Saturday, 31 March 2007

9th Station - Jesus falls the third time

Compared to the first two falls, the crosses in this station are larger and heavier - Jesus is crushed to the ground. It is our sins, our fall, which causes him to fall. But we must not loose hope - on Holy Saturday night we shall be singing:

What good would life have been to us, had Christ not come as our Redeemer? Father, how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love! To ransom a slave you gave away your Son. O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

8th Station - The women of Jerusalem

This is one of my favourite stations! The cross is full of life - it is bearing fruit, and plenty of it! Through his death, Jesus gives life to us all. Just as the women with their young children are life-bearers, so is Jesus. Let us pray for all those to be Baptised at the Easter Vigil and re-born into the life of the Risen Lord. May we rise to a new life with them.

May we bear much fruit through our Easter celebrations, for Jesus said: 'I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty.'

7th Station - Jesus fall the second time

Most of us can probably cope with our first fall - but the second is much harder. Our pride is really bruised. This photo shows all the other crosses of the world battering down Our Lord to the ground. Some of these crosses are our sins, and so as we approach Holy Week we must ask Jesus to forgive us our sins. He waits to forgive us and raise us up again.

At times life seems tough, but as we meditate on this station may we hear Jesus say to us 'come to me, all you who labour and overburdened, and I will give you rest.'

Friday, 30 March 2007

6th Station - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

It is not obvious that Veronica will have been of much practical use to Jesus, indeed it may well have been very painful when she removed the cloth from his face. Nevertheless she did it out of love, and Jesus rewarded her kindness with an image of his face. She probably didn't appreaciate that she was wiping the face of the Son of God!

We must look for opportunities to show love and kindness to others, for Jesus said 'I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.'

We must also learn to accept well-meaning acts of kindness from others - even when in practice they are not much help.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

5th Station - Simon of Cyrene

Simon could hardly have been pleased at being ordered to help Jesus carry his cross. However, this scene suggests that not only did Jesus benefit from Simon's help, Simon benefited from the presence of Jesus.

It would appear that Jesus is saying something to Simon, and that Simon is listening carefully to Jesus. I wonder what Jesus is saying? I'm sure it must have been something wise and loving.

Jesus can speak to us today when we help someone who is suffering to carry their cross.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

4th Station - Jesus meets his Mother

This station is not only the most tender of the 15, it is also in many ways the saddest. We see Jesus and Mary in warm embrace, but Jesus is on his way to be crucified. How true the prophecy of Simeon those 33 years earlier when he said to Mary, 'and a sword will pierce your own soul too.'

We should pray for our own families, that parents will be loving to their children, and that children will be loving to their parents. We not only learn from Jesus - we can also learn much from Mary, the Mother who always points us toward her Son.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

3rd Station - Jesus falls the first time

Here we see Jesus falling under the weight of the cross - but it is not only the weight of his own cross which is making him fall, it is also all the other crosses in the world.

Whatever we suffer, Jesus is carrying the weight of it. He suffers with us. There is no human suffering in which he is not present to redeem it and turn it into the seed of resurrection.

Monday, 26 March 2007

2nd Station - Jesus takes up his cross

After Jesus has been condemned to death, he is made to carry his own cross to Calvary. In this picture we see Jesus welcoming the cross with open arms - he almost appears to be embracing it. He bears the cross so willingly, because he is going to die for love of you and me. By his death he will free us from our slavery to sin and death.

How much do we love Jesus?

Saturday, 24 March 2007

1st Station - Jesus is condemned to death

My Lord, you were unjustly tried by wicked men envious of the good you did. It must have been terrible to be hurt by slanderous words and have no chance to justify yourself.
Jesus, by the grace of this station, help me to continue as you did. You knew your own goodness, even when those who condemned you refused to acknowledge it. Let me know my goodness, too. Never let me be crushed by those who put me on trial because I haven't met with their approval. Amen.

Annunciation of the Lord

On Monday we shall be celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This photo depicts the Angel Gabriel visiting Mary in Nazareth. Our Lady says 'be it unto me according to your word.' We have so much to learn from Mary! And so we pray:

Heavenly Father, you chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of the promised Saviour, and proclaimed the good news by the message of an angel: Fill us with the abundance of your grace, that, through the saving work of Christ, we may be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever. Amen.

We shall be starting Stations of the Cross tomorrow, leading up to the 15th Station - The Resurrection of the Lord, on Easter Sunday (8 April).

Friday, 23 March 2007

Stained glass 3

This is my favourite of the three stained glass windows. It shows a very young King David and a young St John. Latymer was a boys school until the 1990's, when we started to admit girls into the Sixth Form. The Prep School is now fully co-educational, and the Main (Upper) School will be from September 2008.
What we have in this window is two devout young men - David from the Old Testament, and John the Evangelist from the New Testament. They were good examples for our boys to follow in earlier days, and are good examples to us all now.
At the top of the window we see the Holy Spirit, descending like a dove, surrounded by two angels.
This window is located at the West End of the Chapel.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Stained glass 2

Here is the second of the three stained glass windows - this time one of the two inside the Chapel. This small circular window is on the east wall, and was above the altar before the Chapel was reordered in 2000.

It shows Christ rising from the tomb - most appropriate for the Chapel of the Resurrection! It is interesting to note though, that this dedication was only adopted in the year 2000.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

1st Day of Spring

These cheerful daffodils remind us that today is the first day of Spring - Thanks be to God! I'm always glad to see the back end of winter - though I doubt if we have seen the end of wintry weather yet.

Lent is supposed to be a time of Spring - a time of new growth. We pray for all those who are about to be Baptised or Received into the Church at Easter. We pray for ourselves too! May the Good Lord cut away our dead wood (turn away from sin) and nourish us with spiritual food, as we try to walk in his ways (and be faithful to the Gospel).

Let's make sure that we all blossom on Easter Sunday - that we all rise to a new life with the Risen Lord!

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Stained glass 1

I would hardly claim that the stained glass in the Chapel of the Resurrection is all that remarkable, but I have decided to post photos of the 3 windows. This first window is found just outside the entrance to the Chapel. The Chapel is the highest place in the school, as those who climb the stairs will testify!

This particular window commemorates the founder of the school, Edward Latymer. He founded the school in 1624, and the school moved to its present site in 1895. The Chapel was first opened for worship in 1936.

Monday, 19 March 2007

St Joseph's Day

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Joseph - Foster Father of Jesus and Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Just as he was such a good guardian of the Child Jesus, we rejoice that today many regard him as the Guardian of the Universal Church.

Holy Saint Joseph - pray for us!

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Laetare Sunday

Having been complimented on my liturgical dress sense in my posting on 2 March, I have been given the confidence to post this photo!

The Fourth Sunday in Lent is Laetare (Rejoicing) Sunday, and for one day the usual solemn colour of purple (which we associate with this season) gives way to the more cheerful colour of rose.

Rose vestments are a bit of a luxury, as they are only worn on two days a year (Advent 3 and Lent 4), but we like to do things properly in the Chapel of the Resurrection! The rose vestments remind us that we should never take ourselves too seriously!

The first preface of Lent expresses so well our need to rejoice, even in this solemn season:

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Each year you give us this joyful season
when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery
with mind and heart renewed.
You give us a spirit of loving reverence for you, our Father,
and of willing service to our neighbour.

As we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ,
you bring the image of your Son to perfection within us.

Now, with angels and archangels,
and the whole company of heaven,
we sing the unending hymn of your praise:

St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day - and Happy Birthday to Wendy (my Sister) who is 60 today. I lived in Ireland for 11 years and so have a strong devotion to St Patrick.

Almighty God,
in your providence you chose your servant Patrick,
to be the apostle of the Irish people,
to baptise those who were wandering
in darkness and error
and bring them to the true light
and knowledge of your Word:
Keep us in that light
and bring us to everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Jesus is arrested

This is a very powerful picture. But how dreadful it is! How awful that the King of Love, the Prince of Peace is being treated like a common criminal.

How do we treat Jesus today? Do we use his name lightly in speech? Do we blaspheme? Let us hope that we show a little more respect for him than those soldiers did. And let us be sure that we never betray him like Judas did.

Stand up! - stand up for Jesus,
ye soldiers of the cross!

Thursday, 15 March 2007

The Garden of Gethsemane

After celebrating the first Eucharist with his disciples, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. The disciples were not much use! Even the inner circle of Peter, James, and John could not keep awake for one hour to pray with him. Jesus felt all alone.

At times we feel all alone when we pray - we feel down. But it is when we are down that God can raise us up - just as he raised Jesus to glory. The Garden of Gethsemane leads us through the cross to the Easter Garden.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

The Lord's Supper

Here we see Jesus who has just celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Two ingredients of the Passover meal are of course unleavened bread and wine. Jesus takes these gifts of creation, offers them to the Father (as he is about to offer his life on the cross) and then gives us them to eat and drink. He tells us, 'This is my body' and 'This is my blood.'

How wonderful to know that whenever we celebrate Mass today, we receive the body and blood of Jesus. What a priceless gift. Small wonder the last words at Mass are 'Thanks be to God!'

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Jesus washes the feet of his disciples

The Liturgy of Holy Week always has a deep impact on me, and it is difficult to single out moments which touch me most. One such moment is undoubtedly the organ and bells which herald the Gloria at the Easter Vigil (I rather wish we didn't have them on Maundy Thursday), and the other is the washing of feet at the Mass of the Lord's Supper. To think that our Lord would wash the feet of his disciples before instituting the Eucharist.

This picture shows Jesus wearing an apron and kneeling to perform this most humble of tasks. What an example of love Jesus gives to us! I feel that the triumph of his love is so powerfully celebrated in the Easter Gloria!

Monday, 12 March 2007

Sung Eucharist

This afternoon we welcomed Fr Peter Stubbs to the Chapel as the celebrant at our termly Sung Eucharist. All sections of the school community were represented at the celebration, and it was particularly good to have some members of the Sixth Form with us.

Fr Peter has strong Latymer connections. His wife Enid (who also came to the service) was our Assistant Librarian prior to her retirement, and Peter and Enid sent their two sons to the school.

Our usual celebrant is Prebendary Patrick Tuft, but he could not be with us this time because he went into hospital on Friday for an operation on his knee. We prayed for him at the service, and it is good to know that the operation seems to have gone smoothly. We wish him a speedy and full recovery and hope to see him in the Summer Term. It was very kind of Fr Peter to come to the rescue at such short notice.

This photo shows Fr Peter along with Mr Malcolm Smith. Malcolm has taught classics at Latymer for over 30 years now (but he is much younger than I am!) and he is very much my right hand man in the Chapel. It seems strange writing this, because as a deacon, normally I am the right hand man! However, it gives me great pleasure to take this opportunity to thank Malcolm for all the help and support he gives me in the running of the Chapel of the Resurrection.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Jesus enters the Temple

It seems no time since I posted blogs on Jesus being presented in the Temple in Jerusalem when he was just 40 days old, and the incident when the 12 year old boy was found by Mary and Joseph. How time flies!

Well here we have Jesus aged 33 years, just days before his Passion. The scene is well known. Jesus was livid that God's Temple had been turned into a market place - and a black market at that!

We must be careful how we treat our places of worship today. They should be warm and welcoming, but we should never forget that it is God's House that we are in. I am never too comfortable when I am charged an admission fee to a place of worship. I am grateful that there is no such charge at Westminster Cathedral - and you will be pleased to know, no charge to get into the Chapel of the Resurrection! Still, we must give generously towards the upkeep of our churches and chapels.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Jesus enters Jerusalem

With Easter Sunday less than a month away, I have calculated that I must start my planned series of blogs which will lead us up to the great festival.

Jesus entered Jerusalem on the Sunday prior to his death on a donkey. The crowds laid palm branches in his path and shouted:

'Hosanna to the Son of David!' 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' 'Hosanna in the highest!'

It is good when we sing our praises to God - something which we love to do in the Chapel of the Resurrection.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

One month to go!

This is a photo of sunrise at Easter Island in Chile. I am posting it as a reminder that Easter Sunday is now only one month away. Lent can seem rather a long period of time when we start the season on Ash Wednesday, but it is now one-third over. How are we getting along? Are we growing spiritually? Perhaps if you feel (as I do) that progress has been a little slow, now is the time to undertake our Lenten exercises with a little more enthusiasm!

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Altar Servers from Ham

It was bound to happen - grumbles from my parishioners at Ham that I am ignoring them in my blog! Well not any longer. Here is a photo of some of our altar servers taken recently during a visit to Westminster Cathedral for a Mass for Altar Servers arranged by the Guild of St Stephen. Over 1,000 servers were present - and the procession took ages!

The Mass was a votive Mass of St Stephen - Deacon and Martyr. I was one of the four deacons at the Mass, though fortunately none of us was stoned to death! It was great seeing our servers so smartly turned out in their red cassocks and white cottas - just like the servers wear in the Chapel of the Resurrection.

Monday, 5 March 2007

The Chapel in Lent

The Chapel looks quite plain during the Season of Lent. This simplicity helps us to focus on what is essential in life, and provides a good environment for spiritual growth. Our aim during this season is to 'turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.'

Some people find the quieter music etc. in our services rather relaxing!The season certainly provides an excellent preparation for the Easter Festival, when the Chapel is richly decorated in bright colours, and the music in our services is joyful and triumphant.

Friday, 2 March 2007

I am the birthday boy!

Well, yes! It is my birthday today. I rather wish my birthday didn't usually fall in Lent, but I had no choice in the matter.

Here I am, pictured by the hymn board in the Chapel of the Resurrection. And here is a puzzle! My age is not one of the five numbers shown. It is (obviously?) a two digit number - both digits are different, and neither digit is on the board. So how old am I today?

Clue. The purple vestments clearly suggest that I am approaching the eventide of life! The Prep School (or former Prep) pupils might like to suggest why the frequent use of the 'I am' expression in this blog suggests that I am getting rather too grand ideas of myself in my old age!

There will be a small prize (Mars Bar) for the most amusing comment published!

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus!

Happy St David's Day! Today we pray for all Welsh people as they celebrate the Feast Day of their National Patron Saint.

My Grandparents (on my Mother's side) retired to Wales and so they would want me to ask for the prayers of St David on this special day.