St. Nicholas Church, Silton, Dorset

   St Nicholas Church
   Silton, Dorset
   SP8 5PR

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Dear Friends,

 As I write this, we are waiting for the 'Beast from the East' to strike, or will our dilemma be Emma?   So far we have had cloudless skies and wall-to-wall sunshine.  True, the temperatures have been close to zero, but no snow.   As I understand it, because the weather is coming from Siberia, it is crossing the Eastern land mass, and therefore not collecting the moisture as it would by coming from the West over the Atlantic Ocean;  that explains why we have had no need to use the de-icer on the windscreen before setting out on the 16-mile journey from Milborne Port to Silton.  The screen has remained dry, and our Citroen C3 - a sturdy little thing - has not let us down.

 When we reach Silton Church, we take delight in the beauty of the snowdrops and aconites and yellow crocuses and wild daffodils, which all look so fragile, but clearly are sturdy enough to withstand the biting winds and low temperatures.  (Having written that observation, those little flowers may well now be hidden from view under a mantle of snow!)However I have to say they remain an inspiration, and persist in being able to convey a message of constancy, of beauty, of life, and give us reassurance that Spring is on its way.   They say to those of us who pass by steadfastly climbing the church path and panting as we go, 'If we can put up with present conditions, so can you.'

 Those little flowers set an example of remaining true whatever the conditions.   They remind me of the times I have been inspired following a visit to someone in a Hospice when their earthly days are drawing to a close.   Yet they still manage to retain their smile, their interest in what is going on outside, not least in the church or with our family.   One leaves them in the wonderful care of the staff, feeling more determined to show others how we, like them, should persist in living each day as fully as possible.

 In other situations, such as the gathering after a funeral, people have expressed their gratitude with a note of surprise in their voice that they had found some comfort and reassurance from the Service – and had even enjoyed it.

This year we will celebrate the unlikely surprise – that is, Easter Day – on All Fools' Day, April 1st.

During the final week of March we will remember the events leading up to the nailing of a living and totally innocent man to a cross on which he died.  For the Roman authorities it was the most efficient means of execution.  Then the young man, Jesus, was laid out in a stone-cold tomb.  But three days later he was ALIVE!   Following all that had happened, all that had been done to him, well.......coming to life was so unlikely as to be unbelievable.

Well, we had better believe it because IT IS TRUE.   Only a fool turns their back on what is true.   On April 1st, don't let anyone be a fool;  instead, face the truth and welcome April 1st, welcome Easter Day with open arms and joyful hearts;  and be able to proclaim CHRIST IS RISEN!   HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!!!

  God bless you.                                                                    Bede Cooper

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