Friday, 30 April 2010

Springtime in Cromarty - 5

I have lots of wallflower plants in my garden in Inverness, but none of them are quite like this! It is amazing how this flowering currant is literally growing out of the wall - I wonder where it gets all its root support and minerals from?

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Springtime in Cromarty - 4

Spring flowers even bloom behind the bars of the courthouse and jail.

We thank thee, O our Father,
for all thy loving care;
we thank thee that thou madest
the world so bright and fair.
We thank thee for the sunshine,
and for the pleasant showers;
and O, our God, we thank thee,
we thank thee for the flowers.

Out in the sunny meadows
and in the woodlands cool,
upon the breezy hillside,
and by each reedy pool,
and in the quiet pasture,
and by the broad highway;
all pure and fresh and stainless,
they spring up every day.

And in the dusty city,
where busy crowds pass by,
and where the tall dark houses
stand up and hide the sky;
and where through lanes and alleys
no pleasant breezes blow,
e'en there, O God, our Father,
thou mak'st the flowers grow.

And whether in the city
or in the fields they dwell;
always the same sweet message
the fair, sweet flowers tell.
For they are all so wondrous,
they show thy power abroad;
and they are all so beauteous,
they tell thy love, O Lord.


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Springtime in Cromarty - 3

Many of the houses and gardens in Cromarty are beautifully cared for. There has been plenty of Spring cleaning taking place after all the winter storms.

Teach me, my God and King,
in all things thee to see,
and what I do in anything
to do it as for thee.

A man that looks on glass,
on it may stay his eye;
or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
and then the heaven espy.

All may of thee partake;
nothing can be so mean,
which with this tincture, "for thy sake,"
will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
makes drudgery divine:
who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
makes that and the action fine.

This is the famous stone
that turneth all to gold;
for that which God doth touch and own
cannot for less be told.

George Herbert (1593-1632)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Springtime in Cromarty - 2

Kindly spring again is here,
Trees and fields in bloom appear;
Hark! the birds with artless lays
Warble their Creator’s praise.

Where in winter all was snow,
Now the flowers in clusters grow;
And the corn, in green array,
Promises a harvest-day.

Lord, afford a spring to me,
Let me feel like what I see;
Speak, and by Thy gracious voice,
Make my drooping soul rejoice.

On Thy garden deign to smile,
Raise the plants, enrich the soil;
Soon Thy presence will restore
Life to what seemed dead before.

John Newton (1725-1807)

Monday, 26 April 2010

Springtime in Cromarty - 1

Recently I paid a visit to Cromarty, which is located on the East (far) end of the Black Isle. This beautiful coastal town was looking particularly captivating and glorious with all the Spring bulbs in bloom.

Lo, the fair beauty of earth,
From the death of the winter arising!
Every good gift of the year
Now with its Master returns.

Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that art hallowed for ever;
Day wherein Christ arose,
Breaking the kingdom of death.

Salve, festa dies by Bishop Fortunatus (530-609)

Sunday, 25 April 2010

4th Sunday of Easter

Love's redeeming work is done,
fought the fight, the battle won.
Lo, our Sun's eclipse is o'er!
Lo, he sets in blood no more!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal!
Christ has burst the gates of hell;
death in vain forbids him rise;
Christ has opened paradise.

Lives again our victorious King;
where, O death, is now thy sting?
Dying once, he all doth save;
where thy victory, O grave?

Soar we now where Christ has led,
following out exalted Head;
made like him, like him we rise,
ours the cross, the grave, the skies.

Hail the Lord of earth and heaven!
Praise to thee by both be given:
thee we greet triumphant now;
hail, the Resurrection thou!

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Tomorrow, I shall start a new series of posts entitled 'Spring in Cromarty'.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Stained Glass at Fort George - 3

This window depicts St Martin of Tours - who many soldiers regard as their patron saint.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Stained Glass at Fort George - 2

Here we see St George slaying the dragon - a most suitable image for his feast day!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Stained Glass at Fort George - 1

Here we have a view of the impressive inside of the Garrison Chapel at Fort George. The Chapel contains some magnificent stained glass, and we shall be looking at two of the windows over the next couple of days.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

St Columba's - 9

Here is a close up shot of the new statue of St Columba - our patron saint. It complements the two existing statues of Our Lady and the Sacred Heart.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

St Columba's - 8

Here we see the brand new statue of St Columba, which is due to be blessed on his feast day - 9 June.

Monday, 19 April 2010

St Columba's - 7

Here we see a festal flower display in the new church. This Spring we have also been able to enjoy some lovely daffodils planted in troughs outside the main church door.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

3rd Sunday of Easter

The day of resurrection!
Earth, tell it out abroad;
the Passover of gladness,
the Passover of God.
From death to life eternal,
from earth unto the sky,
our Christ hath brought us over,
with hymns of victory.

Our hearts be pure from evil,
that we may see aright
the Lord in rays eternal
of resurrection light;
and listening to his accents,
may hear so calm and plain
his own "All hail!" and, hearing,
may raise the victor strain.

Now let the heavens be joyful!
Let earth her song begin!
The round world keep high triumph,
and all that is therein!
Let all things seen and unseen
their notes of gladness blend,
for Christ the Lord hath risen,
our joy that hath no end.

John of Damascus (ca. 675-749)
trans. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

St Columba's - 6

This joyful Eastertide,
away with sin and sorrow!
My Love, the Crucified,
hath sprung to life this morrow.
Had Christ, that once was slain,
ne'er burst his three-day prison,
our faith had been in vain;
but now is Christ arisen,
arisen, arisen, arisen.

Death's flood hath lost its chill,
since Jesus crossed the river:
Lover of souls, from ill
my passing soul deliver, Refrain

My flesh in hope shall rest,
and for a season slumber,
till trump from east to west
shall wake the dead in number. Refrain

George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848-1934)

Friday, 16 April 2010

St Columba's - 5

Almighty and eternal God,
you created all things in wonderful beauty and order.
Help us to perceive
how still more wonderful is the new creation
by which in the fulness of time
you redeemed your people
through the sacrifice of our passover, Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

St Columba's - 4

Christ yesterday and today
the beginning and the end
Alpha and Omega
all time belongs to him
and all the ages
to him be glory and power
through every age for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

St Columba's - 3

Here we see the 2010 Paschal Candle burning brightly - a wonderful symbol of the presence of the Risen Lord.

May the light of Christ, rising in glory,
dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

St Columba's - 2

Here we see a close up of the new cross which is located above the sanctuary area. We are hoping to get it properly lit in the near future.

By his holy
and glorious wounds
may Christ our Lord
guard us
and keep us. Amen.

Monday, 12 April 2010

St Columba's - 1

It is some now since I featured St Columba's Culloden on the blog - so I shall post a few photos of this new church in the outskirts of Inverness over the coming days.

Those of you with a keen eye for detail (and an excellent memory) will spot that the church looks a little different to when I last showed it you 11 months ago.

The figure of the Risen Christ has been placed on a cross which is more a throne than the former tree of Calvary. There are strong red and blue markings on the cross to remind us of the blood and water which flowed from the body of Christ - these are rich symbols of Baptism and the Eucharist. These markings also remind us of Our Lord's Divine Mercy. The gold star behind the cross is intended to bring to mind Our Lord's Epiphany, Transfiguration, and Ascension.

The walls around and inside the sanctuary area which used be grey have now been painted in gold and green colours. The green colour that you see covers up many other shades of green below. We had to make several attempts before we got it right. Sales of Dulux paint in the Highlands have done very well over recent months!

we share in the light of your glory
through your Son, the light of the world.
Purify our minds by this Easter celebration
and bring us one day to the feast of eternal light.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Easter Octave - 8

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Ye sons and daughters of the King,
whom heavenly hosts in glory sing,
today the grave hath lost its sting. Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

On that first morning of the week,
before the day began to break,
the Marys went their Lord to seek. Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

An Angel bade their sorrow flee,
for thus he spake unto the three:
'Your Lord is gone to Galilee.' Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

That night the Apostles met in fear,
amidst them came their Lord most dear,
and said: 'Peace be unto you here!' Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

When Thomas afterwards had heard
that Jesus had fulfilled his word,
he doubted if it were the Lord. Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

'Thomas, behold my side,' saith he,
'my hands, my feet, my body see;
'and doubt not, but believe in me.' Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

No longer Thomas then denied;
he saw the feet, the hands, the side;
'Thou art my Lord and God,' he cried. Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Bless├Ęd are they that have not seen,
and yet whose faith bath constant been,
in life eternal they shall reign. Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

On this most holy day of days,
to God your hearts and voices raise
in laud, and jubilee, and praise. Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

And we with holy Church unite,
as evermore is just and right,
in glory to the King of Light. Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Words: O filii et filiae, Jean Tisserand (d. 1494);
trans. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

Tomorrow I shall be starting a new series of posts on St Columba's Church, Culloden.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Easter Octave - 7

The whole bright world rejoices now,
the birds sing out on every bough;
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Then shout beneath the racing skies
to him who rose that we may rise:
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Let us rejoice! All shall be well,
friends severed now in heaven shall dwell:
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
The end of all our ways is love;
then rise with him to things above:
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Now let all living things rejoice,
let young and old lift heart and voice:
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
He rose to cheer us on our way,
he lives to bless us all our days:
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Alleluia! Christ is risen!

German (1623)
Translated by Percy Dearmer (1867-1936)

Happy Feast!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Easter Octave - 6

Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Alleluia!
Christ is risen from the dead!
Gratefully our hearts adore Him,
As His light once more appears,
Bowing down in joy before Him,
Rising up from grief and tears,
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Alleluia!
Christ is risen from the dead!

Christ is risen! all the sadness
Of His earthly life is o’er,
Through the open gates of gladness
He returns to life once more;
Death and hell before Him bending,
He doth rise, the Victor now,
Angels on His steps attending,
Glory round His wounded brow.
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Alleluia!
Christ is risen from the dead!

Christ is risen! henceforth never
Death or hell shall us enthrall;
We are Christ’s, in Him forever
We have triumphed over all;
All the doubting and dejection
Of our trembling hearts have ceased,
’Tis His day of resurrection!
Let us rise and keep the feast.
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Alleluia!
Christ is risen from the dead!

John S. B. Monsell, 1863.

Happy Feast!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Easter Octave - 5

Jesus lives! thy terrors now
can, O death, no more appall us;
Jesus lives! by this we know
thou, O grave, canst not enthrall us.

Jesus lives! henceforth is death
but the gate of life immortal;
this shall calm our trembling breath
when we pass its gloomy portal.

Jesus lives! for us he died;
then, alone to Jesus living,
pure in heart may we abide,
glory to our Saviour giving.

Jesus lives! our hearts know well
nought from us his love shall sever;
life, nor death, nor powers of hell
tear us from his keeping ever.

Jesus lives! to him the throne
over all the world is given:
may we go where he has gone,
rest and reign with him in heaven.

Christian Friedrich Gellert (1715-1769)
trans. Frances E. Cox (1812-1897)

Happy Feast!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Easter Octave - 4

The strife is o'er, the battle done;
Now is the Victor's triumph won;
O let the song of praise be sung:

Death's mightiest powers have done their worst,
And Jesus hath His foes dispersed;
Let shouts of praise and joy outburst:

On the third morn He rose again
Glorious in majesty to reign;
O let us swell the joyful strain:

He brake the age-bound chains of hell;
The bars from heaven's high portals fell.
Let hymns of praise His triumph tell:

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee.
From death's dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live, and sing to Thee:

Translated from the Latin: Finita jam sunt praelia (18th century)

Happy Feast!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Easter Octave - 3

Good Christian men, rejoice and sing!
Now is the triumph of our King!
To all the world glad news we bring:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The Lord of life is risen today!
Sing songs of praise along his way;
let all the earth rejoice and say:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Praise we in songs of victory
that love, that life which cannot die,
and sing with hearts uplifted high:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Your name we bless, O risen Lord,
and sing today with one accord
the life laid down, the life restored:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Cyril A. Alington (1872-1955)

Happy Feast!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter Octave - 2

Christ the Lord is risen again!
Christ hath broken every chain!
Hark! angelic voices cry,
singing evermore on high,

He who gave for us his life,
who for us endured the strife,
is our Paschal Lamb today;
we too sing for joy, and say:

He who bore all pain and loss
comfortless upon the cross
lives in glory now on high,
pleads for us, and hears our cry;

He who slumbered in the grave
is exalted now to save;
through the universe it rings
that the Lamb is King of kings:

Now he bids us tell abroad
how the lost may be restored,
how the penitent forgiven,
how we too may enter heaven.

Thou, our Paschal Lamb indeed,
Christ, thy ransomed people feed;
take our sins and guilt away,
that we all may sing for aye

Michael Weisse (1480-1534)

Happy Feast!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter Octave - 1

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
now above the sky he's King, Alleluia!
where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Lyra Davidica (1708)


Saturday, 3 April 2010

Lent - 46

On this Holy Saturday we have at last arrived at Burnmouth. Burnmouth is a small fishing village located adjacent to the A1 road on the east coast of Scotland. It is the first village in Scotland on the A1, after crossing the border with England. Burnmouth is located in the Parish of Ayton, in the Scottish Borders council area.

Burnmouth lies at the point where a burn slices through the high cliffs lining this coast en route to the sea. There may have been a mill here in the Middle Ages, but little else until a fishing harbour was built in the 1830s, later extended in 1879 and 1959. The East Coast Main Line railway passes along the top of the cliff here, and Burnmouth had a railway station from 1846 to 1962.

Burnmouth itself is split into two areas: Upper Burnmouth and Lower Burnmouth. Upper Burnmouth is sited at the top of the cliff. Lower Burnmouth is hidden away at the foot of cliff and stretches out along the foreshore. Lower Burnmouth is further split into four smaller communities: Lower Burnmouth, Partanhall, Cowdrait and Ross. Lower Burnmouth sits beside the harbour and Partanhall is located to the north. Cowdrait is located to the south of the harbour. The tiny community of Ross is located just south of Cowdrait. Ross, which now consists of only four houses, was once considered a separate community, as it lies just across the parish boundary, in the parish of Mordington.

Burnmouth has a small church sited halfway down the Brae (the road which ascends the cliff between Lower and Upper Burnmouth). Until 2005, the village had a small primary school. Burnmouth had two pubs - The Flemington Inn and The Gulls Nest - which were sited next to each other adjacent to the A1 road. The Flemington Inn had signs on the north and south gables proclaiming to passing motorists that that pub was the "The last inn Scotland" and "The first inn Scotland". In February 2006 the Flemington was gutted by fire and the building was later demolished.

Well, it is many miles since we started our Lenten pilgrimage in Gretna on Ash Wednesday. My feet are sore and tired, and I have arranged for the Highland Chieftain which leaves London King's Cross Station at 12 noon to make a special stop at the former Burnmouth Station at around 3.30 pm. The train should arrive into Inverness Station at 8.08 pm and so I should be just in time for the start of the Easter Vigil at St Columba's Culloden at 9.00 pm.

If you believe that, you will believe anything! I have of course been writing all of these 46 posts from the comfort of my study at home!

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.

" 'Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.' "

When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God. (Exodus 31.12-18)

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. (Luke 23.50-56)

With Christ we share a mystic grave,
with Christ we buried lie;
but 'tis not in the darksome cave
by mournful Calvary.

The pure and bright baptismal flood
entombs our nature's stain;
new creatures from the cleansing wave
with Christ we rise again.

Thrice blest, if through this world of strife,
and lust and selfish care,
our resurrection mantle white
and undefiled we wear.

Thrice blest, if through the gate of death
glorious at last and free
we to our joyful rising pass,
O risen Lord, with thee.

And now to thy thrice holy Name,
the God whom we adore,
to Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
be glory evermore.

J M Neale (1818-1866)

During the glorious Easter Octave we shall enjoy some wonderful hymns of praise - and of course the blog will return to its usual cheery colour scheme!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Lent - 45

We have arrived at Cockburnspath on this Good Friday for our celebration of the Lord's Passion. Cockburnspath is a village in Scotland which lies near the North Sea coast between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh. It is at the eastern extremity of the Southern Upland Way, a long-distance footpath from the west to east coast of Scotland. At the nearby village of Cove, there is a small fishing harbour.

The area has many archeological remains which indicate it has been lived in and fought over since the Bronze Age. It lies close to the old invasion route from England into Scotland. Cockburnspath was initially known as Kolbrand’s Path.

The lands of Cockburnspath must have at some point reverted to the Crown as they were part of the dowry given by James IV of Scotland to Margaret Tudor (daughter of Henry VII of England) on their marriage in 1503. This was known as the Marriage of the Thistle and the Rose, representing the Scottish and English national symbols.The 16th century market cross in the heart of the village has carved emblems of a thistle on two of its faces and a rose on the other two.

The parish church has an unusual round tower. There is also a mediaeval Collegiate Church at Dunglass, within the parish, which is maintained by Historic Scotland and is open to the public.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you: the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent- the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand- and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you." (Exodus 31.1-11)

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah."

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him."

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons. (Matthew 27.45-56)

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Lent - 44

Maundy Thursday finds us at North Berwick. The Royal Burgh of North Berwick is a seaside town in East Lothian, Scotland. It is situated on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, approximately 25 miles east of Edinburgh. North Berwick became a fashionable holiday resort in the 19th century because of its two sandy bays, the East (or Milsey) Bay and the West Bay, and continues to attract holiday makers to this day. Golf courses at the ends of each bay are open to visitors.

Several of the Islands of the Forth are near the town and visible from it: e.g. Fidra, The Lamb, Craigleith, and Bass Rock; the latter hosts a thriving colony of birds, including puffins, gannets, and other seabirds. The Bass Rock appears white, but this is due largely to the gannets and their guano that cover much of its surface. The seabirds themselves can be observed at close range through remote cameras operated from the recently developed Scottish Seabird Centre near the harbour.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and put water in it. Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it. Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting an offering made to the LORD by fire, they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come."

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant cane, 24 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil. Then use it to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony, the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. You shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy.

"Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. Say to the Israelites, 'This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. Do not pour it on men's bodies and do not make any oil with the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. Whoever makes perfume like it and whoever puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from his people.' "

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the LORD. Whoever makes any like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from his people." (Exodus 30.17-38)

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

Jesus replied, "You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"

Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13.1-17)

An upper room did our Lord prepare
for those he loved until the end:
and his disciples still gather there,
to celebrate their Risen Friend.

A lasting gift Jesus gave his own,
to share his bread, his loving cup.
Whatever burdens may bow us down,
he by his Cross shall lift us up.

And after Supper he washed their feet,
for service, too, is sacrament.
In him our joy shall be made complete
sent out to serve, as he was sent.

No end there is! We depart in peace.
He loves beyond our uttermost:
in every room in our Father's house
he will be there, as Lord and host.

Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000)