Archives February 2010

Sermon: Lent 2, Year C – Mother Margaret Hay

Texts: Genesis 15: 5-18, Psalm 26, Philippians 3: 17-4: 1, St Luke 9: 28-36

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

One of the problems of having small gospel readings Sunday by Sunday is that we see only a few verses and look at them in isolation.  We forget what went before and don’t bother with what comes after.  That is a mistake because the gospel is not just about what is said but the context in which it comes to be said.  Today is a case in point.  The setting of this gospel reading is all important.

Jesus has been preaching and healing for 3 years of active ministry and He has already heading for Jerusalem and the showdown with the authorities.  He has found large crowds following wherever He went, but some of them were there to watch the spectacles and the stunts for which He was becoming famous.  He needs to know what the small band of loyal followers really think of Him.  Has this mission really taken off or has it been a waste of time?  He has to know and a week before today’s episode He asks the disciples who they think He is.  That is when St Peter makes his great statement, ‘you are the Christ, the son of the living God’.   What a relief that must have been!  At least someone is on the right track!

Whatever Jesus does, He always seeks out His father’s will first.  He has not come to earth to please Himself but to please the Father who sent Him.  That is why we read so often that He spends time in prayer.  As He heads in the direction of Jerusalem, He needs to be sure that this is only way for Him to go.  An on that mountain top He receives the endorsement He seeks.

We cannot know exactly what happened on that mountain, but we can be grateful that St Peter was part of the inner circle to be privileged to be part of it.  St Luke’s gospel [and the later ACTS is based largely on St Peter’s recollections.  This gives us the nearest to an eye witness account of that event.

Whatever happened it was spectacular, something hard to put into words, and very clearly the endorsement that Jesus needed.  The vision of His endorsement by Moses and Elijah is a clear message to His Jewish followers, since Moses is the lawgiver and Elijah the prophet who have provided the backbone of their religion and culture.  [BCP Ten Commandments – all the law and the prophets.  The presence of St Peter, for all his faults, to become the ‘rock upon which the church would be built’, is a clear message for generations to come.  Underpinning all this is the clear endorsement of what His son is about to undergo.  ‘This is my son, the chosen one. Listen to Him’.  That was their message and it is ours.

Whether or not we have had a mountain top experience of God – that moment when He is so close we feel we can touch Him, we can all LISTEN to Him.  We listen in the silence of our hearts, we listen in prayer.  We listen when we go about our work of looking after the vulnerable and marginalised, when we think of serving others rather than being served by them.  But mostly we listen when we encounter Him in the Sacraments; that sublime moment when our humanity and His divinity touch.

Lent is NOT about giving up sugar, smoking, alcohol.  It’s not about taking more exercise, worthwhile those these actions are for their own sake..  These attempts all too often leave us bad-tempered and miserable.  It’s not about starvation and long faces and a desperate impatience for Easter Sunday and freedom.  Lent is be about a time of growth, in faith, in love, in service.  The Missal reminds us on Ash Wednesday that Lent is a time for reconciliation; a time of healing in our relationships with God and with each other.  We can begin that healing when we listen to what God is challenging us to do and to be.  We can start by quiet contemplation of the act of One Man in the heat and dust of a Friday afternoon and why He did what He did for us.

‘This is my son the Chosen One, LISTEN TO HIM’


Youth Club Group Time: Self-Image

With the publication of the research today on the early sexualisation of children and the influence of society, the media and peer pressure which leads into body identity issues in young people, here is myReal or Fake Session for tonight’s group work in Youth Club.

Hanging on a washing line are a series of pictures which are before and after photoshopping: Real or Fake

Young people decide which is which

During this video I will invite us to reflect on many forms of beauty beyond the physical, and beyond the media sales machine, and look towards the beauty of our relationship with God.

Blesséd Foundation Stones at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford. 22nd Feb 2010 for the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

Liturgy now. Photos to follow.



01 – Call to Worship

02 – Busy


Video:03 – Liturgical Greeting v.

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.

My dear friends in Christ, the theme for our mass today is Foundation Stones. We recall Christ’s words to Peter, ‘You are the rock on which I will build my church’

In this Lenten ember week we offer this holy sacrifice this evening as a Mass of Vocation, a celebration of Christ’s calling to us all to serve him in different capacities.

For many of us here tonight this is a call to the ordained priesthood of his church, for others it is a call to the public life of being a part of a clergy family alongside other individual callings, for some it is the calling to teach and train people for the priesthood.

We remember also Peter’s own instructions to church leaders:

  • Just as shepherds watch over their sheep, you must watch over everyone God has placed in your care.
  • Do it willingly in order to please God, and not simply because you think you must.
  • Let it be something you want to do, instead of something you do merely to make money.
  • Don’t be bossy to those people who are in your care, but set an example for them.

Then when Christ the Chief Shepherd returns, you will be given a crown that will never lose its glory (1 Pet 5 2-4 CEV)

And so as we gather to encounter God in these holy and sacred mysteries, we prepare ourselves by calling to mind our sins…

Penitential Rite

Video: 04 – Incense Penitential Rite

Music: Eno: Dunwich Beach, Autumn 1960

At the end:

Screen: Kyries

Sung: Kyrie by Matt Maher

God of Reconciliation, Heal our wounds in darkest times

Kyrie Eleison
Kyrie Eleison.

In the midst of fear and darkness,, make our lives a prayer of peace

Christe Eleison.
Christe Eleison.

Healer of the broken hearted, Guide us home to heaven’s shores.

Kyrie Eleison
Kyrie Eleison.


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.

Book of Common Prayer, Visitation of the Sick p317

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



Let us pray

Almighty God,

who inspired your apostle Saint Peter

to confess Jesus as Christ and Son of the living God:

build up your Church upon this rock,

that in unity and peace it may proclaim one truth

and follow one Lord, your Son our Saviour Christ,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Liturgy of the Word

Video: 05 – Word

Video: 06 – Son of God

Meditation: Foundation Stones

Video: 07 – Foundation Stones Meditation 1

Audio: Brian Eno – The Plateaux of Mirrors (from Ambient 2)

Who do you say that I am?

We have answered that question many times,

You are the Christ, The Messiah, The Son of the living God.

But we couldn’t leave it there, as a simple statement

Because the light of that answer

You are the Christ, The Messiah, The Son of the living God.

Shines into our being and prompts us to ask

who do you say that we are?

And we have heard your voice

Some as a loud trumpet

And others a hesitant whisper

And we have heard your blessing

And felt your call

You are the rock on which I will build my church,

And so we have answered your question

Who do you say that I am?

You are the Christ, The Messiah, The Son of the living God.

Before partners, families and friends,

Before sending vicars, DDOs, examining chaplains, bishops and their advisors,

Before college tutors and principals

But we couldn’t leave it there, as a simple statement

Because the light of that answer

You are the Christ, The Messiah, The Son of the living God.

Shines into our being and prompts us to ask

Who do you say that we are?

You are the rock on which I will build my church,

And because of that answer,

Although some of us feel too small to fill the gaping hole that we see,

And some of us feel too weak to support the weight of expectation,

For who is a rock besides our God?

We have left our former lives

To engage more deeply with these questions

To find out what it means

To be be built into a spiritual house,

To be formed into a holy priesthood,

To offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God

Because you have said

You are the rock on which I will build my church,

We need to be shaped to fill the hole,

Some of us have rough edges

And need to be made smooth,

Some of us need to be broken open

To reveal the treasure within,

To be made Strong, Immovable, Trustworthy.

And all of us need to be polished

To reflect your face more fully


You are the Christ, The Messiah, The Son of the living God

and you have said that

we are the rock on which you will build your church,

and death itself will not have any power over it.


Video: 08 – Visual Intercessions

The Liturgy of the Sacrament


Video: 09 – Blessed 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 always with you.

And also with you.

Let us offer one another a sign of peace

The Peace is shared

The Offertory

As the offertory is played, bread and wine move haphazardly from the rear to the altar, passing through most members of the congregation

Video: 10 – Blesséd be your name (iWorship)

The Eucharistic Prayer

Video: 11 – Joined with Angels – Eucharistic Prayer B (Cuddesdon)

The Lord be with you

and 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.

1      Father, we give you thanks and praise

through your beloved Son Jesus Christ, your living Word,

through whom you have created all things;

who was sent by you in your great goodness to be our Saviour.

2      By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh;

as your Son, born of the blessed Virgin,

he lived on earth and went about among us;

3      he opened wide his arms for us on the cross;

he put an end to death by dying for us;

4      and revealed the resurrection by rising to new life;

so he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people.

5      Therefore with angels and archangels,

and with all the company of heaven,

we proclaim your great and glorious name,

for ever praising you and singing:


We are joined by angels,

Our purpose the same:

To worship the one and only God,

A little piece of heaven in this place

And we cry together: Holy, holy

For there is no other like You, Lord.

We declare together: You are awesome,

You are to be feared, honoured and revered,

For You are the Lord.

We are joined by angels,

With one voice we sing,

As we lift our hands to honour You,

In worship, the angels extend their wings.

And we cry together: Holy, holy

For there is no other like You, Lord.

We declare together: You are awesome,

You are to be feared, honoured and revered,

For You are the Lord.

The priest continues

6       Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;

7       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;

8     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:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.

9     In the same way, after supper

he 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 many for the forgiveness of sins.

10    Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.

<no memorial acclamation>

11    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.

12     As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,

we bring before you this bread and this cup

and we thank you for counting us worthy

to stand in your presence and serve you.

13     Send the Holy Spirit on your people

and gather into one in your kingdom

all who share this one bread and one cup,

so that we, in the company of Our Blessed Lady,

St Thomas the Apostle, St Peter______________

all the saints,

may praise and glorify you for ever,

through Jesus Christ our Lord;

14     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.

And we cry together: Holy, holy

For there is no other like You, Lord.

We declare together: You are awesome,

You are to be feared, honoured and revered,

For You are the Lord.


The Lord’s Prayer

Video: 12 – Lord’s Prayer Short Modern

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ

Though we are many we are one body,

because we all share in one bread.

Agnus Dei

Video: 13 – Rufus Wainwright: Agnus Dei

This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins 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.


Video: 14 – Prayer from the Heart

Post Communion Prayer

Let us pray

God our Father,

you have given us the body and blood of Christ

as the food of life.

On this feast of Peter the Apostle,

may this communion bring us redemption

and be the sign and source of our unity and peace.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord.


Blessing & Dismissal

Video: 15 Joy Division Blessing

Video: 16 – Polyphonic Spree


Visual Intercessions: Foundation Stones

Focussing on Haiti and the Community of Students at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, where Blesséd will be offered tomorrow night.

Lou suggested we use this as the intercessions in the parish this morning, and at 8am and 10am it shall be so. Yes, even our 8am Low Mass congregation is radical enough to pray with Visual Intercessions! God praise!

Oh, the joys of biblical literalism…

From the Guardian’s Jo Adetunji, Saturday 13 February 2010:

Outrage as vicar urges women to submit to husbands

Congregation finds sermon more in keeping with ‘dark ages’

A vicar has caused outrage among his congregation after urging women to “be silent” and “submit” to their husbands.

Angus MacLeay, rector of St Nicholas Church in Sevenoaks, Kent, made the comments, which some parishioners thought were more in keeping with a sermon from the dark ages than the modern Church of England, in a leaflet entitled “The Role of Women in the Local Church”.

In it, he said women should “not speak” if asked a question that could be answered by their husbands and should “submit to their husbands in everything”.

Using Bible references to justify his comments, he wrote: “Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything in recognition of the fact that husbands are head of the family as Christ is head of the church.

“This is the way God has ordered their relationships with each other.”

In another passage, which appeared under the heading “More Difficult Passages to Consider”, he continued: “It would seem that women should remain silent … if questions could legitimately be answered by their husbands.”

But MacLeay’s words were too difficult to swallow for the dozens of women who cancelled direct debit subscriptions to the Anglican church and vowed not to return.

On Sunday, the curate at St Nicholas delivered a sermon entitled “Marriage and Women” which also urged women to submit to their husbands.

Reverend Mark Oden blamed the “modern woman” for high divorce rates and told the congregation: “We know marriage is not working. We only need to look at figures … Wives, submit to your own husbands.”

Despite the anger and offence caused, Oden stood by his comments. “I did not set out to unnecessarily offend people, but I stand by what God has said in his word, the Bible,” he said.

One female member of the church said she was “disgusted” by Oden’s sermon. “How can they talk that way in the 21st century? No wonder the church is losing touch if this is the kind of gobbledegook they want us to believe. I will not be going back to that church and will have to seriously consider my faith if this is the nonsense they are spouting now,” she said.

Another member said: “What kind of medieval sermon is that? We are not in the 15th century.”

The words may also shock Dr Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England, who holds progressive views.


Do I even need to comment? You just know how ludicrous this is. The trouble is, so many will believe that this is all the Church is about, which is just so sad, and so bad.

Blesséd Daily Texts for Lent

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Sermon: Lent 1 – Temptation and Reconciliation

Text: Luke 4:1-13

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

“I can resist everything – except temptation” said Oscar Wilde.

Of all things in this world, temptation is something that we are not short of, and something which most of us, like Oscar Wilde, find difficult, if not impossible to resist. From the quick fix or the short-cut to the last apple doughnut in the window of the bakery on Palmyra Road, temptation confronts us on every side.

After his baptism Jesus went into the wilderness to prepare for his ministry. He needed to spend time alone with God and he also had to overcome the temptations of Satan. In this Lenten season we too withdraw into a kind of wilderness. We try and spend more time in prayer and to fast from something we enjoy. I am sure that we hope that in this way we will be purified and better fitted to overcome our daily temptations.

Jesus could not enter into his ministry without first being tested, without understanding and even defining for himself his response to the great gift that God had called him to: the vocation to be the Messiah, the anointed one, the chosen Son of God. Just as the enemy tries to seduce Christ into his own selfish glory and physical satiation (as the enemy always does), so Jesus must respond and counter using the Scriptures as his weapons against temptation:

  • “Man(kind) shall not live by bread alone”
  • “Worship God, and him alone”
  • “Do not test the Lord your God”

Recall these in times of temptation, my dear friends, and you will be strong.

After his temptation , Christ begins his ministry in the Gospel of Mark with the portentous prophecy: ‘Repent and believe in the Gospel’ (Mark 12v15). Repentance – remember the greek word: metanoia – to turn around and face the opposite direction, both physically and spiritually.

Repentance is not a fashionable idea today. Many see it as negative or unwholesome to call people sinners and say that we should only look at the positive things about ourselves. Yet, to ignore our sin is to hide our eyes from reality.

If we examine our lives in the light of God’s commands, it is easy to see how far short we fall (Romans 3:23). This being so, we need to take action: recognising our sin is the first stage towards healing: just as in any twelve-step recovery program, the first thing one needs to do with a dependency upon alcohol or drugs, or an eating disorder is to recognise that you have a problem, and after recognising that, it all becomes a lot easier.

In the same way, when one suffers from a condition such as mine: diabetes, one could try and ignore the problem: drink all the beer, eat all the cream cakes (how appropriate for a sermon in Lent), but by ignoring one’s diabetes, one asks for trouble. The step to being able to control one’s diabetes, much like controlling your sin, is to accept the reality of it, and the impact it has on your life.

Repentance does not mean castigating ourselves, and wallowing in our sins: it means admitting them freely and fully before God an asking him to help us change in the future.

This is where the sacrament of reconciliation is most useful: that meeting between an individual and God with the priest as a mediator, counsellor and agent of forgiveness, where advice, penance and absolution may be given, and you – each and every one of you – has the opportunity to have the burden of your sin lifted from you.

In former times it was known as Confession or even Penance, but this focuses more on us, than on the reconciliation and forgiveness that is at the heart of God’s action. Not ours, but God’s. To believe that it is all about you, is to remain as personally fixated and introspective as you were before God touched your life. Reconciliation is about reaching back to the God who continually reaches out to you, and once you have experienced that sense of relief, that sense of release, then you will truely come to know Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have many leaflets on the sacrament of reconciliation, and if you seek this Lent to take up something, why not take up the occasional use of this special sacrament?

It is easy for us to think that our sins are too bad for Jesus to forgive us and change our lives. We may think that we are being humble in taking this attitude, but really it is a lack of faith.

If we trust God’s promises and power, we will be sure that he offers us forgiveness and that the blood of the lamb, the blood of Christ is powerful enough to wash away all our sins, however great, however burdensome to us.

We need to take sin seriously, and hate every sin as an offence against God – sin is a little like being pregnant, you can’t be ‘a little pregnant’ or have a mildly clean driving licence: we either have sinned or we have not, and we in the Anglican Church do not make the trivial distinction that the Roman Church makes between venial and mortal sin: it’s all sin and it all drives a wedge between us and God. Fr Nicolas Stebbing, a monk at the Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield and a major influence on my spirituality once remarked that “every sin, even the seemingly little ones, are like spitting on the face of Christ”.

And yet, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we do not despair: rather we rejoice because we have a Saviour, who died for our sins, and offers his merciful love each and every day, at each and every mass.

This lent, let us turn from our sin, let us repent, and pray that we may know Christ’s forgiveness.


Race Night

Tonight we will be having our Pancakes and Race Night in the Church Hall, just before it falls down.

I know a lot of people have encountered Race Nights with videos and proper betting slips, but I like many are slightly suspicious of these: what if someone has watched them beforehand? Also, they cost money, and we are frugal. I therefore present to you a Race Night which is cheap, lots of family fun (which is, I think you’ll agree the whole point of these), makes a serious amount of money for your parish and gets the whole community involved.


  • Masking Tape (lots of it) to mark out a straight track, 6 lanes and about 19 or 20 steps
  • Two large bits of square foam to act as dice. It is best if one is coloured sides and one is marked as a die. You can buy oversized dice on t’internet.
  • Six wooden hobby horses for the young people to ride, in the primary colours shown on the dice and the sheet.
  • Six books of raffle tickets, preferably in colours which match the colours of the horses and the dice
  • A laptop with my Excel spreadsheet on it (see below)

  • Some markers to act as hurdles or obstacles. I used to use paper places but now use the plastic markers used for football training.
  • Some laminated cards with coloured horses on to signify ‘ownership’ of a horse for a given race.
  • Someone who is prepared to talk up the event, auction off the horses for a shameless amount of money and whip up the enthusiasm during the races. The Vicar works well for this one. I have seen such events compared by someone quiet, and it needs a bit of extrovertism to get the bets, the bids and the thing going. A microphone is a good idea as it kills the throat, and Mass must be said tomorrow.

Optional Extras:

  • A shedload of alcohol and some nice food: tonight will be pancakes, later in the year will be Curry
  • A bit of change for the first few races

Unlike the filmed race nights, the outcome is entirely down to the dice, so is completely random and therefore more fun. By using young people (and for one race, the over 60’s)  the children feel really involved. More than six children? Two more to throw the dice and vary the jockeys. This is especially good when families are shamed into purchasing tickets for their own child, and especially the desire to ‘own’ the horse that their child is riding. Encourage the buying of lots of tickets per race.

Sell tickets for each race, for each horse and enter the number sold in the right box, so in this shot, 4 red tickets sold, 10 yellow tickets. At a ticket price of 25p each, you can see how much each winning horse might win. As you can see a winning ticket can be worth between 60p and £1.45 per ticket. It all depends on how many people bet on a given horse.

Auction off each horse at the beginning of each race. Get the bidding to be part of the excitement. If tables make a syndicate between themselves, they might be bidding for up to £30 or £40 to own it: the more bid, the much better the return. I have seen winning horses make £80-100 or more.

Have you noticed however, the house takes 50% of everything and even this makes it an excellent return for the punter. For every pound paid out as winnings, the parish gets a pound. This applies to the auction as well, so the total amount bid in the auction is halved and the house takes half and the ‘owner’ gets the other half.

This is how we in our small and poor parish can raise £750 in one of these nights. If people come expecting to spend the £20 in their pocket (which is what people normally do – you bring along so much and expect it to be spent by the end of the evening), then they get a full evening of entertainment for it. Their children have a great time, the food is good and good money will be raised for the parish.

Oh, you might say, that is gambling! That is sinful! Do you know? If it raises £750 for the parish, then I don’t care. It is closer to a raffle than a horse race, a tombola than a casino. We don’t have a problem, and neither should you.

So, please feel free to download the spreadsheet, adopt adapt and improve it, and have a lot of fun in the process!