Dear friends,

This has to be the most strange Holy Week that any of us have ever experienced!

Instead of fellowship with our neighbours and friends in St Donards and Bloomfield Methodist, we are confined to our homes and wondering how long lockdown will continue or if things will get even more stringent before restrictions are lifted. How amazing though that we have been able to keep in touch through our church web site and via Livelink services and it has been so encouraging to receive messages of support from so many, worshipping at home & from all over the world.

Today I searched out a lino cut print which my father had created some years ago and share this with you. So many images of Christ leave me cold. Maybe I’m biased, but this one seems to capture something of his compassion, love and grace better than most and it made me think of a hymn by Thomas Kelly son of a Judge of the Irish Court of Common Pleas, born in Dublin, July 13, 1769, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He was destined for the Bar, and entered the Temple, London with that intention; but having undergone a very marked spiritual conversion he became a preacher of the gospel and esteemed hymn writer, some of which endure to this day.

You might enjoy reading the words of this hymn slowly while viewing the picture, imagining that even more strange first Holy Week when the perfect Son of God gave up his life so that we, wretched imperfect sinners, might instead enjoy everlasting hope.

1.The head that once was crowned with thorns
is crowned with glory now;
a royal diadem adorns
the mighty Victor’s brow.

2 The highest place that heaven affords
is his, is his by right,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
and heaven’s eternal Light:

3 The joy of all who dwell above,
the joy of all below,
to whom he manifests his love,
and grants his name to know.

4 To them the cross, with all its shame,
with all its grace, is given;
their name an everlasting name,
their joy the joy of heaven.

5 They suffer with the Lord below,
they reign with him above;
their profit and their joy to know
the mystery of his love.

6 The cross he bore is life and health,
though shame and death to him;
his people’s hope, his people’s wealth,
their everlasting theme.

Please do continue to keep in touch and with one another and rich, rich blessings to you and your dear families at home and overseas this Easter Season.

Looking forward to sharing worship with you on Easter Day at 11am via Live Streaming.

Yours most sincerely,

Frank