joined audibly in the hymn while others sang beneath their breath.

            “He died that we might be forgiven,

             He died to make us good” –  sang the choir.      Memories of forgotten childhood, dead hopes, stifled ideals, stirred in the hearers’ hearts, and a longing for something, they knew not what, rose in their souls.  Some followed the procession, walking alongside the singers, or joining on at the end, but the majority stood watching and listening until the last surplice had disappeared round the corner, and the cross, beckoning, uplifting, leading, had passed from sight.

From the Church magazine 100 years ago.

Verses from  Passiontide:-  Before the cross.

O Son of Man, foredoomed to die,
 O Love of God in man Divine!
Have we no tears, who pass Thee by?
Behold a thousand wounds are Thine,
Wounds in Thy Hands, Thy Feet, Thy Side,
Immortal anguish crucified.
Yet there is hope, and we will kneel,
O Christ, before Thy blood-stained Throne,
And tell Thee all our shame and feel
Thy pardon melt our hearts of stone.
So love shall flood our lives beside
Thy Love’s death glory, Crucified!

B. Rosenthai.

The Month of April.

The fourth month of the year and the first one to have 30 days.

There seems to be no definite reason why it was called April. It is most likely to have been named after the Roman goddess, Aphrilis,  that is the Greek goddess, Aphrodite. It is possibly linked to the Latin word,’ aperit’ i.e ‘open’. This relates to the way buds open on trees and shrubs and the earth begins to ‘open up’ displaying new growth.

It was known as castre-monap by the Anglo Saxons.

There are two flowers chosen for this month, the daisy and the sweet pea. The first would definitely be in flower but sweet peas usually flower later in the year. The daisy is associated with love, purity and innocence and the sweet pea also signifies love and purity but also youth.

The two signs of the Zodiac associated with April are Aries, up to the 19th followed by Taurus.  Those born at the beginning of the month are determined, motivated, passionate, and cheerful and confident leaders. Those born under Taurus are seen as stubborn, a bit of a dark horse with a desire for luxury and comfort. These are very different traits than those associated with the month’s flowers.

The birth stone is the diamond which speaks of luxury and love.

It is difficult to link a specific bird to the month although “the cuckoo comes in April and sings its song in May.” However fewer and fewer are seen or heard so perhaps a finch is more appropriate as they are still seen visited gardens. But which one?  The colourful goldfinch, the greenfinch, the chaffinch or another of this large family of birds. They differ markedly in size, habits, and colouring. They are all seed eaters which is reflected in the shape of their beaks as they all have short and stumpy ones. Their food preferences differ markedly.  

I have selected two who frequent my bird feeders. Firstly the smallest of them all – the goldfinch with its unmistakeable bright colours. The area of red on its face and the gold bars on its wings when in flight are easy ways of identifying it. Its liquid twittering song made it a favourite cage bird in Victorian times. It song is frequently heard as it sings from prominent places e.g. TV aerials. The greenfinch is a much larger bird and appears more aggressive when feeding. It is olive green plumage is brightened up by the yellow bars on its wings and side. Its song is very strong with a large variety of notes and is often heard at dawn and dusk. Both birds, along with most of the finches,  have a courting ritual touching beaks, a ‘kiss’.

A big thank you.

Thank you to the ladies who prepared the food for Pancake Day and the Sunday Lunch. Thank you to for their band of helpers who helped serve the food. Thank you too to those who tidied up the hall when the events were over.

Well done everyone.

Elaine.

THE PLIAN GOSPEL.

Aocdrnicg to rsecareh at Cmbagrdie Uinervtisy, it denos’t mtater what oredr the ltteers in a word are in, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is that the frist and lsat ltteer be  at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as awlohe.

For God so leovd the wrlod that he gvae his olny bttegoen son, that woehvesor belvetieh in him sholud not peisrh, but htah evlerainstg lfie.

 No doubt a comfort to us all! But try typing this quickly!

Its me again! Charlie.

Its time I put paw to paper again and bring you up to date. I am glad the weather seems to have improved. My usual walk is a nightmare; it’s just mud, mud and more mud. The area is now smaller and big machines have been going up and down. What right have they to disrupt my walk and stop my friends from coming to join me. At least Chris brings Jake here by car now so we can still ramble round and get muddy together.

What has been happening on a Friday lunchtime? Usually I doze in the office and then walk home but not recently. I’m taken into a cold church and dumped! I just sit and hope someone will speak to me.  I’m left as everyone else gets up and strolls round the church. Why? I ask myself.

I am at last seeing and hearing what is happening. They wander round and stop at each of the pictures – I had not taken any notice of them before. Now I am beginning to see; it is some sort of walk, and not a pleasant one, for someone carrying a cross and then he is placed on it and dies. Why? That’s the puzzling bit and why are people interested it? Now I remember – I have done this before at this time of the year. I can see it means a lot to those who follow and listen to what is said. It’s some sort of ‘journey’ following Christ as He dies for you and me.  Charlie.

A prayer from Winchester Cathedral.

Almighty God
As we come to this holy place
Carrying the cares and hopes of those we love.
Hear our prayer for each of them.
Heal, guide and strengthen them,
In your great goodness
And according to their need.
And help us always to trust in your mercy.
Through our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

This prayer led me back to ‘Cathedral Meditations’ by Joan Bristow. She recalls how Winchester cathedral was saved when the foundations were subsiding.

In the early twentieth century the east end was in danger of collapsing and the walls needed underpinning. Francis Fox, a consultant engineer, was approached. Labourers were employed to dig deep trenches below the walls but the high water table made their task impossible as they soon flooded. A diver, William Walker, was employed and the beech logs, the foundations for the retrochoir,  were dug out and replaced by sacks of cement. The water was so muddy he had to rely on feel as he could not see what he was doing. He worked 6 hours a day for about 5 years in 20 feet (6 metres) of water until the whole cathedral was underpinned. A hundred and fifty workers were employed and the cathedral was saved although the crypt is known to flood in bad weather.

Today visitors can see a small statue of William Walker, modelled on Francis Fox, near the Lady Chapel. The inscription states that he was a diver “who saved this cathedral with his two hands.” Perhaps it is significant that a mistake commemorates the two men whose dedication preserved this cathedral.

It is obvious very important to have firm foundations for such a magnificent building. However, I quote,  it is “even more vital  – – to have a firm and solid foundation for our faith, which will be as a rock when we pass through treacherous times and feel we may sink.” Perhaps this message is even more relevant today when the world is in turmoil with a very uncertain future and Christians are under pressure from all sides.

The Climax of the Church’s Year.

 “There is no Easter without a Good Friday.” Matthew Fox.

“Each year Lent and Easter are, once again, the rediscovery and the recovery of what we were made through are own baptismal death and resurrection.” Alexander Schmemano,

An Easter poem.

“Last night did Christ the Sun rise from the dark,
The mystic harvest of the fields of God,
And now the little wandering tribes of bees
Are brawling in the scarlet flowers abroad.
The winds are soft with birdsong, all night long
Darkling the nightingale her descant told,
And now inside the church the happy folk
The Alleluia chant a hundredfold.
O father of thy folk, be thine by right
The Easter joy, the threshold of the light.”
Sedulius Scotus. (9th century Irish poet.)

Some Easter Customs.

Firstly: “Why Easter? “

There was a goddess worshipped before Christian times called Eostara, the goddess of rebirth. It is possible that the word, Easter, derived from her name and, like other Christian festivals, Easter superseded here festival doing away with a pagan tradition.

Secondly: Why Easter eggs and Easter bunnies or hares?

Eggs are a sign of new life and rebirth. It has long been a custom to decorate eggs and hand them out as gifts. This is also a sign of Easter as Christ’s death and resurrection points to new life and rebirth. As it was traditionally a time for baptism this idea was even more appropriate. The tradition of staining eggs red developed in Mesopotamia and is still practised in the Orthodox Church. This was a sign of Christ shedding His blood for our sins and for the red wine used at the Eucharist, His blood.

Decorated eggs were popular in the 13th century and are still popular todaay. Eggs were first made of chocolate by Cadbury’s, who initiated the Easter egg hunt in 1875. Now eggs can be found in many edible forms and card ones can be purchased in which special gift can be placed. Other customs evolved including egg rolling. In the U.S.A. an Easter egg roll takes place on the lawn on Easter Monday.

The Easter bunny is a figure from folklore and was seen as an animal bringing eggs to the country dwellers. There is a legend about an egg laying hare in parts of Europe. In Germany it is known as “Osterhase” or “Osterhase Haws”. Now chocolate rabbits are popular except in Australia where rabbits   are seen as pests. Here an Easter bilby, a native animal, is used instead.

Today other chocolate animals are found including chicks.  Easter biscuits and Simnel cakes are also popular.