Sunday, 27 May 2007

Hail thee, Festival Day!

Today - the Day of Pentecost, crowns and brings to a glorious finale our Easter Festival.

Let us pray that the flame of the Spirit will descend upon us.

Father in heaven,
fifty days have celebrated the fullness
of the mystery of your revealed love.
See your people gathered in prayer,
open to receive the Spirit's flame.
May it come to rest in our hearts
and disperse the divisions of word and tongue.
With one voice and one song
may we praise your name in joy and thanksgiving.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Well, Ordinary Time resumes tomorrow, and I am off to the Highlands of Scotland for a weeks holiday. My next blog will therefore be on Monday 4 June. Let me end this joyful Easter Season with the special dismissal for this Festival Day:

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God, Alleluia! Alleluia!

Friday, 25 May 2007

The Spirit will be with you forever

During these last few days of Eastertide we join in spirit with Mary the Mother of Jesus, the Apostles, and other holy men and women, as they stay in the upper room in Jerusalem, praying continually for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Although Jesus has now returned to his Father in heaven, he has promised us that we shall not be orphans - he will send us the Holy Spirit who will be with us forever.

send the power of your Holy Spirit upon us
that we may remain faithful
and do your will in our daily lives.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Proclaim the Good News to all creation

At my ordination as a deacon in 1997, I was given a charge by the bishop to proclaim and preach the gospel. It is an enormous privilege to do so. But although this task is normally restricted to the ordained minister within the context of liturgical worship, we are all called to be ambassadors of Christ in our everyday lives.

It is often the school pupil telling their friends about Jesus which makes the big impression. Sometimes, when as a clergyman I preach the gospel people think ''well you would say that wouldn't you , you are ordained!' It is sometimes the friend whose witness makes the biggest impression.

I love the Gospel Acclamation which we sang last Sunday:

Alleluia! Alleluia!
Go and teach all people my gospel.
I am with you always, until the end of the world.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

May they all be one

This week we are reading the 'High-Priestly' Prayer of Jesus in the 17th Chapter of John's Gospel. Jesus rejoices that he and the Father are one, and prays that all his followers may be one.

How lovely that report of the early Church which we read in the Acts of the Apostles: 'the faithful all lived together and owned everything in common...They went as a body to the Temple every day but met in their houses for the breaking of bread; they shared their food gladly and generously; they praised God and were looked up to by everyone.'

Small wonder 'day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.' We must ask the Risen, Ascended, Glorified Jesus to bring us all together in one Church.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

I am the vine - you are the branches

Most of my friends know that I enjoy the 'odd' glass of wine! In fact, I look on wine as one of the great pleasures of life. There is nothing more lovely than a fine bunch of juicy grapes!

Jesus has called us to produce much fruit - fruit that will last. On our own we can produce nothing, but grafted to our Risen Lord - who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life - we can produce fruit in plenty.

It is often the older vines which produce the finest grapes. I have to ask myself - what sort of harvest am I yielding as I advance in years? Perhaps a little more pruning is called for!

Monday, 21 May 2007

I am the good shepherd

During this Easter Season, we are reading from the Acts of the Apostles, and from John's Gospel. One of the distinguising features of John's Gospel is the so called 'I am' passages. One favourite image is found in the tenth chapter, where we read: 'I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine own know me.'

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.

We should get to know the Good Shepherd better!

The Good Shepherd is risen!
He who laid down his life for his sheep,
who died for his flock,
he is risen. Alleluia!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia!

I know that many disagree with me, but I am delighted that we are now celebrating the Ascension of the Lord on the Seventh Sunday of Easter, rather than on the Thursday of the Sixth Week!

I am not at work today, and so can celebrate all day - not just at church, but also at the dining table! I like a Holy Day to be a holiday! I have grown tired of minimalist celebrations in my parish, and hope we will celebrate this great feast with every possible sign of festal joy and triumph.

Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia!
Glorious to his native skies; Alleluia!
Christ, awhile to mortals given, Alleluia!
Enters now the highest heaven! Alleluia!

Happy Feast!

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Our Master of Ceremonies

Here we see our MC with the newest member of the Guild of St Stephen. On this particular occasion he acted as thurifer, and had our new recruit as his boat boy.

I am always pleased to see our senior servers taking such good care of the younger servers. They set an excellent example, and I know that the young servers look up to them. What a pity that some parishes make such little use of altar servers these days.

Friday, 18 May 2007

A new altar server

On the same day as I enroled one of our servers into the Guild of St Stephen, we welcomed a brand new server to our team. He performed his duties as boat boy very well, and I look forward to enroling him into the Guild before too long.

I am delighted to report that other new recruits will be serving for the first time this term. All our servers (young and old) can look forward to a trip to Legoland, Windsor towards the end of June.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Enrolment into the Guild of St Stephen

It gave me great pleasure to enrol one of our young altar servers into the Guild of St Stephen last Monday.

Here we can see my Assistant Mr Malcolm Smith, and our Master of Ceremonies, checking to make sure that I make no mistakes!

I really value the ministry of our altar servers, and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all that they do in the Chapel of the Resurrection.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Peter the Tellytubby

One of the Prep School pupils (who saw the picture below - with what appears to be a lighted candle growing out of my head), said that I look like one of the Tellytubbies about to receive a transmission. I'm not sure which Tellytubby they meant!

Join our happy throng!

Here are some happy faces photographed at a Chapel service earlier this week.

We really do make something of Easter in the Chapel of the Resurrection - and our festivities continue throughout the Great Fifty Days. Not only did we sing lots of alleluias - we also feasted on pizza, salmon, sausages, garlic bread, chocolate eclairs, and choc ices! Why not come and join us!

I particularly like the Paschal Candle behind me - it rather looks like the Day of Pentecost!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

It is the Lord!

This lovely picture reminds us of the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus who recongnised Jesus in the breaking of bread, and of Peter and the other disciples who recognised the Risen Lord as he cooked breakfast for them on the Lakeside.

Today is a Day of Resurrection, and we should be filled with holy joy as we proclaim in our Sunday Eucharist - 'It is the Lord!'

Friday, 11 May 2007

Blessed are those who believe!

We were not there in the Upper Room on that first Low Sunday when Jesus appeared to the eleven, including Thomas. Jesus said to Thomas,'blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.'

When we attend the Eucharist, we too can proclaim the mystery of faith; 'My Lord, and my God!'

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief! Amen.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

I am alive!

During these days of Easter joy we are so very aware that Jesus is risen - that he is alive - that he is still with us.

He is no longer physically here on earth, but he is still with us, and we are particularly aware of this when we meet to celebrate the Eucharist. As one of the Eucharistic hymns puts it so well:

Alleluia! not as ophans
Are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia! he is near us,
Faith believes, nor questions how;
Though the cloud from sight received him
When the forty days were o'er,
Shall our hearts forget his promise,
'I am with you evermore'?

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Easter Sequence

Tell us Mary: say what thou didst see upon the way.
The tomb the Living did enclose;
I saw Christ's glory as he rose!
The angels there attesting;
shroud with grave-clothes resting.
Christ, my hope, has risen: he goes before you into Galilee.
That Christ is truly risen from the dead we know.
Victorious King, thy mercy show!
Amen. Alleluia!

This Easter banner was presented to the Chapel of the Resurrection by pupils in the Prep School who organised a toy sale. What a lovely gift!

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Christ our light! Alleluia!

The Paschal Candle (which burns at all our services between Easter Sunday and Pentecost) is a powerful symbol of the light of the Risen Christ. The candle was first lit as these words were said:

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

This is a good prayer!

Friday, 4 May 2007

Easter Gospel

We don't spend much money on flowers in the Chapel, but do like it to look festive throughout Eastertide. Our compromise solution is to have one floral stand of fresh flowers (the Easter lilies cost £23.97 - and will soon need replacing) and artifical flowers around the Paschal Candle and in front of the lectern. Here we see the cheerful floral display at the lectern from which the Gospel is proclaimed.

The Easter Gospel is really Good News - and the flowers help to express our joy!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Breakfast by the lakeside

Although many Biblical Scholars will have us read this passage from the 21st chapter of John's Gospel with deep theological meaning, I rather enjoy taking it at face value! Although Jesus is now risen, he does not cease to be concerned about our everyday needs - he doesn't only expect us to turn to him about deeply spiritual matters.

How often do we work away on our own with few results? How often do we fail to recognise the Risen Lord at work in our daily lives? He is there to help us whenever we turn to him, and the results of his help can be quite amazing.

Jesus says; 'Come to me, all you who are overworked and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Perhaps we should allow Jesus to cook breakfast for us more often!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

The Road to Emmaus

I have three favourite Bible stories, and they are all in Luke's Gospel - the birth of Jesus and the visit of the shepherds (Chapter 2), the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Chapter 15), and the Road to Emmaus (Chapter 24).

The story of the Emmaus Road is the model for all our Eucharists in which we meet the Risen Lord. We hear the Scriptures and have them opened to us in the homily and bidding prayers; we break bread; and we are dismissed - sent on our way, back to our daily lives, strengthened and inspired.

Like those two disiples, attending the Eucharist should change our lives! Have you told anyone recently that Jesus is risen?

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Mary Magdaline sees the Risen Lord

What a lovely image this is! Mary can hardly believe her eyes - she is filled with joy beyond words. We too feel like this when we hear the Easter Gospel. The message seems too good to be true - but we believe it, and are filled with joy - Alleluia!

Walking in a garden
At the break of day,
Mary asked the gardener
Where the body lay;
But he turned towards her,
Smiled at her and said:
'Mary, spring is here to stay,
Only death is dead.'