Sunday, 7 July 2013
In today's gospel, Jesus sends out some disciples in pairs. They have important work to do - exactly the same work that Jesus does, the prophetic work of healing the sick and preaching the Kingdom of God. We see here the beginnings of the Church's ministry as a share in Jesus' ministry.
If the contemporary Church were sending out a large number of people to do vitally important work, we would no doubt put a lot of planning into it, establish plenty of committees, do a lot of fundraising, and in general make sure the seventy two raw recruits were - to use a piece of ugly management-speak - well resourced.
So what does the Jesus of Luke's gospel do?
He sends them out without purse, bag, or sandals: without the means to keep money or food, making them utterly dependent, They depend for the first part, of course, on God. Later in Luke's gospel, Jesus will teach his disciples to pray for their daily bread. They will also depend on other human beings - on each other, as well as on those who feed them in their houses. Here Luke's gospel anticipates the book of Acts, where we read about the disciples holding their possessions in common, sharing for the good of all.
This passage serves as a reminder to us, at a time of change in the Church, where a lot of thought is going into mission, and where we are experiencing quite a bit of change. Unless our life as a missionary church begins with reliance on God, which finds expression in liturgy and prayer, and is lived out in generous, sharing, communities, it will have little in common with the mission of Jesus.
Monday, 24 June 2013
Today is the feast of the birth of St John the Baptist. You can read about it in the first chapter of Luke's gospel.
Almighty God and Father,
you sent Saint John the Baptist to the people of Israel
to make them ready for Christ the Lord.
Give us the grace of joy in the Spirit,
and guide the hearts of all the faithful
in the way of salvation and peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Sunday, 23 June 2013
Icon of Elijah
The story we heard from the book of Kings at Mass this morning is a beautiful one. Elijah, the great prophet, is told that the Lord will pass him by - an Old Testament way of saying that he will encounter God. And then lots of noisy spectacular things happen, a fierce wind, an earthquake, a fire... Yet God is not in any of them. Finally the Lord comes to Elijah, as the reading puts it "in the sound of sheer silence".
Elijah meets God in silence. We too can meet God in silence.
Time for silence is an important need in every Christian life. Silence gives us time to listen to God, to allow him to transform us and our desires. Silence is also a way of acknowledging that God escapes all our words and our concepts.
It can be difficult to find quiet time in this very busy world, with all the pressures of work and family life. However, we need to do so, however small the amount of time is that we find each week.
Sometimes it can be helpful to talk over our prayer life with another Christian, a 'soul friend', to share experiences, and get help about planning prayer time. The clergy at our churches are always happy to do this.
Friday, 14 June 2013
Have you ever wondered about the Creed that we say at Mass on Sundays? 'We believe', it begins - and it expresses the Church's central beliefs about God and what God has done for us. But what do the various things the Creed says mean? What is their history? And what do they say to us in the modern world?
We'll be discussing these things informally over coffee in Starbucks, West Hendon Sainsburys, during July. So if you'd like to learn more about our faith come along:
Friday 12th July - We believe in God the Father
Friday 19th July - We believe in God the Son
Friday 26th July - We believe in God the Holy Spirit
We will meet at 11am for about an hour. All welcome!
Sunday, 9 June 2013
We're back today into reading through Luke's gospel on Sundays. Today we heard the story of the widow of Naim.
A woman in a desperate situation, not only confronted with human grief but also with the reality of loosing her only son, on whom she would have depended economically, encounters the power of Jesus. This power conquers even death itself, giving the widow's son back to her. It is a power exercised, as the gospel puts it, with compassion. It is a power exercised on behalf of someone at the 'bottom of the heap' socially.
This is the Lord we follow, a Lord who exercises power in a compassionate way. As Christians we need to proclaim both halves of the message. We cannot shy away from the reality of Jesus, the Son of God, who reigns in power and conquers death. But equally we cannot ignore his divinely human compassion - the message, of course, of last Friday's feast day - which puts down the mighty from their seats, raises up the lowly, and comes as good news for the poor.
Also in the news today!...
Congratulations to our Churchwardens who attended St Pauls Cathedral to make take their oaths of office and be part of the launch of Capital Vision 2010 Creative Compassion leading to a Confident proclamation of the Gospel
Well done to our two newest servers at St Matthias..
Friday, 7 June 2013
Today we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Jesus' heart is a sign of divine love made human. God comes to us in fragile human flesh, like our own. He comes to share in our sadness and our joys. He comes to offer us love, no matter who we are or what we have done in life. There is nothing that we can do that stops God loving us. No matter what, he loves us, and calls us home to him.
Monday, 3 June 2013
To day we celebrate Corpus Christi, in the time honored language of the church – Thanks giving for the institution of holy Communion in the language of the modern Church of England.
The celebration of the Eucharist, translated from the Greek word meaning “thanksgiving” the Mass; the Lord Supper is not universal to the body of Christ but it is central to many of us within the body of Christ.
The Eucharist, with its roots in the last supper Jesus celebrated with his disciples on the night before he was betrayed is a meal that is not supposed to leave us unchanged. Meeting God is not supposed to leave us just as we were. Encountering the Lord in the sacrament or in any other way means that we change, and change for good, forever. What we do today changes us. And this one thing I have learned in all of these experiences of being part of a celebration of the Eucharist is – that we are loved and loved and loved by God.
For it is in this meal that we can find the most telling signs, the most powerful symbols, the most pressing reminders and the most startling revelations of that simple love of God who came and mingled with us and walked among us. The Eucharist is a reminder that God offers us the sustenance of faith and the intoxication of love, not just today but every day.
Corpus Christi affirms us in the human instinct that is in the blood of every Christian, that the most profound words we can ever utter are the words ‘thank you’. Once we grasp this, we see life in a new way, a Eucharistic way. The transformation of broken bread and poured out wine into heavenly food and drink becomes a symbol of renewed attitudes within us. G.K. Chesterton put it like this.
You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the play and the opera, and grace before the concert and the pantomime, and grace before I open the book, and grace before sketching and painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip pen in the ink.
And, we should add, before we face the suffering, the deprived, the neglected, our brothers or sisters in whom the image of Christ is most to be honoured.