A sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot, taken from the Office of Readings for All Saints Day Let us make haste to our brethren who are awaiting us
Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honours when their heavenly Father honours them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honour from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.
Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them. Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.
When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory. Until then we see him, not as he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned, not with glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honour. When Christ comes again, his death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in splendour with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory as belongs to himself, its head.
Therefore, we should aim at attaining this glory with a wholehearted and prudent desire. That we may rightly hope and strive for such blessedness, we must above all seek the prayers of the saints. Thus, what is beyond our own powers to obtain will be granted through their intercession. Amen
A beautiful and powerful poem for the funeral of a daughter.
I Pray Today
I pray today
in all earnestness
with all my heart and soul
for those whose hands
have reared me
and held me close
for those who have caressed
and eased my pain
and borne the suffering with me;
for those whose hearts
have wept in grief
sung happy songs to me;
for those who show
the patience rare
and help me
to keep my cool;
for those who dwell in my bruised heart
and keep me wrapped
with the warmth of their love.
How can any harm
come to me,
when I am protected
with an armour of love?
My wonderful co-conspirator, Fidge, filmed this quick (very quick) interview about the course we are both on, and here is me trying to (badly) articulate what on earth Digital Theology is, and why it is relevant to the Church and its mission. I didn’t actually mention how good the course was, and how much I would recommend it, but I really would: it’s an awesome course.
Tonight we seek to raise some money for the Friends of S. Mary’s and have a bit of a laugh in the process. Last year we organised a wine tasting, and so this year, inspired by our love of complex alcohol and a mixology session onboard the Queen Victoria, this is the result.
We list the cocktails, some spiel about it and the measures for a single drink. There is also our scaled-up volumes based on 20 people each having approximately 1/3 of a normal cocktail. I ran the front-of-house by presenting and mixing a single example whilst Lou was busy in the background making the volume.
On arrival: Kir
150ml chilled Prosecco or Cava 50ml Crème de Cassis
For 20 people: 1500ml Prosecco (2 x bottles) £12.00 & 500ml Crème de Cassis (1 bottle) = £9.00 =£21.00
General welcome and introduction about ‘cocktails’ Read the origin of the word from the Savoy Cocktail book (1930) p. 13 – 14
“Most of the people one meets in places where Cocktails grow have an idea that they know the origin of the word “Cocktail”; none of them, however, agree as to what that origin is, and in any case they are all wrong, as they always put that origin somewhere between sixty and seventy years ago (a book published in 1930), whereas in The Balance, an American periodical, of May 13, 1806, we read that:
“Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters – it is vulgarly called bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion.”
This is the earliest reference to the Cocktail that I have been able to find in print.
Historians have been misled by the word “Cocktail” into imagining that it was once in some way connected with the plumage of the domestic rooster. But this is not so.
The true, authentic and incontrovertible story of the origin of the Cocktail is as follows:-
Somewhere about the beginning of the last century there had been for some time very considerable friction between the American Army of the Southern States and King Axolotl VIII of Mexico. Several skirmishes and one or two battles took place, but eventually a truce was called and the King agreed to meet the American general and to discuss terms of peace with him.
The place chosen for the meeting was the King’s Pavilion, and thither the American general repaired, and was accommodated with a seat on the Bench, as it were, next to the King himself.
Before opening negotiations, however, His Majesty asked the general, as one man to another, if he would like a drink, and being an American general he of course said yes.
The King gave a command and in a few moments there appeared a lady of entrancing and overwhelming beauty, bearing in her slender fingers a gold cup encrusted with rubies and containing a strange potion of her own brewing. Immediately an awed and ominous hush fell upon the assembly, for the same thought struck everyone at the same time, namely, that as there was only one cup either the King or the general would have to drink out of it first, and that the other would be bound to feel insulted.
The situation was growing tense when the cup-bearer seemed also to realize its difficulty, for with a sweet smile she bowed her shapely head in reverence to the assembly and drank the drink herself.
Everything was saved and the conference came to a satisfactory ending, but before leaving, the general asked if he might know the name of the lady who had shown such tact.
“That,” proudly said the King, who had never seen the lady before, “is my daughter Coctel.”
‘Right,” replied the general, “I will see that her name is honoured for evermore by my Army.”
Coctel, of course, became Cocktail, and there you are! There exists definite unquestionable proof of the truth of this story, but no correspondence upon the subject can in any circumstances be entertained.
For our tastings tonight, we can’t even scratch the surface of the many hundreds of cocktails which have been developed and loved over the years. Our aim is to give you a taste of 8 different cocktails, some gin based, vodka based, whiskey based, rum based and a couple of champagne cocktails such as the ‘Kir’ which you have sampled on arrival.
If we were very wealthy of course, we would serve ‘Kir Royale’ which is identical in every respect apart from using sparkling wine from Champagne rather than the Italian Prosecco we have favoured. There will be another champagne cocktail later. These are half size samples. Other cocktails will be 1/3 size so, over the course of the evening you will have the equivalent of 3 full size cocktails. Hence the need for Taxi Zoë at home time!!
Now, let’s start with THE classic …
Cocktail 2: Gin Martini
The origin of the Martini or Martinez, can be traced back as far as 1862 to San Francisco, California. It quickly gained a huge following and rose to the rank of ‘classic’ in 1888 when it was published in Jerry Thomas’s legendary classic ‘How to Mix Drinks’. A marriage between Gin and dry vermouth perfectly balanced to your liking and served in a martini glass created from the cocktail glass of the same style; the martini glass has a larger stem and a wider bowl.
Martini is, of course, most famous as the preferred tipple of James Bond who started off drinking Vodka Martinis and then changed to gin. The name Martini comes, not from the drink, but the shape of the classic ‘Martini’ glass which had the name before the drink. (Sadly, we don’t have enough for you all tonight so your samples will be in wine glasses.)
Bond’s assertion that it should be ‘shaken, not stirred’ is not accepted by any decent mixologist. Martinis are stirred with the ice until the glass they are stirred in is too cold to touch (about 30 seconds).
If cocktails are shaken, small fragments of ice break off and dilute the drink, thereby affecting the taste and making it cloudy. James Bond, you know nothing… or maybe it was Ian Fleming’s commentary on the poor quality of Post-War Spirits!
60 ml Gin 15 ml Vermouth
The amount of vermouth used dictates how ‘dry’ the martini is.
For 20 people (1/3 size): 400ml Gin £8.50 & 200ml vermouth = £1.20 = £10.00
Other Martini descriptions are:
Dirty – with the addition of a dash of olive brine
Wet – heavy on the vermouth
Dickens – without an olive or a lemon twist
Gibson – with 2 cocktail onions
Bradford – shaken with bitters
Churchill – The Churchill martini is the driest. Famously favoured by Sir Winston Churchill and involves waving an unopened bottle of vermouth over neat, chilled gin!
Local interest: Plymouth Gin was mentioned by name in the 1904 publication’ Stuarts Fancy Drinks and How to Mix Them – in the section entitled ‘New and up-to-date drinks’!
One of these said up-to-date drinks was the Marguerite Cocktail which lifted the original Martini with the addition of bitters to slightly lift the dry taste. The currently favoured version also adds a bar spoon of Cointreau)
Cocktail 3: Margarita
With a worldwide reputation, the Margarita carries a heavy burden as the household name of the tequila cocktail family. With such recognition comes dozens of variations – everyone loves a Margarita and everyone has their own idea of what makes the best –
The Margarita is part of the daisy family of cocktails, which were popular in the early 20th century. In fact, ‘margarita’ is the Spanish word for daisy. Cocktails in the daisy family consist of spirit, citrus juice and something to both sweeten it up and to balance the citrus. Although many people think the Margarita comes from Mexico or South America, the origins of a cocktail containing tequila, citrus juice and an orange liqueur can be traced back to the Café Royal Cocktail Book in 1937, well before this combination was published as a Margarita. Named the Picador, its makeup is undoubtedly a tequila daisy, and at 2:1:1 parts respectively, it follows the classic formula of a Margarita. A British invention then? Perhaps.
For the homemade margarita mix:
1/2 cup sugar (or your favourite sweetener – ie 3-5 drops liquid stevia per serving)
& salted glass rims (put lime juice on a saucer, salt on another, turn the glass rimwards into the lime and then the salt)
For 20 people (1/3 size): 350ml Tequila £10.00 & triple sec 135ml = £4.00 = £14.00
Cocktail 4: Manhattan
The general consensus is that the Manhattan originated in New York around the 1930s. Some argue that the original recipe was made with Rye whisky from Canada due to prohibition restrictions in the US. Apparently, there are no documents to support this; however, a recipe for a Manhattan using Canadian Rye whisky features in The Savoy cocktail book of 1930. Whatever bourbon or rye you choose to use, make sure it is balanced out with a splash of sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters to create a truly marvellous drink that you’ll want to try over and over again.
For 20 people (1/3 size): 400ml Bourbon £6.40 & 100ml Martini Rosso = £0.60 = £7.00
Cocktail 5: Cosmopolitan
Classic Cosmopolitan should be fluorescent pink – not red. It was actually born in the 1960s in Florida USA. This classic rose to fame in the mid-2000s thanks to the TV show ‘Sex and the City’. It has ties to the Cape Cod ( The Cape Coder cocktail is vodka and cranberry juice) and the kamikaze cocktails. A pairing of citrus vodka, orange liquor, fresh lime and cranberry juices, it’s easy to see why this is one of the top selling cocktails of all time. Describe the use of the Boston shaker.
45ml Vodka citron 30ml Cointreau 30ml cranberry juice Juice of 1 lime
For 20 people (1/3 size): 300ml Citrus vodka £7.70 & 200ml Cointreau £6.00, 200ml cranberry juice £1.00, 7 limes, £2.00 = £16.00
Cocktail 6: Sex on the Beach
There are several stories claiming to describe the origin of the Sex on the Beach. One claims that the cocktail originated in Florida in the spring of 1987, coinciding with the introduction of peach schnapps. A bartender at Confetti’s Bar devised the drink and gave it the name in a nod to the many tourists visiting Florida’s beaches each spring.
50ml cranberry juice 50ml orange juice 50ml vodka 25ml peach schnapps 2tsp crème de cassis
For 20 people (1/3 size): 350ml cranberry, 350ml orange £2.00, 350ml vodka £4.00, 170ml peach schnaps £1.30 = £7.50
Cocktail 7: Champagne Cocktail
A classic. Winner of the 1899 ‘New York Cocktail’ Competition. This recipe proves simplicity at its best and is easy to make as it requires no special equipment.
1 brown sugar cube 15ml Cognac Angostura bitters Top with Champagne (Prosecco/Cava) (150ml)
For 20 people (1/2 size): 10 sugar cubes (£1) 140ml Cognac £3.00 2000 ml Prosecco = £21.00 = £25.00
Cocktail 8: Officer of the Watch
And finally – the perfect after dinner cocktail to end the evening. Developed aboard Cunard as an alternative to the Espresso Martini. Officer of the Watch uses freshly made espresso which takes on a creamy appearance when shaken with the ice.
45ml gin (original recipe has navy strength) 15ml Amaretto (or Amaretti Syrup) Single Espresso 3 drops chocolate bitters
For 20 people (1/3 size): 300ml Gin £6.40, 100ml syrup £1.00 = £7.50
In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
I am here on serious business today. I am here to warn you all of a great threat to us. A threat to our way of life. A threat to the ease and comfort in which we live. A threat to the personal security that we so often take for granted. I am to speak to you about something, which if left unchecked, could turn our very world upside down.
Some of you may already be thinking that a wedding is not the place to bring up such dire warnings. Weddings should be light, and funny. A wedding sermon should, at minimum, offer some advice to the couple and not take up too much time. Well I apologize in advance because I cannot in good conscience let pass this opportunity to warn you, my dear friends, of this imminent threat that we face.
And rather than bang on about Pop Music lyrics like I usually do at this point – to an extent to which the Mother and Father of the Bride and certainly all of the Choir could recite it along with me, rather than do that, I want to turn to Holy Scripture, for it is full of warnings about the threat that I am concerned with today. So I will let scripture speak for itself.
In the New Testament, and as we have just heard, Saint Paul warns us. In writing to the sophisticated, well-educated Corinthians, who were over flowing in spiritual gifts, he warns them of the insidious danger of love:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
His warning rings true today. Love will turn you into a spineless, wimpy push over and at the same time give you the strength to prevail against all manner of onslaught and conflict. Love will take over your life if you let it. Love will turn your world upside down.
The writer of the first letter attributed to John goes even further, and we heard this at the start of this service:
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love”
1 John 4: 7-8.
If God is love then there is just no escaping it.
Wherever there is love, whoever is loving, however they are loving, that’s God.
Love is risky. Love is demanding. Love is costly, or better yet priceless. There is a power in love.
Love casts down the wealthy and powerful, and lifts up the poor and lowly.
Love cannot rest as long as there are hungry children, broken hearts, or captives of any kind.
Love can change the world, turn it upside down in fact, make up down and last first.
Love does this not in feats of strength but in weakness and vulnerability.
Love is weird like that. Love brought Jesus to the cross and out of the grave.
Love is constantly poured out on all flesh, making all things new.
Yes, God is love and the older I get the harder it is for me to tell the difference between the two.
If you like the way things are, my friends, if you are comfortable, if the status quo is fine by you, then you best steer clear of love.
But in spite of all the warnings from scripture, in the face of a world that seems bent on the opposite of love, and perhaps in contradiction to common sense, two more people gather before God, before us, to commit their lives to love.
Richard and Naomi have seen what love costs, what love demands.
They know that to love means to leave self behind, to empty oneself, to give it all.
They know that love opens oneself up to ridicule, sacrifice and loss, great loss, for Love breaks us open, and the presence of each other, they seek to complete each other.
Their love today is a sacrament, an outward expression of invisible grace.
As Christ gives his life for the church and the church in return gives its life for Christ, so do Richard and Naomi give themselves to each other. Their lives lived in love are not to be hid away but to be lived out in public for all to see. Their shared love is a symbol of the love of God for the world, overflowing to all whom they encounter. Their home a sign of God’s inbreaking Kingdom where justice and peace abound, where love is a higher law.
We who gather here today come to commit ourselves to uphold them in prayer and support them as they answer love’s call. And today too, we are reminded of love’s call on our lives. As we witness the vows of Richard and Naomi may we have our own love strengthened.
For in love, the world is made a more complete place, society a more caring structure, family a deeper bond. For all of us, like the rings exchanged this day, may love be given and received. Let us all recommit ourselves the radical weak power of love, the love of God, in which we live and move and have our being.
May this be our prayer, all of us, in the name of God who is love, God who is +Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
I’ve been a user of Vimeo since 2009 and always thought them to be far superior, hipper and of better quality (and initially length) than YouTube. When YT was limited to 15mins, Vimeo had no such limits and the quality was always higher. They also were under the radar as far as DCMA was concerned.
I make a lot of video using material under copyright, but as they are used for the purposes of Worship, they are normally not subject to copyright restriction. The PRS explicitly say they do not pursue copyright on material used in an act of worship for which no charge is made. All my own original material is placed under Creative Commons license because… it is the Gospel and beyond such earthly limitations.
Now the algorithms which trawl YouTube and now Vimeo cannot make such a nuanced differentiation and so in no time at all I have been bombarded by DCMA copyright strikes and they will not listen to my claim of parody (in the case of some rather clever parodies created for Walsingham) or Worship (see above) and so I have decided therefore to close my Vimeo account.
The tomb is empty
But our lives are now filled with hope and expectation
The facecloth is cast aside
But you are now invited into a new relationship
The stone is rolled away
And a new beginning is revealed.
In the dumbfoundedness of soldiers
In the incredulity of women
In the tears of the faithful
And in the gentle laughter of that gardener who seemed
So strangely familiar…
There is to be found a glimmer of light.
To fall at his feel in the dewy grass very early on that first day of the week
To prostrate before his presence in the company of angels and saints, prophets and patriarchs
To kneel in front of his throne in this sacred space
Is to recognise the new light which has shone out of…
For death has lost it’s final grip
Sin has lost all power
Shame has been overtaken by something unseen
And yet seen enough to be burnt into woven cloth
Impressed into unleavened bread
Conmingled with the fruits of vine
And to be shown to the Magdalene
To be shown to you.
I was asked to include this wedding prayer in a forthcoming service, but I have declined because it merely repeats vows and prayers already said. It is lovely and profound because it echoes the lovely and profound things already covered in the Marriage service. I think it is a lovely prayer to treasure, and perhaps would like to encourage you to say together on your anniversary, to remind you of that vow and covenant.
Lord, bless our love;
Bless our promise
To have and to hold,
To love and to cherish
Each day and always.
Protect our marriage,
And keep us faithful,
So we can support and
Encourage one another
In sorrow and in joy.
Watch over our lives,
Over our home, over our family
Over our hopes and dreams.
We give you thanks
That you make us one
In a bond of love so precious
That through it
We can know your love
Today and always. Amen.
There is a plan for certain churches to run roughshod over the rest of the deanery of the city of Plymouth. It’s an aggressive planting strategy and it worries the rest of us. They put out a consultation document and this is what I said…
Revd Dr Adrian Hough
Exeter Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Secretary
The Old Deanery
Exeter EX1 1HS
Wednesday, 09 May 2018
Re: Formal Consultation on a Proposed Mission Initiative in the City of Plymouth
I write with some comments on the Paper circulated on 1st May 2018 which I hope will add to the discussion on the initiative which will inevitably happen.
The circumstances in which this initiative arises is the result of the continued under-investment in the Deanery of Plymouth by the Diocese: the amount per capita spent on clergy resource within the deanery compared to other deaneries is directly correlatable with the level of church engagement in the areas in question. It is worth noting that all three areas are in parishes which are currently served by a single stipendiary incumbent with little clerical, administrative or lay support. Proper investment in supporting the existing parishes and their distinct tradition, with pastoral and youthworkers rather than resetting these areas in a new spiritual direction may have been more pastoral. That both of these parishes are under the oversight of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet also leaves the impression that there is a determination to undermine the spiritual authority of the parishes.
Of greatest concern to my parish, however, is in the cavalier approach to rapacious expansion that appears to be on the cards. The issuing of a BMO for the whole deanery, and the stated intention that “the plants are determined to create more plants” places the entire deanery in jeopardy of aggressive and frankly unwelcome takeover. When these plants seek to create more plants, they will obviously start to look at other areas where the Church of England is already present and active: S. Anne’s Glenholt feels especially vulnerable by this threat. It is an area where the Church is active and present, but attractive to the kind of Church plant that looks at an area of growth and gentrification as an opportunity for takeover. Under the provisions of this document, that Church feels it will be next, with little safeguard.
The wording of the fourth paragraph of your covering letter, the second para of the Explanatory Notes and most significantly sections 8.1 and 8.3 suggest that further planting WILL happen “without the permission of anyone who has the cure of souls”. The paragraph to “consult” with the local incumbent and the Initiative “informing” the Deanery Synod cuts across the legal and pastoral safeguards established within the Church of England and destabilises the parochial system. Consultation implies no expectation of agreement.
For this reason, I must object most strongly to these two clauses, not just for the way in which they are enacted in the three areas under current consideration, but in the way that they may be misused in future. These paragraphs do not safeguard my mission in the locality to which I have been licensed.
One needs to question whether a Church Plant is the most appropriate model of evangelism for these localities. The characteristics of a Church Plant is that it imports the charism of the parent church into a new area, without responding to local need. The charism of churches from other traditions to that of the parish, from more affluent areas no matter how earnest their enthusiasm may be can be analogised with African and Asian mission in the 19th Century. A more pioneering approach, which is organic, ground-up and based not on such imperialism would ensure that it truly brought the people of Ham, Whitleigh and Ernesettle into a lasting relationship with Christ.
This Mission Initiative has up to this point, not really been satisfactorily consulted and discussions at Deanery Synod and Chapter has been characterised by an attitude that “this is how it is going to be”.
I rather hope that my comments, and the comments of others to whom this particular consultation has been sent will enable a thorough rethinking of a process which in Ham, Whitleigh and Ernesettle are properly served and rebuilt as nurturing communities confident to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ.