Archives August 2009

A Simple Mass for Young People (Youth Stream at Greenbelt, 2009)

Equipment: 2 Voices, 1 Priest, Bread & Wine

Cel:              God is here. Make yourselves at home.

1:                Come and stay awhile, take a moment from your busy, hectic, facebook-filled, MSN-clogged lives and pause.

2:                Wait for a moment and take the chance to sense he in whose presence we find ourselves.

Cel:              Life is a like a journey, a long and sometimes lonely journey. This journey takes us from our comfortable and sometimes drab lives and into unfamiliar territory. It might be challenging, it might be hard. For any journey, we must be fed, prepared, sorted.

In the name of the +Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

1:                Our preparation for this journey means sorting out our kit, getting it in order, and getting on the right track. There are many paths, and many of those paths might look attractive or easy, but they are not necessarily the right path.

2:                There are many paths with twists and turns, ups and downs, dead ends and frustrations, but only one true way.

1:                O Lord, for the many times that we have sought to take the easy path… Lord have mercy. Lord have Mercy

Cel:              O Lord, for the distractions that have drawn us away from you, Christ have mercy Christ have mercy

2:                O Lord, for our lack of faith in you, and the direction you draw us to, Lord have Mercy, Lord have mercy

Cel:              Almighty God, who loves you, walks with you, guides you and supports you through all the ups and downs of your life, and has given authority to his Church to absolve sins, free you from your burdens and + reconcile you to his heart. In the name of the man who was sent to save us. Amen

Be fed, just as his first followers were fed in preparation for the journey ahead of them, a journey which would take a whole lifetime…

1:                St Paul said:

Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Mass and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Man himself and passed them on to you. On the night of his betrayal, he took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said,

This is my body, broken for you.
Do this to remember me.

After supper, he did the same thing with the cup:

This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you.
Each time you drink this cup, remember me.

What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you re-enact in your words and actions the death of the Man. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until he returns.

(1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

2:                St John remembered:

The Man said: “I am the bread of life; The living bread that comes down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

“Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”

(John 6:48-56)

Cel:              When his disciples, gathered in an upper room to eat a simple meal heard this, they had no idea what he meant: bread and wine become body and blood? How outrageous! It sounded a little like cannibalism – the Man who had guided them through so much, taught them so much, given them a glimpse of heaven on earth in wonderous signs and marvellous healings, was inviting them to eat of him.

And two thousand years later, he still sits amongst us, and invites us to his table. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, or what you’ve done, or how badly you think you have been in the past: The Man reaches out and offers you a place at this table, this place of encounter, this point of transformation.

The Lord be with you

And also with you

1:                For he is with us, now. Supporting, guiding, counselling and comforting. Stirring up the complacent and crying out for justice, transforming lives and making whole.

Lift up your hearts

We lift them up to the Lord

2:                The best way, the only way we can respond is in worship and in this sacred space drawing closer to God to the point where we can touch him, taste him and feel the difference.

Cel:              Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

It is right to give thanks and praise

In ways in which we do not understand, or could ever hope to understand, Christ is present in our midst. The many thousands, millions of words of theologians, the prayers of saints, the witness of the apostles: none of them have ever got their heads around what happens here.

1:                We can’t see the wind, but we know what happens to the trees.

2:                Look not for the wind, but for the effect of the wind.

1:                We can’t see any outward change in bread and wine, but we know that something is different

2:                Look not for God hiding under an ordinary piece of bread, as St Francis once said, but look for the effect on those who share in the Body and Blood of Christ.

Cel:              Bread: Simple. Wholesome. Good. The staple of life and proof in our hands of God’s bountiful goodness to us all.

Wine: Source of joy and gladness, an example of God’s love in a glistening drop of rich, dark sweetness.

Our prayers echo the song of the angels, saints, prophets and patriarchs and whole company of heaven as they say:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your Glory, Hosanna in the highest.

Blesséd is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Lord, you are holy indeed, the fountain of all holiness.

Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy,

so that they may become for us

the +body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ

Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted,

he took bread and gave you thanks.

He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:

Take this, all of you, and eat it:

this is my body which will be given up for you.

When supper was ended, he took the cup.

Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said:

Take this, all of you, and drink from it:

this is the cup of my blood,

the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.

It will be shed for you and for all

so that sins may be forgiven.

Do this in memory of me.

Together, Let us remind ourselves of the mystery of faith:

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

It’s good.

It’s changed.

And through it we are changed.

You won’t find the Man

Wedged between the crumbs,

But he is there,

He gives himself to us

In this way, so we can get our heads around the enormous idea of God stepping down into our world.

He gives himself to us, so that we may become a part of him.

You eat food. It becomes a part of you.

You eat of this, and you become a part of him. A Holy Communion, at one with God.

The only thing we can do is respond in love and joy, awe and wonder.

May all of us who taste this foretaste of heaven be brought together as your Church on this earth, empowered with the power of God.

May we remember all those not with us, and bring us all into your heavenly presence, through the powerful and mighty, saving work of our Saviour

Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.

Amen

1: He taught us to pray, so looking forward to when we can share this party again, let us pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever.

Amen.

Come. Share. Eat at God’s Table.

1:                No one is turned away.

2:                No one is unworthy.

Cel:              All are welcome.

1:                Take, Break, Share, and Pass on.

2:                Be thankful. Be changed. Be aware that God is in our midst.

<distribution of communion passing it from one to another>

1:                By this meal, we have been changed. By bread and wine transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, you have been healed, restored, reinvigorated and renewed.

2:                You have been fed for a life’s journey with something more than a snack. You have been fed with the stuff of life.

Cel:              The food of this earth just makes you hungry again. The food of this meal will last for ever. This bread and this wine is for all time.

May your festival  be filled with laughter, joy and friendship

May your journey of life be guided by the Man

May your lives be transformed by this salvation story

And may the Blessing of God Almighty, +Father, Son and Holy Spirit be upon you, and remain with you, this long night and always.

Amen

The mass has ended. Go in the peace of Christ.

Thanks be to God.


Blesséd Mass of the Trinity at Greenbelt

2647601726483709DSC_6059DSC_6082DSC_6088DSC_6099

I hope the comments to this post will contain reflections of those who were there.

From my perspectives, it went well. The Fire Officers continued to be officious and troublesome, and looked suspiciously at our candles on the altar, much to the annoyance of Mother Ellen the venue manager. If the New Forms is supposed to be an alt.worship venue then they should enable it for smoke, candles and incense. I was not allowed to light the thurible (symbol without meaning therefore) and the smoke machine was banned without even being tested 🙁

The technical and venue team were brilliant in support of our contribution. The Blesséd Team worked brilliantly and I was able to delegate different tasks and know they were done. About 140 people came, and the space felt holy. The Mystery of the Trinity was  worshipped and God was present.

Highpoints

Caroline’s Trinity Meditation, the Bittersweet Penitential Rite

Lowpoints

Forgetting the Sanctuary Bells and therefore doing the Benediction in silence.

There were some lovely positive comments on the way out, and so I pray we can come back and do some more worship next year. We have the Simple Mass this afternoon in the Youth Shelter venue. Please pray.


Greenbelt 09 – Standing in the long now

We arrived on the Caravan Club site yesterday afternoon. It is on the edge of the racecourse at Cheltenham, with a  great view of the course and the festival. We are in the lee of the Dawn Run Stand in a pitch shared with Fee and Dave. Fish and Chips last night and a few beers over a game of Travel Go! (Does anyone else remember this game, it is decades old, but we love it) which Lou won (how did that happen?).

After a night of miserable misty rain, we wake to bright sunshine, and renewed vigour and excitement. Purple wristbands on (Contributors, of course – last year was bright pink!) and after breakfast I have to get the Blesséd projectors to the New Forms Cafe and the Smoke Machine so we can test it with the fire officer. I would love to be able to burn incense and have Lyndon’s massive smoke machine to play with, but there is a fear they might set the alarms off. That would be sad. Please pray that our tests work and we can use our kit.

We will only have half an hour to set up from 10.30pm on Saturday night, and so things will be hectic. If we know the smoke machine and fire alarms work, then things will be smoother.

Now looking forward to seeing the diary and planning my weekend…


Save2PC just gets better!

Grabbing video from the web is a fraught business, as the default format of the streaming video sites, flv, is not very usable and so you need a downloader.

My preferred solution is Save2PC (www.save2pc.com)

The latest version also supports Vimeo (www.vimeo.com) (where my videos can be found at http://www.vimeo.com/frsimon )

This makes it brilliant for downloading everything, from YouTube to TeachersTV (for Lou) to Vimeo and Google and even (ahem) sites that you wouldn’t want to (which which I bet is a facility which makes this kind of program a money spinner).

Online, a free and okay version is at http://vixy.net/ but I personally prefer and recomend Save2PC, even though the Pro version costs $35, I reckon it’s worth it.


Blessed Trinity at Greenbelt 2009

For the insight and edification of those of who who cannot make it, and if you are coming (11pm, New Forms Cafe) you can join in at your favourite bits!

Theme: The mystery of the Trinity after S. Gregory of Nyssa

Gathering:

Video: 01 – Lambeth Call to Worship + 01a Gathering Smokebelch Busy Short

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W47TJwmX_L0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFOGeOcgVCs

Introduction:

Video: 02 – Liturgical Greeting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AndLNmeBlrI

In the name of the +Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Greenbelt 09 Introduction Slides

[slideshare id=1899865&doc=greenbelt09introductionslides-090824104244-phpapp01

 

My dear friends in Christ. (1) This Mass is a Vigil Mass of Sunday (as we are unable to come together around the Lord’s Table tomorrow).

We gather together this evening to ponder a great mystery: (2) the mystery of the Holy Trinity.   If the theme of this festival is standing in the long now, then we celebrate the longest of long nows, (3) the eternal and the mystical, the trinity which creates, redeems and sustains us across all time.

Tonight we think especially (4) of Saint Gregory of Nyssa, who was born at Caesarea in what is now Turkey around the year 330, unlike his elder brother Basil, he was academically undistinguished, but ultimately proved to be the most original of the group of the theologians known as the Cappadocian Fathers (5), and their main contribution to our faith was the grasping of the mystery that is the Holy Trinity: God revealed in three persons, one God, different revelations.

For Gregory, (6) God is met not as an object to be understood, but as a mystery to be loved.(7) In our objective, scientific, rational, facebook obsessed, celebrity saturated lives, we have lost some of the sense of that mystery(8), forgotten that sometimes it is just okay to be, to allow God to be.

Gregory died in the year 394. (9) He joins us around this holy altar with all the angels and the saints, the prophets and the patriarchs as Christ is made present here, on

So giving thanks to God, for the life, work and witness of Saint Gregory and seeking to reach out ourselves towards the mystery of God, let us worship…

Screen: reconcile

Penitential Rite:

Video: Bittersweet for Greenbelt

Equipment: 18 Balti Dishes, 18 laminated signs, Spoons, Honey, Lemons

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkqE7bQZ45o

1 min 45 sec introduction:

Life is complex and hard. Life is challenging and not without its fair share of pain. The preacher on TV who offers you untold riches, health, wealth, healing and joy has clearly never read the book of Job.

Life is beautiful and delicate. Life is filled with joy and laughter. The glass which was created by God is always at least half-full, beyond half-full, and closer to full to overflowing.

To see life as either one or the other is to miss the point of life in all its rollercoaster of variety. We learn in life to take the bitter and the sweet.

Around this sacred space are six stations, where you may taste in the lemon the bitterness of life, where you can offer to God in penitence those difficult, trying, hard things in your life. You may also taste a spoonful of honey – to taste and see that the Lord is good as the Psalmist said, and to give thanks to God for his many many blessings.

Without one, there is no other. Without both, life is meaningless. Offer them both to God in penitence and faith, and let us now be reconciled to God.

Stations: Four or six stations with a balti dish of lemons (and a bin + wipes) and a dish of honey with small spoons to taste a lemon and a spoon of honey.

Each station has text by it:

Taste the bitterness of life
Without this, the sweet,
good times are nothing.
Give to God the pain, the
sadness and the hurt.
Taste & See that the Lord is good

Taste the sweetness of life
Without this, the bitter,
ugly, hard times become
everything.
Give thanks to God for the joy,
the pleasure and the laughs.
Taste & See that the Lord is good

In Happy moments, praise God.
In Difficult moments, seek God.
In Quiet moments, worship God.
In Painful moments, trust God.
In Every moment, thank God

Absolution:

Screen: you are forgiven

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive you all your offences; and by his authority committed to me, I absolve you from all your sins:+In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord has put away all your sins, and of your charity, pray for me, a sinner also

Amen

Collect:

Let us pray…

Lord of eternity, creator of all things,
in your Son Jesus Christ
you open for us the way to resurrection
that we may enjoy your bountiful goodness:
may we who celebrate your servants Gregory and Macrina
press onwards in faith to your boundless love
and ever wonder at the miracle of your presence among us;
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

Word:

Video: 04 – Word

Matthew 28:16-20

Video: Great Commission. Reading live. Images behind.

The Lord be with you
And also with you

The Gospel of Matthew

16-17Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

18-20Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

This is the Gospel of the Lord

Praise to you, O Christ

Intercession:

Video: 05 – Strip Intercessions

https://www.vimeo.com/http://www.vimeo.com/5663975

Equipment: Strips of paper, Felt Pens

The people write their intercessions on the strips of paper

Start handing out paper strips and pens

If you want to write down your prayers, what would it look like?

A shopping list?
Would it be more like a doodle?
Would your prayers form a little sketch?
A spider diagram?
A single word?
Logical in structure? Random or chaotic?
Does it matter?

Handing out finishes

Before you write anything down, pause and reflect.
What is your main concern?
What do you need to bring before God?
For yourself.
For others.
For the Church.
For the world.
For the sick, the ailing, the addicted, the troublesome
For the dead and the mourning..
We do not pray alone.
We join these prayers with all the others written tonight.
Weaved together. Linked. Joined.
Joined with the angels, the saints, the prophets, the patriarchs.
Joined with the prayers of our Blesséd Lady…

Hail Mary,Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.

How did they turn out?

No need to sign your prayers
God knows.
He knows your needs,
Your desires
Your concerns…
…and he listens.
He responds.
Whether you prayed a picture, a list, a diagram, a single word…
God responds.
Maybe Yes
Maybe No
Maybe Not Yet
Not always the answer to your prayers that you want.
…but he answers.
Always.

Amen

Meditation:

Video:  06 – Trinity Meditation + 06a John Donne “Batter My Heart”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBRtB1nzyxk

The Trinity…   God…   Three…   One…   Three equal figures…
with identical faces, carrying equal staffs of authority, none more important than another…
One God enthroned, but not, as a human king, at the end of a great hall where we must bow and scrape, rather  God enthroned at a table, shaded from the harsh, unforgiving glare of the sun, a table which has been prepared for us, inviting us to draw near with faith…
to enter in to the eternal circle, where the gaze passes lovingly from one to another, and stretches out in overflowing love, to us and to the world beyond…
Three figures united, God robed in blue the colour of divinity, the colour of the heavens…
God robed in blue, wrapped in green. God the Holy Spirit…
Vibrant green, the energising colour of new life, restful green the colour of lush meadows and race courses, of relaxation and recreation…
The Spirit’s hand rests upon the table, earthing the the divine life of God, transforming all she touches.
The fountain of all holiness that will transform the gifts of Bread and Wine that they may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. That will transform our lives.
God robed in blue, wrapped in brown, with a stripe of gold. God the Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ…
Brown the colour of earth, of humanity, of soil and toil. Gold for a king, who was crowned  with thorns…
The Christ rests two fingers on the table, laying upon it his divine and human nature, gesturing towards the cup.
The cup that is filled with wine, his blood that was poured out for us.
God robed in blue, wrapped in shimmering, ethereal fibre. God the Father…
A shimmering ethereal, un-name-able colour, not visible to the human eye. The creator, who cannot be seen by his creatures.
The Father clasps his staff with both hands, The Father who holds all authority. But this authority is not grasped to himself. It is freely given to those whom he loves, to accomplish his good and perfect will. To the Son, to the apostles, authority which surrenders itself. Paradox.
Three persons united in their love, for one another, and for us.
Three persons whom we know to be One God, met not as an object to be understood, but as a mystery to be loved, worshipped.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IysKtbG0pZM

Creed:

Video: 07 – God Waits

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXe3pQc2Sf0

Peace:

Screen: Video: 08 – Hands Peace

Christ is our Peace. He has reconciled us to God in one body by the cross.
We meet in his name and share his peace…
The peace of the Lord be with you
and also with you

In these times of contagion, we are not permitted to do what the Church has done for centuries. You are free to express God’s peace as you wish with each other.
(move swiftly on)

Offertory:

Matt Maher – Litany of the Saints (sung a capella)

As the bread and wine are brought haphazardly to the front through the congregation

St Gregory Pray for us
St Basil Pray for us
St Thomas Pray for us
Holy Mary Pray for us
Ora Pro Nobis Ora Pro Nobis
St Simon, pray for us
St Jude, pray for us
St Peter, pray for us
John Keble, pray for us
 
Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis
St Faith, pray for us
St John, pray for us
Blesséd Francis, pray for us
St Paul, pray for us
Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis
Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis
Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis

Eucharistic Prayer:

Video: 09 – Pregnant with Expectation Eucharistic Prayer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9FZpgdpYuA

Equipment: Bells, Bread, Wine, Chalice, Paten, Linen, Monstrance, Pyx, Host

1 The Lord be with youand also with you.
Lift up your hearts.We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.It is right to give thanks and praise.
2 Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,we do well always and everywhere to give you thanksthrough Jesus Christ our Lord.
You renew the Church in every age by raising up men and women outstanding in holiness, living witnesses of Your unchanging love.Saint Gregory brought us close to your mystery,And taught us to love you as Glorious Trinity: three in one
3 We joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of Your Godhead.You have revealed Your glory as the glory also of Your Sonand of the Holy Spirit:
three Persons equal in majesty,
undivided in splendour,
yet one Lord, one God,
ever to be adored in Your everlasting glory.
And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven,
we proclaim your glory and join in their unending hymn of praise:
4 Holy, holy, holy Lord,God of power and might,heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
5 Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit,and according to your holy will,
these gifts of bread and wine
may be to us the +body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;
who, in the same night that he was betrayed,took bread and gave you thanks;he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
6 Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;do this in remembrance of me. +
7 In the same way, after supperhe took the cup and gave you thanks;he gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you;this is my blood of the new covenant,which is shed for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me. +
8 Praise to you, Lord Jesus:
Dying you destroyed our death,rising you restored our life:Lord Jesus, come in glory.
9 And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world;rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,
and looking for his coming in glory,
we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.
10 As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgivingwe bring before you this bread and this cupand we thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.
11 Send the Holy Spirit on your peopleand gather into one in your kingdomall who share this one bread and one cup,
so that we, in the company of Our Blesséd Lady,
Saint Thomas the Apostle, Saint Gregory of Nyssa
and all the saints,
may praise and glorify you for ever,
through Jesus Christ our Lord;
12 by whom, and with whom, and in whom,in the unity of the Holy Spirit,all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

Lord’s Prayer:

Screen: As our saviour taught us, so we pray along

Video: 10 – My Friend Video Trad Short

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tyT7IvcxGM

Fraction

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ
Though we are many, we are one body because we share in the one bread

Agnus Dei:

Video: 11 – Agnus Dei – Rufus Wainwright

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVbdzqOrOjg

Invitation:

This is the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, blessed are those who are called to his supper
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed

Communion Antiphon:

Screen: St Paul reminds Titus:

Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured.

Titus 2. 7, 8


Communion:

Video: 12 – Prayer of the Heart

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPX9clcLLAw

The Chalice will remain on the altar for those who wish to commune in that kind. One Communion station at the front: the people come forward to receive.

Post Communion Prayer:

The Sacrament is placed in the Monstrance and remains on the altar.

Let us pray…

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with your servants Gregory and Macrina
to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

Benediction

Video: 13 – Tantum Ergo version 5 (No Candles)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emhk3oRu8PY

Equipment: Monstrance, Bells, Humeral Veil

Dismissal:

Video: 14 – Coventry Dismissal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejmVGETRzXQ

End:

Video: 15 – Polyphonic Spree

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GewbAuTgu5g


Trinity Meditation

Things have been getting a bit Rublev recently…

Firstly this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IysKtbG0pZM

Wish I could get a better quality audio of this, or even trace it. It was on a YouTube Video of a bunch of Uni students (I assume English Majors) trying to make sense of John Donne’s sublime metaphysicality:

and now Caroline has come up with a stonking meditation on the Trinity Ikon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBRtB1nzyxk

We plan to use both of them on Saturday night… are you coming?


Sermon: Ordinary 21 Year B

Text: John 6:60-69

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

It’s taken five years, but I bet by now you have adjusted to the idea that life at St Thomas the Apostle can be risky, you never can quite tell what the incumbent is going to say next, or do next, or how much the liturgy will have changed. A member of the congregation told me that she wonders whenever she goes away on holiday what will be different when she returns!

So, not for the first time, my dear friends, have I got something challenging to say to you. Not for the first time is the possibility that what I say to you this morning will be offensive…

And the potential words of offense, of challenge, of outrage … are the words of the Gospel!

The Church has become the establishment, has settled into a position of power and comparative wealth (although clearly not in this area). It has assumed the trappings of political influence and cultural importance and through that it has become corpulent, bloated and ineffectual. The worst thing the Church did, was become the state religion of Rome in the 4th Century because it was then that it moved from a fringe position, from a radical dynamic force for change and for good: a faith which placed God first and its buildings second and moved into the high street.

Now clearly, since the 4th Century the Church has done an awful lot of good: has spread the Gospel far and wide and made Jesus Christ, Son of God and Saviour of the World known and yet still has lost its edge. The result is a Church which glosses over the radical message of a Gospel of Salvation to the Poor, Freedom to the Captive, Sight to the Inwardly Blind and settles for a bland conservatism (with a small ‘c’ naturally, this is not a place for ludicrous party politics).

Someone once told me that they came to Church to escape from the harsh realities of life, to leave the horrible world at the door; and yet that is precisely NOT what the Gospel calls us to – we are called to bring the realities of life, our challenges, our difficulties, our doubts and offer them at this holy altar to the God who was nailed to a cross for us, and for all the mess, hurt, anguish and pain that make up our lives.

When Jesus told his numerous followers some of the challenging truths about the Kingdom of God, it alienated a great number. All of this talk of bread and body, of eating flesh and drinking blood was so outrageous to the Jew schooled in adherence to the Law of Moses, the Torah. Cannibalism? Non-Kosher Meat (which had had all the blood removed)? The man’s association with outcasts, with women, with Gentiles, with unschooled fishermen and traitors to the Jewish state, with political radicals and with Roman Centurions, with you and I put Jesus on the edge of polite, established Jewish society.

And when he started telling them that in order to obtain eternal life, they would consume the Messiah, many freaked. They walked away.

We sort of assume that everyone who encountered Jesus was transformed for all time, that everyone who heard his teaching just knew that this was it, and became automatic followers of the light.

But clearly that wasn’t the case. For every Lazarus and Centurion, for every Mary Magdalene and Zaccheus there were many more who just couldn’t make the life changes and adjustments in attitude needed to embrace fully the will of God. Jesus and more importantly his Gospel was not always an immediate hit.

John speaks of those who choose the light and the many more who chose the darkness. It is always a choice and simply to be presented with the Gospel is not to be automatically won over by it.

For this, we should be encouraged. For the work of Mission which is at the heart of our life here at St Thomas the Apostle will always be a hard, challenging slog. There will be times when we work hard with people and individuals and they will walk away from us. Our relatives and friends might not want to find Christ here, or indeed find Christ in any other place. And that might hurt.

That’s okay. Unlike some churches who suggest that salvation is only available here, now, for a limited period only and with only a limited number of spaces available for the lucky contestants, we believe in a God who is infinite, multivaried, endlessly forgiving and loving and who keeps on calling the whole world to himself.

Those who walk away from Christ have not (yet) damned themselves, for God gives them an infinite number of possibilities for reconciliation with him.

Jesus was not disheartened by the walking away of a few people. He did not change his message or his preaching to recapture his popularity. We will not falter from our proclamation of a God of love, of inclusiveness, of radical hospitality because it is not popular with bishops or certain sectors of the Church – for as Peter himself identified “these are the words of eternal life”.

People may choose to reject the Church, to turn from its trappings of power and establishment and to criticize those who minister in it as imperfect (well, that is a surprise, I have to admit – human beings in priesthood being less than perfect, fancy that!) They may ridicule our recognition that we are not the individualistic centres of a personal universe and that there is an otherness which defies language and science and is what we therefore label ‘God’.  However, when the going gets tough, and mankind’s fraility and limitations are in sharp relief, one finds that there are no atheists in a foxhole when the shells are flying.

The words of eternal life are present. The Word of all creation is present amongst us: the Holy Spirit is here, and in that most challenging, offensive, outrageous symbol of all, Christ the living word of eternal life is truly present. On this altar, In this simple bread and wine transformed into the body and blood of Christ, is found the spirit which gives life.

To where else can we go?

Come. Hear. Eat. Engorge. Share. Live. Eternally.

Amen


Blesséd – Bittersweet: a penitential rite for Greenbelt 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkqE7bQZ45o

Screen: reconcile

1 min 45 sec introduction, guided by the markers on screen

  1. Life is complex and hard. Life is challenging and not without its fair share of pain. The preacher on TV who offers you untold riches, health, wealth, healing and joy has clearly never read the book of Job.
  2. Life is beautiful and delicate. Life is filled with joy and laughter. The glass which was created by God is always at least half-full, beyond half-full, and closer to full to overflowing.
  3. To see life as either one or the other is to miss the point of life in all its rollercoaster of variety. We learn in life to take the bitter and the sweet.
  4. Around this sacred space are six stations, where you may taste in the lemon the bitterness of life, where you can offer to God in penitence those difficult, trying, hard things in your life. You may also taste a spoonful of honey – to taste and see that the Lord is good as the Psalmist said, and to give thanks to God for his many many blessings.
  5. Without one, there is no other. Without both, life is meaningless. Offer them both to God in penitence and faith, and let us now be reconciled to God.

Stations: Four or six stations with a balti dish of lemons (and a bin) and a dish of honey with small spoons to taste a lemon and a spoon of honey.

Each station has text by it:

Taste the bitterness of life
Without this, the sweet,
good times are nothing.

Give to God the pain, the
sadness and the hurt.

Taste & See that the Lord is good
---
Taste the sweetness of life
Without this, the bitter,
ugly, hard times become
everything.

Give thanks to God for the joy,
the pleasure and the laughs.

Taste & See that the Lord is good
---
In Happy moments, praise God.
In Difficult moments, seek God.
In Quiet moments, worship God.
In Painful moments, trust God.
In Every moment, thank God

Absolution:

Screen: you are forgiven

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive you all your offences; and by his authority committed to me, I absolve you from all your sins: +In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord has put away all your sins, and of your charity, pray for me, a sinner also Amen

I think I adapted this originally from something the wonderful Jonny Baker did, but over time it has evolved into something a bit more Blesséd-y in terms of language and ritual. The filming of the honey pouring is ages old, and could really do with a reshoot. Today’s genius creation is the ‘time-remaining’ strip which moves across the bottom of the screen indicating clearly when the video is about to run out. It is a small thing but will make such a difference for the celebrant and the VJ.



Rush Hour

[vimeo=6017188

Awesome timelapse, if only I could get hold of the video, it would make an amazing meditation…

Go full screen and pray with this on…