Dear FriendsAs I drove along the A358 between Chard and Tatworth yesterday, anincredibly familiar route, something surprised me that I have neverseen before on this road.  The traffic had all come to a stop, whichis in itself not uncommon, but it wasn’t an HGV, a breakdown, a yacht(yes, plenty of large boats are trucked through on their way to thecoast), or thankfully, an accident.  It was a flock of sheep.  Notjust one or two sheep – hundreds of them – being ‘driven’ along theA358 by their shepherds, sheep dogs and a pair of quad bikes.It has to be one of the very few reasons for a traffic jam that makesyou smile.  For a few minutes we had a noisy sea of fleece flowingaround the car – which the kids thought was very exciting, and thedogs thought was Christmas come early.  It was a big surprise, butwhen I reflected on it later it seemed so obviously something thatmust happen!  Sheep do need to be moved to new pastures!The journeys we take on a day to day basis are often very familiar.The same route, the same vehicle, the same reason.  They becomeroutine, time in a day when the thing that is happening has almostbecome subconscious.  Our faith lives can be a bit similar, and thatcan be a real comfort in a pressured and changing world.  A rhythm andheartbeat that is always there.  Dependable, known, established –routine.  When something different happens in the midst of that it canbe very challenging, but sometimes it can also be incredibly lifegiving or affirming.The Easter Story is one of those familiar stories – most of us, Iexpect, could give a reasonably good account of what happens on MaundyThursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.  Indeed we recount parts ofthose narratives every Sunday through the regular words of ourworship, week in week out.  It is routine, part of our hardwiring asChristians.  It is our rhythm of faith – the pulse if you like.The Stations of the Cross (14 prayer stations, each one relating to aspecific point on the journey Jesus takes from his trial to hisburial) is a Lent and Good Friday tradition that puts that familiarnarrative through a different lens, and as such often presents a partof the journey that stops you in your tracks and makes you think.  Itpresents a different understanding, a deeper understanding.  One thatcan challenge, test, make you cry, and even give you hope andencouragement.On Tuesday night we completed our Lent course by following theStations of the Cross – arranged as a combination of images andphysical items. It was a moving experience, engaging with each‘moment’ through scripture, picture, object, prayer, and movement.  Itis a way of prayerfully engaging with the Passion in a wholly sensoryway and as such it is often a deep experience.  Those stations willremain in St John’s so please do have a look.  In Winsham Primary thechildren have made 8 Stations of the Cross, and they are wonderfulrepresentations of some of the key moments on Jesus’ journey to theCross.  They are now on display in St Stephen’s and well worth a look.Over the past few days we have also had school visits from all threeschools engaging with the journey of Easter.  Tatworth and Thorncombeeach came for an interactive morning in church, and Winsham held alovely Easter service of readings and songs, delivered entirely by thechildren.  These were all great events – thank you to all who came andall who planned, delivered and helped!As we make the final steps of Lent this week and into Holy Week, dorevisit Jesus’ journey for yourself and look for those things thatstand out to you.  Ask yourself this question; “why did Jesus do thisfor me?”Almighty and everlasting God,who in your tender love towards the human racesent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christto take upon him our fleshand to suffer death upon the cross:grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,and also be made partakers of his resurrection;through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,who is alive and reigns with you,in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, now and for ever.  Amen.SERVICES:TEZ – Tonight at 7:30pm 7 April.  A 30 minute online service ofreflection, music and prayer, thinking about Jesus’ words on theCross.https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86192583366?pwd=R1NvdXl4Mk9wb0QrZ0V5dUp1RzQ0QT09Meeting ID: 861 9258 3366Passcode: 236460SATURDAY 9th APRIL – WILD CHURCH3:30 – outside St John’s.  Wild Church – fun and fellowship exploringEaster through Creation with activities, story and refreshments.  AllWelcome!SUNDAY 10th APRIL – PALM SUNDAY8am – Holy Communion (Said), BCP, St Stephen’s, Winsham –  Rev Philip10:30am – BENEFICE SERVICE.  Holy Communion with liturgy of the Palmsand the Passion, St Michael’s, Chaffcombe – Rev Michelle.  Thisservice will conclude with processing to the village hall forrefreshments – ALL Welcome.PRAYERS:Please hold the following people from our parishes in your prayers:Dave Boyland; Sheila Clement; John and Wendy Cotton; Hannah Knott;Mary Marsh; Tony Taylor; Rosemary Walton; Margaret Bandy; DorothyWhite, Tony Meech, Di Nicholls.We remember those who we love but see no longer, rememberingespecially at this time Raymond Haines whose funeral was held in StMary’s Thorncombe last week.A prayer from The Way of the Cross (Common Worship):Lord Jesus, you entered the garden of fearand faced the agony of your impending death:be with those who share that agonyand face death unwillingly this day.You shared our fear and knew the weakness of our humanity:give strength and hope to the dispirited and despairing.To you, Jesus, who sweated blood,be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,now and for ever. Amen.My blessings to you allPhilipThe Reverend Philip ButcherRector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham,Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)The Vicarage3 Home FarmTatworthChardTA20 2SH01460 221286PASTORAL EMAILS – please to: twoshiresrector@gmail.comHOME PRAYER & WORSHIP:  https://twoshires.wordpress.comRest Days – Mondays (Tuesdays where following a bank holiday)For non-urgent enquiries please allow up to a week for responses.Mornings are best times for phone contact!

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