Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Inverness Castle

Here is a dramatic photo of Inverness Castle on the banks of the River Ness, as it flows from Loch Ness into the Moray Firth. This photo was taken on the afternoon of Shrove Tuesday. I travelled on the overnight sleeper from Inverness to Euston, and with the gloomy weather that greeted me in London, I knew that Lent had begun!

Well with all these Scottish blogs, I shall have to do something Welsh for tomorrow!

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Caledonian Canal

The Caledonian Canal runs for 60 miles along the Great Glen, from Fort William in the South East to Inverness in the North West.

Here is a photo of the canal as it leaves Loch Ness and approaches Inverness.

Today is a rather miserable Tuesday in London - it is nice having this memory of a lovely sunny Shrove Tuesday in the highlands of Scotland!

Monday, 26 February 2007

Can you spot the monster?

This is a photo of Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness - any sign of the monster?

This photo taken during my Half Term trip to Scotland seems ages ago. Being back at work seems more in keeping with the discipline of Lent!

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Rail Crash in Cumbria

Let us pray for all those involved in dealing with the aftermath of the derailment of the train travelling yesterday from London Euston to Glasgow. We remember the 84 year old lady who died in hospital, and all those seriously injured. We pray for the police, the ambulance and hospital services, and those who work on the railways.

I was travelling along this section of track myself in the early hours of Ash Wednesday morning. I arrived in London Euston safely in time to act as deacon at the 8.00 am Mass in Westminster Cathedral. I suppose last night's tragedy in Cumbria reminds us all of the need to be ready to meet our loving heavenly Father at any time.

Friday, 23 February 2007

In search of the Loch Ness Monster

During Half Term I went up to Scotland in search of the Loch Ness Monster. I was blessed with wonderful weather as this photo taken on the banks of Loch Ness shows.

You may be assuming that as I am writing this blog on my return to London, I did not have a close encounter with the monster. But that would be jumping to conclusions! How do you know that Nessie is not abstaining from eating meat during Lent?

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Chair of St Peter

Yesterday we were fasting - today we are feasting - not a bad start to Lent! Today we rejoice and give thanks for the Chair of St Peter. No, not a piece of furniture, but rather the belief that Jesus said to Peter - 'you are the rock on which I will build my Church.'

Roman Catholics see this teaching and leadership authority passed down the centuries, till it has reached the present Pope - Benedict XVI.

Peter was far from perfect during his early life - but Jesus chose him. We are far from perfect in our lives, but Jesus still calls us to follow him, and to some he says 'feed my sheep.' This Feast of the Chair of St Peter powerfully reminds us that Jesus knows best!

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Ash Wednesday

Today sees the start of the solemn Season of Lent. This holy season begins with the blessing and distribution of ashes - hardly one's favourite ceremony of the Church's Year! When distributing ash I always use the first formula 'Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.' Few us look forward to the start of Lent - but from Ash Wednesday our eyes are firmly fixed on Easter - and that is something to look forward to.

As the days begin to lengthen, we should grow in faith. We can do that, of course, precisely by turning away from sin and being faithful to the gospel. A good prayer to use today is the prayer used at the blessing of the ashes.
Lord, bless the sinner who asks for your forgiveness, and bless all those who receive these ashes. May they keep this lenten season in preparation for the joy of Easter. Amen.

Have a Holy Lent! I shall be posting plenty of examples of gospel teaching during this season.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Farewell to Alleluia!

This lovely ceramic sits on the wall outside the entrance to the Chapel - but it wont do for much longer! Alleluia is the song of joy which resounds through our servies in the Chapel - but it is forbidden to use the word at liturgical services during the season of Lent. So we shall shortly be bidding farewell to this song of joy, and the ceramic will have to be removed.

Fear not - it will return on Easter Sunday, and the abundance of alleluias during the fifty days of Easter feasting will more than make up for its absence during the forty days of Lenten fasting!

Friday, 16 February 2007

Fishers of Men

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea - for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Jesus still calls men and women, boys and girls today. Are our ears attuned to his voice?

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Winter Foliage

I am sure that most of us are looking forward to spring and seeing the daffodils in bloom. However, winter, like all seasons, has its good points. Here is a beautiful display of winter foliage in the Chapel - tastefully arranged by Helen Cheese-Probert. It will remain in place until the beginning of Lent. Our next display will be a magnificent floral one for Easter.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

St Valentine's Day

Even if you didn't receive any Valentine Cards today, you should rejoice in the knowledge that God loves you!

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

The Baptism of Our Lord

Here is a lovely poster showing John the Baptist baptising Jesus in the River Jordan. John is clothed in his traditional camel's hair. As Jesus comes out of the water we see the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. God the Father proclaims 'You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.'

So in a sense we have a lovely scene of the Holy Trinity - and it reminds us that when we were baptised, we were baptised in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, 12 February 2007

The Altar Candlesticks

As promised, here is a photograph of the two altar candlesticks which have been adapted by our Design and Technology Department to fit 2" candles. Don't they look good?

Many thanks to David and Jay for all their hard work.

Friday, 9 February 2007

Design and Technology

When I was a schoolboy (many decades ago!) one of my favourite subjects was woodwork. I was quite good at it (unlike my ability at some other subjects) and to prove it, my parents still use a tray that I made over 40 years ago - a real piece of craftsmanship!

I was not pleased when metalwork was introduced into our lessons at Leeds Grammar School, as I found wood a far more pleasing material to work in. I still love good woodwork, and am the proud owner of quite a lot of furniture manufactured by Thompson's of Kilburn - the famous 'Mouseman'.

Today we no longer have carpentry shops in schools - rather Design and Technology Departments. I often wonder what Jesus (and Joseph) must make of such a change! Well, I guess I should be grateful for the change, as our excellent DT Department at Latymer recently came to the rescue of the altar candlesticks in the Chapel. It is particularly pleasing to record that the whole exercise was expertly supervised by Mr David Baker who is a devout Jew. He has shown much interest in our liturgy in the Chapel, and is always pleased when we can trace our practices back to our Jewish roots.
The problem all revolved around our Paschal Candle! As you will appreciate, this is a very important feature in the Chapel of the Resurrection - and we like to have a really impressive candle every Easter. (You can see this in the general photo of me in the Chapel of the Resurrection.) I order a 3' tall candle 2" wide, and by Pentecost it is still 2'6" long. With few Baptisms and no funerals in a typical year, what do we do with the enormous 'tab end' when we come to next Easter? I could of course order a shorter candle (say 1') - but that would hardly make much of an impression - or I could make the candle last several years - but I don't like that idea, or I could keep the candle lit all day during Eastertide - but our fire officer would have a heart attack if I did that! So instead, we decided to chop the candle in two so that we have two candles just over 1' long to use as altar candles. All well and good, but the altar candlesticks were for 3/2" candles, not 2" candles!
This is where the Design and Technology Department came to our rescue. They have adapted our existing altar candlesticks so as to accommodate 2" candles. The two photos show Jay (the Departmental Technician) doing a most skilled job. The candlesticks are due to be returned to the Chapel over the next few days and I will post a photo of the finished job once they are back in their rightful home.
Will they still be in use in 40 years time I ask myself? I hope so. I sincerely hope that everyone is not using electric Paschal Candles in 2047!

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Sung Mass

We were delighted to welcome Fr Robin Burgess again when he came to celebrate Mass for us earlier in the week. He is pictured here along with the humble deacon and our excellent team of altar servers. We normally have four servers at our weekly services in Chapel, but they were all so keen to serve that we had to have five servers this time. Splendid!

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

God save our gracious Queen!

Today we celebrate the 55th Anniversary of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II. She became our Queen following the death of her father on 6 February 1952. I was not born until 1953, and so feel that she has been our Queen for a long time. I think she is a wonderful Queen, and so happily pray today:
God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save The Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save The Queen!

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour,
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save The Queen!

Monday, 5 February 2007

Back to Ordinary Time!

At long last the Chapel is back in Ordinary Time after our extended Christmas Celebrations which lasted until Candlemas on Friday 2 February.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

St Blaise's Day

A priest friend phoned me at home this morning and left a message on my voice mail. The message said -'Peter, I've got a cold and a bit of a sore throat and so will not be able to sing the Preface at Mass this evening - though I will be able to preach.' I naturally hope my friend will soon feel much better (until recently I had a dreadful cough) - but I thought to myself - does he realise that today is the Feast of St Blaise?!
We certainly do in the Chapel of the Resurrection, and here are two photos of me giving the blessing to our altar servers and members of the congregation.

Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, may you be
preserved against diseases of the throat and from all other infections. In the Name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We pray for all those who are ill at this time of the year, and wish them a speedy recovery.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Presentation in the Temple

Here we see Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for the first time when he was 40 days old. They had come to 'present him to the Lord' - something which hardly needed doing in his case - but still, they did so in obedience to the Jewish Law. We see Mary holding a pair of turtle doves which she offered in sacrifice.

We also see Simeon and Anna. Simeon told Mary that a sword will pierce her own soul - Jesus himself is to be the true sacrifice which will take away the sins of the world.

So Candlemas Day looks back to Christmas Day, but also looks forward to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. As a Candlemas Carol puts it so well:

When candles are lighted on Candlemas Day
The dark is behind us, and Spring's on the way!
The candles invite us to watch and to pray,
When Christmas greets Easter on Candlemas Day!

I don't know about you, but I am certainly pleased at the thought that Spring is on the way!

Thursday, 1 February 2007

A light to lighten the Gentiles

Tomorrow (2 February) is Candlemas - the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple. The feast is celebrated 40 days after Christmas Day and brings Christmastide to a close.

The lighted candles remind us of the words of Simeon 'a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel'.

Our fully lit Advent Wreath is a lovely symbol of Jesus Christ - the Light of the World.