Notes from The Orchard April 2017

More Notes from The Orchard - 41 - Part 2


April 2017


I am writing this on Good Friday after a couple of difficult days.  Compared with what Jesus went through so many centuries ago on this day, it does help me to put up with the sort of thing many of us eventually have to contend with, especially here on the lovely South Coast of England where so many elderly have chosen to retire.


If we are drivers and value our mobility, we should of course be very thankful that this has been our lot and the last sentence we want to hear is the one from our doctors which informs us that we are no longer allowed to drive.  For ever is usually rare:  mostly it is for a matter of weeks or months to start with.  We pray it is going to be a matter of weeks, then resign ourselves to months and afterwards we either come to terms and find some sort of solution or . . . well. . . we can just give up any hopes, dreams and turn into some kind of sad, sad cabbages!


This afternoon I am just thinking of all Jesus went through for us at the end of his life, and remember that he never had a car  or even a four-footed friend  to  help him trudge throughout his homeland without shoes  how painful must that have been?  My thoughts turn then to so many of the poor refugees trying to escape a life of horror to find somewhere safe to take their children.  Among those refugees there will be elderly people, like me, with the common aches and pains of old age who have to make their escape pilgrimage without any comfort to the poor soles of their feet, while I have a roof over my head, the NHS to butress any physical frailty, a proper bed and no war going on around me.


How can I complain about a few or more weeks of being unable to drive my car?


All I can do is to thank God with all my heart for what he has already given me: for good health (more or less up to now), for my family, my friends, and above all for my faith.


That last, a deep faith, is what I wish you all for Easter  something infinitely more lasting than chocolate eggs and hot cross buns!  May God bless you and yours and together let us pray for peace and for all those suffering from the present evil in the world.


Dear Lord, please have mercy on us and hear our prayers.



Sarah Bell



More Notes from The Orchard - 41 - Part 1


April 2017


Welcome to April!  As soon as I discovered April Fools Day I thought it was brilliant (though I think I liked it even better as an adult!)


Alas, it was much frowned on by the nuns at school  Im talking well over 70 years ago  and having grown in years I can now understand why they put the fear of God in our innocent minds that it was a Bad Thing.  We were told it was a memorial of the mocking of Jesus before his Crucifixion.  Without this incorrect information and knowing the imagination of children, our teachers might well have been driven mad by any and sometimes cruel results of children free to enjoy the delights of being formally allowed to tease friends and teachers.  Try clicking here to find out rather more reliable information (Click here)  


It seems to me it was much more likely to be a way of celebrating the joys and delights of being freed from the cold, dark and shuttered world of a Northern Winter into a beautiful flower-draped Spring. . .


Never mind  its time to get back on track as we apply ourselves once more to climbing the last hill to Cavalry in the company of our dear Lord, Jesus Christ.


Well, maybe our original good intentions about Lent have gone the way of so many New Year resolutions and faded away, even though we might have made an impressive start.  Jesuss own start wasnt impressive:  under the weight of the Cross he fell at the very first fence, having declared himself a king who could be rescued by legions of angels if he cared to call on them.  At that point every heartless individual would be starting to mock Jesus.  How are the mighty fallen!  But Jesus picks himself up, grits his teeth and continues his agonizing approach to the Cross . . .


The watchers can see he is struggling but nobody offers Jesus any assistance, forcing the soldiers to drag in someone to help Jesus  after all, they have to get the prisoner to the place of crucifixion, the quicker the better.  Their choice falls on Simon of Cyrene, probably not a job Simon either wanted or expected.  As the hooting and jeers of the crowd ring in the ears of all, the four men continue their painful path to the place of execution, whipped on by the soldiers.  Out of the crowd steps a lone woman, perhaps having stripped a cloth from her head which she held out to the suffering face of the man at the back of the prisoners, the one being helped by Simon.  She tended the damaged, bleeding face gently with the cloth, already wet with her tears, damp enough to bring a little relief to Jesuss face.  The crowd and the condemned moved on, leaving the compassionate Veronica behind.


Jesus falls once more before being stripped, nailed to the Cross and raised in apparent shame for all to see while his lips spoke the words of his heart:  Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.



Sarah Bell


© Katy Bell