Wednesday, 31 January 2007

The boy in the Temple

In this poster we see Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem at the age of twelve - he is discussing Old Testament Scriptures with the Jewish priests and teachers. We can see Mary and Joseph in the background - Jesus realises that although Mary is his Mother, Joseph is not his Father! Joseph is his foster-father and the husband of Mary, but God is his Father. How wonderful that later on Jesus is going to invite us to call God 'Our Father' too.

I know many twelve year olds who know every book in the Harry Potter series inside out and backwards. No harm in that! But, how well do we know our Scriptures? It is only the Bible that contains the word of life!

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

We have a gospel to proclaim

As Christmastide draws to a close, and we put away the crib this weekend for another year, we should remind ourselves that we are to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ through all the seasons of the year:

Tell of his birth at Bethlehem,
not in a royal house or hall
but in a stable dark and dim,
the Word made flesh,
a light for all.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Flight into Egypt

Here is a picture of a lovely poster in the Chapel depicting the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph travelling from Bethlehem to Egypt. King Herod was wanting to kill Jesus, so they had to make a quick escape.
What a tough life the Holy Family were having! They had to travel from their home town of Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to be enrolled for tax purposes, and now they are becoming refugees in a foreign country.
Many people in the world today have similar stories to tell.
In the poster I like Jesus - the Light of the World - shining out from within Our Lady's coat! Jesus still shines in the darkest places of the world today - it is only our sins which try to cover up his light.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Another view of the Christmas Tree and Crib

Many people who come to the Chapel between our Christmas Celebration and Candlemas Day comment on the lovely atmosphere - and it is not just the basilica incense that we burn during festive seasons!

The crib is really beautiful - it comes from Italy. The figures are very expressive, and are housed in a lovely stable. During service time, red votive lights burn in front, giving a warm and welcoming glow. You can see our splendid Christmas tree standing on the left.

During the joyful days of Christmastide, we conclude all our services with a carol sung as everyone gathers round the crib.

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him, born the king of angels:
O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Friday, 26 January 2007

The Christmas Tree!

Well here it is - our Christmas Tree complete with 300 coloured lights. Perhaps not up to the standards of Trafalgar Square - but impressive just the same! The first year after the Chapel was reordered (2000) we had just 100 lights on the tree. It looked a little pathetic, so in 2001 we went up to 200 lights. We still weren't satisfied, so another 100 lights were purchased for 2002. We decided that was enough - after all we didn't want to blow all the fuses in the School!

The tree is lit each year at our Christmas Celebration just as Baby Jesus is laid in the manger. It brightens up the darkened Chapel and reminds us that:
All out of darkness we have light,
which made the angels sing this night:
'Glory to God and peace to men,
now and for evermore. Amen.'

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Prayer for Christian Unity - Thursday 25 January

Today - the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, marks the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity for this year. I have enjoyed the week, not least the exchanges between St Paul's Cathedral (Happy Patronal Festival!) and Westminster Cathedral. It strikes me that we are very blessed in the Chapel of the Resurrection, because ALL of our services are attended by Christians of different traditions.

Our lack of unity must be a stumbling block to some people thinking about converting to the Christian Faith, so as we give thanks today for the amazing conversion of Paul, let us pray for a miracle on the unity front!

Eternal God and Father, whose Son at supper prayed that his disciples might be one, as he is one with you: Draw us closer to him, that in common love and obedience to you, we may be united to one another in the fellowship of the one Spirit, that the world may believe that he is Lord, to your eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thank you for joining me in prayer during this week. I'll post some more 'informal' blogs over the next few days. I haven't forgotten the photo of the Christmas tree - which is still looking spendid!

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Prayer for Christian Unity - Wednesday 24 January

Eternal Father, whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord and King: Keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Prayer for Christian Unity - Tuesday 23 January

Concluding our prayer from Sunday and Monday:

So, Lord, at length when sacraments shall cease,
May we be one with all thy Church above,
One with thy saints in one unbroken peace,
One with thy saints in one unbounded love:
More blessed still, in peace and love to be
One with the Trinity in Unity. Amen.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Prayer for Christian Unity - Monday 22 January

Continuing on from Sunday's Prayer:

For all thy Church, O Lord, we intercede;
Make thou our sad divisions soon to cease;
Draw us the nearer each to each, we plead,
By drawing all to thee, O Prince of Peace:
Thus may we all one Bread, one Body be,
One through this Sacrament of unity. Amen.

We will conclude this particular prayer tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Prayer for Christian Unity - Sunday 21 January

Today we will have been celebrating our Eucharists in many different traditions. Although we share a common Baptism, we do not share a common Eucharist, and so we pray:

O thou, who at thy Eucharist didst pray
that all thy Church might be for ever one,
grant us at every Eucharist to say,
with longing heart and soul, 'Thy will be done.'
O may we all one bread, one body be,
through this blest sacrament on unity. Amen.

We will continue this prayer tomorrow.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Prayer for Christian Unity - Saturday 20 January

Heavenly Father, you have called us in the body of your Son Jesus Christ to continue his work of reconciliation and to reveal you to mankind: Forgive us the sins which tear us apart; give us the courage to overcome our fears and to seek that unity in truth, holiness and love which is your gift and your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, 19 January 2007

Prayer for Christian Unity - Friday 19 January

Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed for his disciples that they might be one, as you and he are one: Grant that your Church, being bound together in love and obedience to you, may be united in one body by the one Spirit, that the world may believe in him whom you have sent, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Message from the throne

Today's photo is a real treat. We've had a lot about wise men recently, so I thought it was about time I posted a photo of myself. Isn't it great!

As you can see, I am making an ex-cathedra statement from my throne. What a pity I had to use the self-timer on my camera to record this wonderful moment!

Joking apart - today, Thursday 18 January is the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and I invite you all to join me in the following prayer:

Heavenly Father, your Son our Lord Jesus Christ said to his apostles, Peace I leave you, my peace I give you; Regard not our sins but the faith of your Church, and grant it that peace and unity which is agreeable to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let's keep the prayers for unity going each day until Thursday 25 January.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

O little town of Bethlehem

We keep the crib up in the Chapel until the Feast of Candlemas - 2 February. This always raises a few eye brows from those members of the School Community who are unaccustomed with our ways!

It is quite common to adopt this custom on the continent, but not so common in Britain. However it makes good sense in the Chapel of the Resurrection as it is closed during the 12 days of Christmas, and we don't want to put the crib up at the beginning of Advent!

I enjoy meditating at the Crib during these dark January days. All the commercial side of Christmas has gone, and it seems easier to focus on the great mystery of the Word made flesh.

I'll post our Christmas tree before we take it down on 2 February - it has 300 lights!

Monday, 15 January 2007

They've arrived - at last!

As you can see, the three wise men have now arrived at the crib in the Chapel and have presented their gifts to the Christ Child.

Then entered in those wise men three;
full reverently, upon their knee,
and offered there is his presence,
their gold and myrrh and frankincense:
Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell,
born is the King of Israel.

We had a lovely service and then a fabulous feast afterwards in Latymer House. There was oodles to eat and drink!

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Delays on the District Line

I'm sorry to report, but there have been severe delays on the District Line for trains travelling from Upminster in the East. The wise men were due to arrive at our crib near Ravenscourt Park Station on Saturday 6 January, but expected time of arrival is now 4.00 pm on Monday 15 January. They are shown here on their way. So much for not putting you feet on the seats!

Thursday, 11 January 2007

The three wise men

Here is a lovely poster showing the three wise men about to enter the house where the Holy Family are living in Bethlehem. They have followed the bright star, and they are full of joy as they are about to go and present their gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Something has led us to go to the Chapel of the Resurrection. Are we full of joy as we are about to enter God's House? What gifts do we bring with us? We can all learn from the wise men!

Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion,
Odours of Edom and offerings divine?
Gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest or gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would his favour secure;
Richer by far is the heart's adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

See how the shepherds

Here is a poster which is currently displayed in the Chapel. It shows the shepherds (two adults and a shepherd boy - perhaps three generations?) visiting Baby Jesus lying in the manger at Bethlehem. In addition to Mary and Joseph we see the ox and the ass.

Cradled in a stall was he
With sleepy cows and asses;

but the very beasts could see
that he all men surpasses.

Let us pray that we will have the wisdom of the cow and the ass - and follow Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life!

Even the sheep has it's eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, who is the light of the world!

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Epiphany Feast

We shall be celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany in the Chapel at Evening Praise on Monday 15 January at 4.00 pm. The celebrations will continue in Latymer House with a Twelfth Night Feast - ending at 6.00 pm.