'It's your busy time of year, vicar' people often say at Christmas time but for sheer quantity of services there's nothing quite like Easter, which is quite right really, because it is by far the more important festival.
Our celebration of these crucial days began yesterday when St James School came into the church for their end of school service. I had recruited twelve 'apostles' from year six to occupy the tables set out at the front of the church for a re-enactment of the Last Supper, complete with bread from Pete's bakery and 'pretend wine' (actually blackcurrant juice). The head boy and head girl read the lesson (beautifully).
Later there were Easter egg prizes for good behaviour presented by me, prizes for the winners of a dancing competition, presented by Simon Hughes MP, our chair of governors, and palm crosses for everyone to take home.
If, earlier in the day, we had a re-enactment of the Last Supper, that evening we had something more approaching the real thing with the Lord's Supper in the context of a wonderful meal prepared by St Anne's for the people of St Anne's, St Mary's and St James sitting down together to eat, drink, and remember Christ.
I spoke on the meaning of the Lord's Supper and recalled the grace used at school dinners in our church school in West Norwood: 'each time we eat, may we remember God's love.' That strikes me as being as good an explanation of communion as you would get in any theological text book.
Then to today, Good Friday, with a family service for St Anne's and St James at St Anne's where I spoke on the two thieves of the cross, before we walked in procession to the Blue, meeting the party from St Mary's on the way, for our open air service at which Charlie led (see picture above) and I preached. It was good to be proclaiming the love of Christ there in the heart of Bermondsey.
From the Blue we all walked back to St James for a delicious meal of of homemade soups and bread, followed by a meditation in words and music on the meaning of the cross, whilst the children took part in a Good Friday craft session nearby.
It was a full day, but it was a good day - three churches together, praising Jesus and proclaiming his love.