Archives January 2011

Rest Eternal…

I am hoping and praying that the technology works for the live audio broadcast of Elizabeth’s funeral this morning. It is running off a mobile dongle (as we haven’t a phone line) and is subject to all kinds of difficulties. Please visit http://www.saintthomaselson.org.uk/193/ for the info on the audio feed. It will go live after 10.45am GMT this morning. If that fails, I will be recording the service anyway (directly onto Sony Vegas) and making it available as a podcast very shortly afterwards on our podcast site: http://parishlife.podbean.com/

The thing is, I don’t want this part to distract from the worship, the liturgy, the Requiem Mass and the celebration of Elizabeth’s life. If the technology gets in the way then it will not have been what it was intended for. Please pray for me, as I preside, and recognise that it does not come without cost. Pray for the soul of Elizabeth.

Rest Eternal, grant unto her, O Lord.  And let light perpetual shine upon her

May she rest in peace and rise in glory



Extra thoughts on the Beatitudes

Taken with respect from http://worshipingwithchildren.blogspot.com/2010/12/year-fourth-sunday-in-epiphany-fourth.html

In today’s world…

It’s good for the rich,

they can buy whatever they want.

It’s good for the strong,

they can take whatever they want.  They will also make the team.

It’s good for the winners,

they get all the prizes.

It’s good for the smart,

they get straight A’s, get to go to Uni, and get good jobs.

It’s good for the beautiful,

they will get their pictures in magazines and get to be in the movies.

It’s good for the grownups,

they get to make all the plans.

Jesus says that in his kingdom…

It’s good for those who know they do not know everything.

They belong in God’s world.

It’s good for those who are terribly sad.

They will be comforted.

It’s good for those who obey.

They will be in charge.

It’s good for those who don’t get justice now.

They WILL get it.

It’s good for those who forgive and care about others.

God forgives and cares about them.

It’s good for those who are seek to hold onto God’s values.

They will see God.

It’s good for the peacemakers.

They will be praised as God’s own children.

It’s good for those who are hurt because they stand up for God’s ways.

They will be God’s heroes and heroines.

It’s even good for you when people come after you because you follow me.

You will be rewarded.

 


Sermon: Ordinary 4, Year A – Beatitudes

Text: Matthew 5:1-11

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”

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

Two babies were sat in their cribs, when one baby shouted to the other,
“Are you a little girl or a little boy?”
“I don’t know,” replied the other baby giggling.
“What do you mean, you don’t know?” said the first baby.
“I mean I don’t know how to tell the difference,” was the reply.
“Well, I do,” said the first baby chuckling.
“I’ll climb into your crib and find out.”
He carefully manoeuvred himself into the other baby’s crib, then quickly disappeared beneath the blankets.
After a couple of minutes, he resurfaced with a big grin on his face.
“You’re a little girl, and I’m a little boy,” he said proudly.
“You’re ever so clever,” cooed the baby girl, “but how can you tell?”
“It’s quite easy really,” replied the baby boy,
“you’ve got pink booties on and I’ve got blue ones.

Purity in heart, Our Lord tells us, will enable us to see God. Purity in heart is this morning’s challenge to us from the Sermon on the Mount. But purity is not about being scandalised that I was about to tell a risqué joke from the pulpit, but rather about clearing out all those things that prevent us from seeing God properly. Purity is not an attitude, but a way of being; and for all that it is one of the hardest (but achievable) challenges that the Christian faith sets us.

If you look again at the Beatitudes, you can see that they appear in a form of order: an 8-step program to become a true child of God, as one would say in fashionable self-help-speak. One Beatitude builds upon another. Our Lord teaches us first to become Poor in Spirit, and empty ourselves of our pride; to be Gentle to others; to Mourn, mourn our past lives, repent and turn to God for forgiveness and comfort; to hunger and thirst for what is right and to work to resolve the world’s and the community’s problems; to be Merciful, particularly to those who wrong us – a lesson perhaps for those contemplating the introduction of house arrest in this supposedly free country ; to be a peacemaker, at home, at work, at school, as well as between nations; and finally, to be persecuted – the ultimate mark of standing up for Christ in this hostile and indifferent world.

Purity in heart therefore is something to which we can all aspire to, something that is not an unachievable ideal available only to the truly Saintly, but is something which we can all attain with the help of the Church through faith in Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Look again at the simple, contrasted phrases of the beatitudes and you see some of the greatest challenges to mankind ever issued. Christ does not advocate the status quo, or a comfortable haven or a quiet life. His teaching subverts the values of the society he lived in then, and continues to subvert a modern society which values material wealth over spiritual richness, values individual self-interest over community spirit and the hedonistic pursuit of individual pleasure over care for others.

The Gospel is not an easy ride. It is not a place of retreat in our declining years. It is a challenge. One of the problems with the translation of the bible used this morning is the use of the word “happy”, which in the context of what I am talking about appears a bit weak. The Greek word is “makarios”, which means “blessed”. Of course, when one is blessed by God, one becomes happy, supremely happy; but the sense of “makarios” is much more profound, in actually receiving the blessing of God, that supreme source of all our happiness.

The Beatitudes do not call for us to withdraw from the world, to wrap ourselves up in a cosy little cocoon of pleasant music and unchallenging liturgy, but to engage with it – to hunger and thirst for the kingdom of God in our midst. To achieve purity of heart, we must not isolate ourselves from the horrors of this terrible world, but stand up and say “this is what Christ call us to…”

If we want to achieve such purity, then we need to put aside our self-interest, put aside our vanity and our prejudice and open ourselves out to an encounter with God. All the way through the Scriptures, encounter with God – burning bush, chariot of fire, 40 days of the wilderness – was always something challenging, uncomfortable and unsettling. In the stillness of prayer and in the bustle of action to better the society around us, the call of God is a call to work not for what we can get out of it, but for the glory of God, through which we ourselves become holy, become pure.

If you can live out the challenge of the beatitudes: and especially to remain pure in heart, amid all the poisonous self-interest of modern society, then you too, will be ‘makarios’ – truly, truely Blessed.

Amen.

 


Liturgy: Ordinary 4, Year A

 

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

 

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

 

Grace, mercy and peace from God Our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit be with you all

and also with you

 

My dear friends in Christ, we gather together this morning to offer this holy sacrifice and to encounter God in prayer, worship and sacrament.

 

We pray especially today for life work and witness of the parish, praying that we may be open to the values of the Beatitudes, the values of the Gospel.

 

The grace of God has dawned upon the world
through our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who sacrificed himself for us to purify a people as his own.

Let us therefore confess our sins…

 

 

The Collect

Let us pray

 

Lord our God,

Help us to love you with all our hearts

and to love all people as you love them.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord

who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

ever one God, for ever and ever.

 

All    Amen.

 

Alleluia

 

Alleluia, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad:

your reward will be great in heaven.

All    Alleluia.

 

The Peace

 

Our Saviour Christ is the Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there shall be no end.

 

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you


 

Prayer after Communion

 

Lord, you invigorate us with this help to our salvation.

By this eucharist give the true faith continued growth throughout the world. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Lord

 

Amen

 

Notices

 

Blessing

 

The Lord be with you

And also with you

 

Christ the Son of God perfect in you the image of his glory
and gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom; and the blessing of God almighty,

the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

All    Amen.

 

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

All    Thanks be to God.

 


Liturgy: Ordinary 3, Year A

Ordinary 3, Year A

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

Grace, mercy and peace from God Our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit be with you all

and also with you

Sing a new song to the Lord! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Truth and beauty surround him, he lives in holiness and glory. (Psalm 96:1,6)

My dear friends in Christ, we come together to offer this Holy Sacrifice to the God that calls us to discipleship.

We pray with special intention for the life work and witness of the parish and that we may be given the grace to follow him and be fishers of souls.

The grace of God has dawned upon the world
through our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who sacrificed himself for us to purify a people as his own.
Let us therefore confess our sins.

I confess…

The Collect

Let us pray

All-powerful and ever-living God,
direct your love that is within us,
that our efforts in the name of your Son
may bring mankind to unity and peace.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Psalm Response

The Lord is my light and my help

Celtic Alleluia

Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ was revealed in flesh, proclaimed among the nations
and believed in throughout the world.

Alleluia.

The Peace

Our Saviour Christ is the Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there shall be no end.

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you


Prayer after Communion

God, all-powerful Father,
may the new life you give us increase our love
and keep us in the joy of your kingdom.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

Notices

Blessing

The Lord be with you

And also with you

Christ the Son of God perfect in you the image of his glory
and gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom;
and the blessing of God almighty,

the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

Amen.

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

Thanks be to God


Liturgy: Ordinary 2, Year A

 

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

 

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

 

Grace, mercy and peace from God Our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit be with you all

and also with you

 

 

May all the earth give you worship and praise, and break into song to your name, O God, Most High. (Psalm 65:4)

 

My dear friends in Christ, we come together this morning into the presence of Almighty God, our heavenly Father to give thanks for wonderful gift of his sacraments.

 

As we meet in broken bread and wine outpoured, we seek to encounter the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the whole world.

 

We pray therefore for the life, work and witness of this parish, praying that God can be proclaimed throughout this place and that more may be brought to encounter him through these sacred mysteries.

 

The grace of God has dawned upon the world
through our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who sacrificed himself for us to purify a people as his own.
Let us therefore confess our sins.

 

I confess…

 

 

The Collect

Let us pray

 

Father of heaven and earth,
hear our prayers,
and show us the way to peace in the world.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

 

Alleluia

 

Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!

 

All    Alleluia.

 

The Peace

 

Our Saviour Christ is the Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there shall be no end.

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you


 

Prayer after Communion

 

Lord,
you have nourished us with bread from heaven.
Fill us with your Spirit,
and make us one in peace and love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Notices

 


Blessing

 

The Lord be with you

And also with you

 

Bow your heads and pray for God’s Blessing…

 

Christ the Son of God perfect in you the image of his glory
and gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom;
and the blessing of God almighty,

the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

Amen.

 

The mass is ended. Go in the peace of Christ

Thanks be to God.

 

 


Thanksgiving for Marriage

As Fr. Kelvin pointed out, I would prefer this to be a Thanksgiving for Marriage and Civil Partnership, but they won’t let me solemnize those in Church yet, but this Parish prays for the day when it can.

In the meantime, this celebration and thanksgiving is certainly and most definitely for all those who are married, in civil partnership, widowed or just supportive of the any of the above.



Squatters at the Middlesex Hospital

I trained as a Registered General Nurse at the Middlesex. I met my wife on Bond Street Ward (Orthopaedics), at least that’s the story I tell to avoid lurid tales of drunken Nurse’s Home Parties, but we were actually going out with each other when this trouble-making RCN Steward Student arrived on Bond Street. Once a wonderful hospital smack bang in central London now just a hole in the ground 🙁

The Rhumatology Department was on the next corner, and this building occupied seems to be there, in Arthur Stanley House, although in other shots I wonder if it wasn’t the block which housed Hardy Roberts, the Children’s ward on the top. Which ever it was, this video brings back warm memories of working at the Middlesex (Holmes Sellors Cardiothoracic Surgery and ITU) and all those wonderfully named wards I worked on as a student.


Whither Unity?

Today Fr Marcus Stock, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has announced that sometime soon (have you noticed that everyone waits on the Vatican to do something and it never puts itself out to do anything except in its own good time) the Personal Ordinariate will be established for the few Anglicans who can’t wait to cross the Tiber, or at least dip a toe into Tiberian waters. It begins with three former Anglican Bishops who by Saturday will be Roman(ish) Priests and then it will be (depending upon who you listen to) the fracture and dissolution of the Church of England, or a trickle of already embittered Priests and a bit of their congregation who will have to uproot to the area RC church (there is one priest and four churches between Fareham and Gosport, I believe) and be treated with contempt by  “cradle catholics” until the Parousia.

I asked a colleague whom I respect utterly but who has a different perspective to mine if he was going to join the Ordinariate, he laughed and said “Oh no, if I was going to go to Rome, I’d become a proper Roman, not one of these plastic catholics“.

When one looks at the background information on the Ordinariate, and the arguments put forward by others unknown (but I have my suspicions) clearly intending to jump asap, what one sees coming up time and time again is the striving for unity: “entering into full communion” with the subtext of  “rejoining the one true church”. It shows up the ARCIC dialogues for what they truely have been: a process of sublimating all other discussions until Rome gets its own way: you can have Unity, but only if it is on Rome’s terms.

If Unity has all along therefore been about being subject to Rome, submitting to a dubious claim to Primacy (based more upon politics than the intention of Our Lord himself), then I’m personally glad that the decision of the Church of England to listen for once to the Holy Spirit and to discern that God was calling women to Ordained Ministry as Bishops, Priests and Deacons. This, the detractors claim, is the final nail in the unity coffin, because from here we can never go back… but wait… go back, what? To reunification?

That isn’t what one strives for when one prays for Unity.

We are not called to homogenity, but to recognise our diversity. Rome was not Antioch, was not Corinth and certainly was not Jerusalem, and therefore it should not be Canterbury. What joins us should be our proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord, a recognition of the sacramental action of God in our world and a love of tat. I believe this returns us to the Anglopapalist arguments of the late Oxford Movement and the 1930s, and takes us no further. Rome demands today in Anglicanorum coetibus what it demanded of Newman: cross the Tiber, renounce your Anglicanism and become Roman.

It amused me no end that the initial thinking of the Ordinariate was that it would want to use “Anglican” liturgy, perhaps BCP or Common Worship, but by now they have realised that all those who intend to cross have never used those liturgies anyway and are almost wholly Roman Rite anyway. It says much about how much interest the Vatican had in them beforehand. Now, I notice that it says

“In addition to the Roman Rite, some of the liturgical rites of the Anglican tradition which have been adapted and approved by the Holy See may be used by the members of the Ordinariate.

It is expected that in due course, suitable rituals (Sacramentary, Divine Office, etc.) will be promulgated for Ordinariates across the world. However, as it will be fully a part of the Latin Catholic Church (as distinct from the Byzantine, Maronite, Chaldean Catholic Church, etc.) the Ordinariate will always be able to use the Roman Rite.”

So, Father doesn’t have to put away his Breviary when he crosses the Tiber…

In the meantime, as the few dedicated ones transfer, leaving more dates available for Pilgrimage to the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham, I wonder how quickly they will be asked to vacate their Vicarages, and who will be keeping body and soul together when their stipends cease. Have the ex-Anglican Bishops who were received into the Roman Church on 1st January 2011 moved into their own accommodation? Or because the Church of England is so inefficient, I expect a “period of grace” has been afforded them: if a Roman Priest expressed any desire for crossing the Thames then they would be out on their ear before sundown, I would predict.

I don’t want this post to come across as crowing because some people whom I love dearly (and a number whom I don’t like at all, but Christ calls me to love) will be leaving the Church that I feel still has a place for those opposed to the ordination of women and the LGBT – I think we are better and stronger because of that, and I lament their defection. I also fear for them that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the Tiber and the flexibility and autonomy that they loved in the Anglican Communion (until we have a Covenant) will not translate to the autocratic, inflexible and opaque Roman Church. My message to them is certainly not “sod off”, no one has “won” an argument, and whilst LGBT people are denied ordination there is still much listening to the Holy Spirit that our Church has to do, but if a relationship is broken, and if they feel that the Roman Church is right for them, then I wish them well and pray for them, praying that my fears for them are not realised and that they continue to flourish in God’s grace.

What I do hope is that from their exalted position in Peter’s bosom, they stop looking down upon those of us who think differently, and start to work for proper Unity, which is based upon mutual respect and a recognition that there is more than one Church focused upon the one true Christ, the son of the living God.