We wake up on Sunday, May 17th. The Fifth Sunday After Easter, and Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
We’re going to be driving further north today, but first we plan to join the congregation of St Paul’s Jarrow for their Sunday Eucharist. To receive the Sacrament in this place where Bede and all those other Anglo-Saxon and later monks, and congregations of Christians ever since, have received it, gives this time of worship an extra dimension. It is bread and wine, yet shared with the sense of all it has meant and means to all the believers who have gone before us. It colours the words we say, that we join in worship and praise of God “with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven”.
After the service we return to the car and leave The Old Rectory behind us. We haven’t given much thought to lunch, and a Google search of ‘Best Sunday roasts along the A1 north of Newcastle’ doesn’t shed much light. So we stop at The Jolly Bowman in Wallsend, which has a carvery. I’m still not sure whether it was the best choice, but it’s done.
Skirting the north-eastern edge of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (and being careful to call it Nyuhcassell, not Nyoocarsell – that’s what you get from marrying a lass who was born in County Durham) we pick up the A1 which we follow as far as the B1341, where we turn off for the final stretch to Bamburgh. We are booked for one night only at the Sunningdale Hotel, so after checking in and finding our room, we set off for a short walk around Bamburgh.
On this virtual Sunday afternoon there is plenty of time to visit the Castle on its commanding height, and then walk back to St Aidan’s Church in time for Evensong. Before entering the church we look at the grave of that great Victorian heroine Grace Darling.
According to Bede, St Aidan died close to this place, and his shrine in the church is another reminder of our fellowship in the communion of saints with those great Christians of the early British Church.