Friday, April 10, 2009

A Different Vigil

As you may or may not know, on Maundy Thursday, I have in recent years had a tradition of visiting the church in my home town and sitting there in prayer for about an hour or so.

I do this in gratitude for what I believe Jesus did for me, because I like to try and give a little bit back. Knowing that he had nobody with him 2,000 years ago as he knelt and prayed with the weight of destiny and the knowledge of what he must suffer on his shoulders; I can't help but feel a sadness that his best friends couldn't keep their eyes open just for a while. So with this very much in mind and knowing that God is eternal, I go... to pray for Jesus in Gethsemane in the time leading up to his arrest, even though I know what happened. It's not that I think I'm anything fantastic, I do it completely as a response to what he first did for me.

However, having been to Israel and sat upon the Mount of Olives... I am now acutely aware that churches are perhaps not the best place to do this. Jesus did not go to the temple. Jesus went to the hill that looked across to his city, and watched over it as he prayed.I wanted to connect to that notion a little better. So last night, I changed old habits. I very nearly didn't, if the weather had been inclement... I would have abandoned the notion.

At about midnight, I took a torch and backpack and headed out to Primrose Hill. As you may know from previous Easter entries, this is the hill that every year blooms with a 30ft daffodil cross.... and this year is no exception (although the daffodils have bloomed even earlier and are know dying... and their number was somewhat diminished due to people sledging in winter).

I gingerly hopped across the A46 dual carriageway as Royal Mail lorries thundered past me deep into the night. Making my way along a bridle path, I eventually found the field that led to the hill. As I was now pretty much off the beaten track, I was quite anxious. Despite the presence of the moon, it was quite hard to make out entirely where I was going. I didn't know what critters were out there and my deepest concern was being discovered by some shotgun wielding angry farmer demanding to know my business at midnight... there was the loud sound of a gate rattling, it sounded as if someone had discovered me... but nothing came of it.

So it was that I found myself sitting above the crossbeam of the daffodil cross, illuminated only by the moon's pale light... and looking down upon the streetlights of the sleeping town of Alcester.

It was a moving experience. I really didn't feel alone. I had a great sense of God's presence as I prayed over the town... and for the historical event I was commemorating. I think it was more poignant and relevant for me to be able to do it this way. I eventually left the hill at 1am and made my way back into town. I did stop off and spend some time in the church, but being out there on the hill, really gave me a deeper appreciation and sense of "being there".

Having said that, being on a hill in the middle of nowhere is a little intimidating... especially when you aren't sure you should be there.

I am of a mind to do this again next year... but I'm seriously thinking of gathering a few brave souls to join me.... simply because I feel more could be done with a few more people.

Sorry I've been absent, had a few things on my mind lately... and for those of you who have access to the Inner Sanctum part of my blog, I may expand more a little on said things.

I have had a blog brewing for some time and I hope to post it very soon, however until that time... have an incredibly blessed Easter. Whatever you do with your time, I pray the peace of Christ that was won for us at great cost on that first Good Friday will fill your hearts and minds.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post, I can sense the reverence in your words for our precious Lord and Savior. I too have prayed on the Mt. of Olives overlooking Jerusalem and I have prayed in temples, churches, in my home and on my knees by my bedside. I have noticed the most meaningful and spiritual moments of prayer have had less to do with location and more to do with the purpose, the intent in my heart.


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