Sermon for Trinity 1
Posted on the 6th June 2021 in the category Sermons


Sermon for the First Sunday of Trinity Year B

 

Today on this First Sunday of Trinity we begin to return after the great feasts of Trinity and Pentecost and to ‘the wearing of the green’. This colour will symbolise for us ordinary humanity, our humanity, as we stand  before God in need of the divine understanding and mercy. I think of the refrain from ‘It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standin’ in the need of prayer’. As a vital part of this ordinary humanity we rightly speak of the existence of the soul and the soul’s health. For Chrstians that has meant a humanity which is both ‘outward and visible’ and ‘inward and invisible’. We address God in words that cannot always be spoken. There are all the exterior things to do with the running of our lives and then there are those things which are inexpressible : our loves and our longings and our hopes. It is in this way that Paul can speak of our outward and inner natures and declare that 

“…even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day”

2 Corinthians 4.19.

 

To be ‘In Christ’ for Paul is to be most fully alive in the acknowledgement that we are body, and soul. The outer and the inner person is fully acknowledged.

 

One of the Prayer Book Collects (for Lent 3) reads:

Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Jesus’ meeting with so many of those he comes to heal begins with a simple throwaway line or a basic question ‘Zacchaus come down, today I must dine with you”’ he says to Zacchaeus in the tree, and to the demoniac ‘What is your name? To the widow of Nain he says “Do not cry”. As a healer, Jesus is the one who ‘sees into’ the humanity of the person and stays with it before ever the healing is carried out. The healing acts are inseparable from the human encounter and the arrival at a place of mutual and indeed spiritual, understanding.  We are made to love and to be loved. That loving may show itself in ‘being with’ a person rather than anything good we feel we might be doing on their behalf or in the words we speak.

 

At theological college one of our tutors was rather eccentric. He was a big man and always seemed to be in a hurry. He once visited one of our students who was full of a terribly fluey cold. She was a strong northern woman and also a chain smoker. The tutor came to visit her, and feeling a bit awkward asked her whether she’d like a cup of tea? She said ‘Yes’ and he went and got the tea, and then sat next to her bed and fidgeted and asked her whether she had any biscuits? She said yes, there, over by the bread bin. She remembers this visit not so much by anything that was said, and even least by her tutor’s social skill, but that as he listened to her intently, he proceeded to devour the whole packet of biscuits right in front of her! Ever since, she has found the memory of this visit delightful because it was so characteristic of him. He knew how to be himself even when he found it difficult to be himself. 

 

Disposer supreme, and judge of the earth,

Who choosest for thine the weak and the poor,

To frail earthen vessels and things of no worth,

Entrusting thy riches which ay shall endure.

 

There is an icon of the sixth century which features a famous saint, martyr and abbot, Menas, given the charge of his community as Abbot by Christ himself.  In this depiction Jesus, unusually, puts his arm around Menas in an encouraging gesture. This icon is shown by the Taizé community of young people as an icon of reconciliation and of friendship with Christ and it is charming in the details of the outstretched and embracing arm. The figures in these icons have large heads, eyes and ears but small mouths and noses. That is because the head, the eyes and the ears were considered more spiritual than mouths (gossip) and noses (too sensuous). But this is an encouraging icon because of its humanity and for us the prevailing truth of the Christ who is with us even and especially when we may not realise this. He is the one who underwrites our frail humanity and actively seeks our reconciliation with the Father through ‘his presence and his very self’. The divine ‘arm’ really is placed around us.

 

We may feel God’s presence as a guiding and encouraging one, one we can come to trust and to know despite and because of ourselves. Let us, then be the most ordinary people we can, and to love the ordinary and ordinary humanity, particularly in the God-given capacity to show love not just as a feeling but as an active response which emanates from the source of all love, God himself…



Sermon for the First Sunday fo Trinity
Posted on the 6th June 2021 in the category Sermons


Sermon for the First Sunday of Trinity Year B

 

Today on this First Sunday of Trinity we begin to return after the great feasts of Trinity and Pentecost and to ‘the wearing of the green’. This colour will symbolise for us ordinary humanity, our humanity, as we stand  before God in need of the divine understanding and mercy. I think of the refrain from ‘It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standin’ in the need of prayer’. As a vital part of this ordinary humanity we rightly speak of the existence of the soul and the soul’s health. For Chrstians that has meant a humanity which is both ‘outward and visible’ and ‘inward and invisible’. We address God in words that cannot always be spoken. There are all the exterior things to do with the running of our lives and then there are those things which are inexpressible : our loves and our longings and our hopes. It is in this way that Paul can speak of our outward and inner natures and declare that 

“…even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day”

2 Corinthians 4.19.

 

To be ‘In Christ’ for Paul is to be most fully alive in the acknowledgement that we are body, and soul. The outer and the inner person is fully acknowledged.

 

One of the Prayer Book Collects (for Lent 3) reads:

Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Jesus’ meeting with so many of those he comes to heal begins with a simple throwaway line or a basic question ‘Zacchaus come down, today I must dine with you”’ he says to Zacchaeus in the tree, and to the demoniac ‘What is your name? To the widow of Nain he says “Do not cry”. As a healer, Jesus is the one who ‘sees into’ the humanity of the person and stays with it before ever the healing is carried out. The healing acts are inseparable from the human encounter and the arrival at a place of mutual and indeed spiritual, understanding.  We are made to love and to be loved. That loving may show itself in ‘being with’ a person rather than anything good we feel we might be doing on their behalf or in the words we speak.

 

At theological college one of our tutors was rather eccentric. He was a big man and always seemed to be in a hurry. He once visited one of our students who was full of a terribly fluey cold. She was a strong northern woman and also a chain smoker. The tutor came to visit her, and feeling a bit awkward asked her whether she’d like a cup of tea? She said ‘Yes’ and he went and got the tea, and then sat next to her bed and fidgeted and asked her whether she had any biscuits? She said yes, there, over by the bread bin. She remembers this visit not so much by anything that was said, and even least by her tutor’s social skill, but that as he listened to her intently, he proceeded to devour the whole packet of biscuits right in front of her! Ever since, she has found the memory of this visit delightful because it was so characteristic of him. He knew how to be himself even when he found it difficult to be himself. 

 

Disposer supreme, and judge of the earth,

Who choosest for thine the weak and the poor,

To frail earthen vessels and things of no worth,

Entrusting thy riches which ay shall endure.

 

There is an icon of the sixth century which features a famous saint, martyr and abbot, Menas, given the charge of his community as Abbot by Christ himself.  In this depiction Jesus, unusually, puts his arm around Menas in an encouraging gesture. This icon is shown by the Taizé community of young people as an icon of reconciliation and of friendship with Christ and it is charming in the details of the outstretched and embracing arm. The figures in these icons have large heads, eyes and ears but small mouths and noses. That is because the head, the eyes and the ears were considered more spiritual than mouths (gossip) and noses (too sensuous). But this is an encouraging icon because of its humanity and for us the prevailing truth of the Christ who is with us even and especially when we may not realise this. He is the one who underwrites our frail humanity and actively seeks our reconciliation with the Father through ‘his presence and his very self’. The divine ‘arm’ really is placed around us.

 

We may feel God’s presence as a guiding and encouraging one, one we can come to trust and to know despite and because of ourselves. Let us, then be the most ordinary people we can, and to love the ordinary and ordinary humanity, particularly in the God-given capacity to show love not just as a feeling but as an active response which emanates from the source of all love, God himself…



Sermon for the Feast of theAscension of Our Lord Jesus Christ into the Heavens
Posted on the 23rd May 2021 in the category Sermons


Holy Cross Church Cromer Street A Sermon for the Feast of the Ascension One of the greatest discoveries in the painting of pictures was not of a paint was oil paint; a paint that glistened and could reveal the effects of light. Before the 1400s paintings were made with egg tempera, a mixture of coloured paint powder bound with egg yolk and mixed with a palette to make a paste. The good thing about the egg yolk was that it dried the paint quickly. The bad thing was that it always dried as matt, and it produced a non-reflective flat painted surface. This made it very difficult to paint light and for the surface of the painting to attract light. And so paintings up to this period are painted on thick cuts of wood and appear very flat. The painter has to work very hard to paint light (done with white streaks) and water (usually with wavy lines). This was sometimes compensated for (if you could afford it!) by the adding of gold leaf so that the painting gave off a bright shine, and this was good for icons but could not produce an image which was what we might call ‘life-like’. It was the discovery of oil paint which changed everything. Oil glistened and made colour shine, and so an eye could twinkle or a drop of water be seen as a reflective globule. You could even paint a mirror and reproduce its effects as in Jan Van Eyck’s 1434 painting, The Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery As we come to the Feast of the Ascension of Christ a similar problem faces both the artist and the Church. Traditionally the Ascension of Jesus Christ has, as you will see on the illustration to this morning’s new sheet, has been depicted as the group of disciples gaze up to see through the clouds a pair of feet! It always seems rather comic. There were no more means at the disposal of the artist to convey the Ascension. Its truer and deeper meaning is not about what is seen but about the very nature of God and of what lies deep. The real meaning of the Ascension allows us to see that as Christ returns to the Father, so humanity and divinity also find their true meaning in and with one another and not apart from one another. As Jesus returns to the Father Heaven is joined to earth. Humankind is transformed in its slow but increasingly sure understanding of who God is in Jesus Christ. This mixing and merging is symbolised in a small ceremony embedded in this Eucharist as the priest, preparing the Eucharistic offering, pours a small amount of water into the chalice he has filled with wine. And as he does this he says these words “By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity”. The water does not dilute. The coming of Christ brings about the meeting point between the divine and human realms, and also the heavenly and the earthly; which have in him mixed and merged; and produced the bright glimmer which we have called GLORY and the influence which is what we have called HOLY. The great prayer of worship sums it all up. It is called the Sanctus: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and Earth are full of your glory. Hosanaah in the Highest! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord, Hosannah in the Highest! This is the glory, that emerges out of Christ’s own humility and obedience to suffering. We are reminded in Ephesians 4.6 that Christ “ascended on high and led captivity captive”. And so in this way we may see the Ascension as the celebration of the glory not only of God but also of humanity and the unlikely possibilities that may emerge out of muddling and struggling lives like ours. God has become like us in Jesus Christ so that we may now share in the divine likeness, which for the first time becomes accessible to us in Him. Archbishop Michael Ramsay was one who constantly proclaimed the Gospel of Christ in terms of its irradiation of God’s glory, which is the life of man in its fullest potential. He wished that these words, from St Irenaus, a second century theologian and saint, be placed on his gravestone: The Glory of God is the living Man; The life of Man is the Vision of God. “Where there is no vision; the people perish” says the writer of Proverbs in 29.18. The Ascension grants us that vision, maybe crudely expressed as a pair of feet, but in actual fact opening up for us a new vision of what John the Divine called “New Heavens and a New Earth”. And the coming of this vision is very important in our own times. If we are living in an age where we are defined merely as consumers, sharers of basic information rather than conversationalists; where increasingly we see ourselves as subject to forces and influences beyond our control, and where language is abbreviated and human experience subject to so many mechanical transactions, then we need a new vision which embraces us in all our humanity and which is possessed of radical compassion.. The opening up of the idea of the Christ who ‘leads captivity captive’, the creation of ‘new heavens and a new earth’ brings us to the place where life is no longer seen as pertaining to the old dull flat, two dimensional existence, the egg-bound one, but bright with light and multi- dimensional. It is a life which reaches beyond itself and finds God as Glory: The glory of God is the living Man; The life of Man is the Vision of God”. This is the same God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” and who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4.6.) A new dimension is opened up for us; one which has united our earthly existence with our Maker and Redeemer, and which lies before us as our ultimate; our truest potential. The Light of Christ will be able to be seen and known for what it truly is.



Following Easter Day....back to church
Posted on the 1st May 2021 in the category Latest News


BACK TO CHURCH AFTER EASTERT SUNDAY...

 

 

WEEKDAY MASSES ON 

 

 

WEDNESDAYS AT 6 PM

 

FRIDAYS AT 12 45 PM

 

 

SAYING OF THE ROSARY ON FRIDAYS AT 12 45 PM

 

 

COME AND JOIN US YOU WHO SEEK GOD IN THE HERE AND NOW...



 

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