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Celebrating Maundy Thursday Together

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Apr, 2020 03:28 PM

Traditionally, clergy and lay ministers from across the Diocese travel to our Cathedral on Maundy Thursday to celebrate the Chrism Mass together.

But this year, lockdown restrictions have meant that hasn't been possible, so Bishop Nicholas has followed the lead of churches throughout the Diocese and has created an online service at the chapel at his home instead.

Clergy are invited to join the service from their own homes and renew their Commitment to Ministry in the service, which also includes prayers over the oil for the anointing of the sick and dying, the oil for the signing with the cross at baptism and the oil of chrism, which gives its name to the Eucharistic service.

Chrism, also called myrrh or myron, is a holy anointing oil that is used for confirmation and at the ordination of priests and represents the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

Filmed in the chapel in the Bishop's home, Bishop Nicholas is joined, via the wonders of editing, by the Revd Canon Anna Macham, Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral, who reads the Gospel.

The hymns are taken from a recording of the Choir of Salisbury Cathedral directed by David Halls. The organist is John Challenger. The recording of Salisbury Cathedral Choir is used by kind permission of Priory Records.

The service can be accessed by YouTube and all those invited to take part (some 900 clergy and lay ministers) have been sent a copy of the order of service so they can join in around 11am, the time when the Cathedral service would be taking place.

Access the clip on YouTube, with links to copies of the service sheet and the sermon, here

Introducing the service Bishop Nicholas said:

"Welcome to the chapel at South Canonry for this very shortened, socially isolated, online, stay at home Eucharist of the Chrism and Renewal of Commitment to Ministry.

"The annual Maundy Thursday cathedral service is one of the highlights of the diocesan year as we prepare together to celebrate the great three days at the heart of Christianity.

"We are all missing access to our churches and cathedral and are feeling the difficulties of ministry in keeping with the guidance to stay home. Yet this small chapel in the bishop’s home feels a bit like Dr Who’s Tardis with more people in it today than ever before. Thank God for the technology that makes it possible for us to meet online, to pray and be together even when we are apart.

"In receiving Communion I will do so for us all. It’s a strange eucharistic theology for these strange separated times in which we are united in Christ."

In his sermon, the Bishop said:

"This week we are remembering the way of the cross and the disruption of our usual practices is very disturbing. We are bewildered and whilst I don’t want to over spiritualise this it is a very different, real way of the cross, and potentially positive experience of Holy Week. As bishops, priests and deacons we have a responsibility to try to make it so for the church and wider community."

Speaking to those who minister in his Diocese he said that the blessing of the oils "is an act done now for the future," noting that they could not be collected until travel restrictions were lifted.

Thanking all those in ministry the Bishop said:

"I am also grateful for the way in which you have been getting on with it."

And noting that "in the coming weeks it is possible that some of you will face a significant increase in the care of the dying, funeral ministry and care of the bereaved," Bishop Nicholas ended his sermon saying:

"We do this because of Christ’s way of the cross which we mark so differently this Holy Week but which celebrates all that God has done for us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to whom be glory now and for ever. Amen."

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