Sermons 2024

Lent II 2024

 

By Cyril Leroy, Crucifer, pictured,

and his Church Beadle Grandfather pictured below.

 

It was a strange sensation to have been asked by Father Jack to write the sermon for today. What legitimacy could I have to take your time about my vision of God and faith.

 

Me, French migrant (or expatriate as the French prefer to figure out themselves ), living in UK for

8 years, playing rugby, loving gardening and building Lego.

 

Religion and faith is something really sensitive coming from France. One of the few country where

secularism is a dogma. As I used to say : Watch Les Miserables, we haven’t done 3 revolutions for nothing. And I don’t even mentioned the 4th one : 1968!

 

So talking about religion is something we don’t do in France. Except in few fundamentalist catholic family only. Which mine was far away. Thanks Lord !

 

My parents were raise in a basic religious pre-1968 family. Having to go to church every Sunday, a

communion and confirmation. Joining the Scouts and equivalent for girls. At least, that how they

meet. Everything is always useful!

But 1968 arrive. They were 20yo. And everything changed. They become Hippy. Bought a Combi Volkswagen and travel all around Europe in their combi Volkswagen van with a large Peace & Love sign on the side. Then they have me and my sister quickly and decided to raise us far from religion: we will decide later on if we wanted to follow or not.

 

My grandparents were mortified. Both really religious. But didn’t want to make any fuss with their

own kids. And didn’t want to lost their grandchildren visit. So religion was a sensitive topic at the table. Only at Christmas we were allowed to create a nativity. And during vacation at their place, seeing them leaving the house for going to church or watching the service on TV on Sunday morning. Or seeing my grandfather prepare for the Sunday service. And like everything forbidden, it was so excited to watch!

 

My first memory of faith was the beautiful faces of the Italian Madonnas on the renaissance frescoes in Italy. How not be touched by so much grace! And as kid, I was fascinated of the tale of Noah and all his animals for 40 days and a night in his Arch. One year, at Christmas, the French TV present a peplum with the life of Christ. I might have been 6 yo at that time. Not sure I understand everything but at least apparently something stuck in my mind…

 

Promptly back to school, my parents were called by the Director : apparently I was playing with my classmate at recreation as putting them on a cross and simulate crucification of Chris.

Scandalous in a French public school ! But so much fun. All the kids were happy. Even the one who haven’t seen the movie! No clue why we were all grounded.

 

My grand-grand father was a Beadle/verger. I always admired his picture at my grand-parent’s place, all in his suit in an old fashion outfit. Carrying a huge silver staff in one hand while wearing gloved for a humble farmer. And apparently helping for baptism or buried. What a strange feeling when years later, I have been asked to do the same.

So teenager, religion wasn’t something I was really in touch. Except some little unrighteous prayer requesting a good result at an exam. Which strangely enough, if I worked a little bit, prayers were

exhausted. God will always recognise themselves

 

It is more getting mature. Feeling the difference between community and knowing the feeling of

being different that I feel more incline of faith and offended when such basic principal as “love your neighbours as yourself” wasn’t in fact not for everyone.

Getting adult, I kept being interested of what happened in the Book, not agreeing on everything, but - finally – enjoying a late catechism by my grands parents. Learning that the sin of gluttony is the most forgivable (how to resist to French food!) I always being sharing feeling for faith but which couldn’t match with the catholic church with its – excuse my French – silliness of deciding that priest can’t get married of having a love life with someone and woman can’t do service.

But this change when I moved to UK. I always loved to visit church where ever I go. Orthodox in

Greece, byzantine in Sicily, Baroque in Austria, and moving to the Barbican, this little church

surrounded by those concrete buildings always intrigued me. One Sunday, I wake up earlier decided to attempt to one service. A tall woman dressed as a religious with white hair was welcoming everyone at the door. She might realise that I was the only stranger compare to the parish usual and already informed me that I could just stay and watch and didn’t need to do communion if I didn’t’ want to. The church seems nice, cold and simple compare to the French one. But at least, for once, I automatically felt to be welcome, expected and at home. A couple of men, whom one was helping during the service, Tim and Allan, welcomes me at Tea & Coffee. I said to my mind: that’s a progressive church ! Finally

 

Then I was quickly integrated to the parish: X and Patricia invited me to help them with their flower balcony and we had Tea at their place. Mona was living in the same building as us on Ben Jonson house . And Dawn was so happy to find someone speaking French to her. In no time I was feeling part of the community. That’s an important feeling when you are stranger/ foreigner / ostracised in your own country to fell welcome. I wish to all foreigners to know that feeling one day.

 

So when Covid arrived and everyone was baking or walking dogs in park, I took time to realise and wonder what is important for me. And I realise that after all these years living in UK, I wanted to become an Anglican. And I followed classes through video and had the luxury to be recognises as Anglican under St Paul’s cathedral dome! Who can say it wasn’t a sign…

So when I have been asked :

And you what have you done during Covid. I am proud to reply : I become Anglican !

 

I created an LGBT rugby team in Paris in 2023. 20 years ago. The first even ever in France. For the same reason: why not giving the change for those who wants to practice that sport but being always afraid to not give the opportunity to try and like it. As much as I am pleased to see this team still existing 20 years later, I would never thought that it would inspire so many others and having now 7 LGBT teams in France. Not only rugby taught me to push myself, but as well the team spirit. That you can’t do anything without your team. That we need all the different body types to have the best team: young/mature/fast/slim/stocky. Rugby is one of the most inclusive sport for that. And that all players need to share the some strong values. Otherwise it’s just carnage on the pitch.

 

It takes time to realise that -truly- God has a plan for a all of us. All different for each one. He sent us many signs during our journey. It’s to us to see them. And catch them at the good time. That’s

honesty my philosophy. No need to rush, everything will happened if it has to happen. The more

you get mature the more you understand : God has a plan for everyone. Otherwise, Why would I

joined in the XXe century, the same church where an ancestor of my American spouse get baptized in XVIe century ?

 

We have all our different way to live our faith. Mine is to find a home in the best parish I could

dream of. Hoping it will keep going inspiring and attracting other lost souls as mine.

 

If I would be honest, I would say that God has been more patient and tolerant with me than I have

been for Him.

Lent I 2024

By the Bass from St Giles' Choir, Louis Hurst

Thank you, Jack, for inviting me to speak about “God at work”. 

But what do you mean by “God at work”? Is that how God affects my work, or how my work affects my relationship with God?

If the answer is “how God affects my work”, should I be changing Opera plots so that people act in a Christian way to each other? The problem is, if characters in Opera make good decisions, then Opera becomes rather dull and very short. Tosca ends up having an early night if Scarpia decides to cut out all the torturing and decides not to kill the tenor. The Marriage of Figaro ends after the first duet if the Count gives up trying to molest Susanna. If the baritone doesn’t play the baddie, then the audience doesn’t get to experience and understand the pain and suffering of the soprano. OK, so probably not that. 

Should I be acting in a Christian way to colleagues and audiences? Well obviously I should be doing that, but I don’t think that’s unique to being a musician. Is there something unique about working as a musician that informs how I think, and affects my relationship to God?

I think the best place to start is by telling you what musicians do, and how you become a musician.

Normally you start learning to play your instrument when at school, making music with others and taking your ABRSM exams. Then once you’ve passed your grade 8, and done A-level music, you go on to do a 4-year undergraduate course at a Music College. After that, you do a 2-year Masters, a 2-year Opera course, and then a 2-year Opera studio programme. Eventually, after more than 10 years of study in institutions, you’ve learnt to play your instrument, how to analyse and write about music, the foundations of stagecraft, and a bit of composition and how to arrange. You’ve even learnt how to translate medieval Italian poetry. Then you’re ready to start learning on the job and do a 2-year young artist programme working in an Opera company.

Nearly every musician is a self-employed, freelance contractor. There are a couple of exceptions, but if you are a Soprano who wants a full-time job with paid maternity leave, and employment rights, after the redundancies at ENO this Friday, there are now only 32 jobs in the whole of the UK. Every other job is contract to contract, moving on to the next place, and working with new people. On a typical weekend, you can do a gig in Glasgow on a Friday night, then be in Manchester on Saturday for an afternoon rehearsal and evening gig, drive to London to sing a church service on Sunday morning, do evensong, and then drive back up to Glasgow so you’re ready to rehearse on Monday morning. One of the most stressful things is sorting out all that scheduling, making sure that all these different contracts fit together so that you’re always working. 

I suppose the most visible part of our job to non-musicians is performing shows in the evening. Because it is normally quite late by the time you finish, get out of wigs and make-up, and your dresser has packed away your clothes, morning rehearsals rarely start before 10.30. Rehearsals are normally 3-hour sessions with a break, so you will warm up on your own, rehearse 10.30-1.30, have lunch, then 2.30-5.30, have dinner and be ready for a show in the evening. 

In that schedule, which will change week to week, you also need to find time to keep on top of your emails, do your invoicing and expenses, analyse, research, translate and then practice the music you need to learn, and occasionally try and see your partner. 

So, what unique insight does this itinerant lifestyle give my relationship to God other than learning how to pack your hand luggage so your concert clothes don’t crease? 

Well, making music is always an act of collaboration. Since you’re working so many different contracts at the same time, you are always working with new people. You need to quickly listen to your colleagues, and actively think about how your voice interacts with theirs. You need to understand how you are experiencing the piece, how others are experiencing it, and how that fits together into one performance that you can communicate to an audience. Even if you are performing a solo organ recital, you need to listen to the audience and understand how they are reacting to this shared experience. Music is a communal act. But those are the skills of being a good colleague and being good at customer-facing, which isn’t unique to being a musician. 

What about how Art is very efficient at communicating an experience? I watched the Toby Jones drama Mr Bates versus the Post Office the other week. It was incredibly moving, and if you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend watching it. But what I found most interesting was the ability that it had to effect political change. Computer Weekly wrote its first article about the Horizon scandal in 2009. Private Eye first wrote about it in 2011 and has been writing about it ever since. But it takes a TV series, broadcast this year, for politicians, Post Office managers, and Fujitsu bosses to start engaging seriously with this horrendous miscarriage of justice. Why? I think it’s because of how powerful art can be in sharing an experience and allowing the audience to participate in that experience. People knew the facts of the Horizon scandal but seeing and experiencing these very human stories helped people understand, and they were angry.  

But that isn’t unique to music. That’s what Art does. I think what is unique about art music is that it’s very good at communicating something that words are often inadequate in describing. Music is something that you need to listen to and experience. You can’t read about it from a book. Take for example our modern understanding of ancient music. We have no idea what the music of ancient Rome sounded like. We know about the intrigues of the Imperial court, we have love poetry that explores Roman attitudes to having an affair, and we know about the logistical needs of a soldier in Northumberland, but we don’t know what their music sounded like.

Let me try and describe one of the most famous pieces of the last 200 years and see if words can do it justice. The first musical idea is made up of 3 repeated short notes followed by a fall to a long note. The second musical idea is a contrasting 8, even note tune that is very lyrical. Each of these ideas is repeated and the repetitions get quicker and quicker, and stack one on top of the other. The exposition is repeated and then those ideas are explored harmonically in the middle section before a recapitulation in the home key. Anne and Elizabeth, can you demonstrate what I’m talking about?

PLAY OPENING OF BEETHOVEN 5, 12 seconds.

Thank you, Anne and Elizabeth for playing the opening of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

What I think music is very good at showing, is that describing the thing isn’t the thing. 

Another example of that is Schenkerian Analysis. When at music college, one of the analytical tools you learn is by a German, early 20th-century musicologist called Schenker. He basically stated that all tonal music, when simplified down, was based on an underlying, abstract deep structure, which he called the Ursatz, and that you could draw graphs showing the relationship between this background, the middle ground, and the foreground. You then show how important something is by how large the notes are. Riveting right? One of my favourite Alfred Brendel quotes comes from him looking at a Schenkerian graph of a Beethoven sonata. Supposedly he looked at the graph and said “Where’s my favourite passage? Oh, it’s those tiny little squiggles there.” 

Another example of how art music is very good at communicating something that words are often inadequate in describing is how Church musicians get very excited about singing the Wilcox harmonisation of the last verse of O Come All Ye Faithful. Now you only get to sing the last verse on Christmas Day. It’s the verse that starts “Yeah, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning”. There is this wonderful line “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing”, and Wilcox uses this really scrunchy chord to describe the idea of the Word becoming flesh. Technically the way to describe it would be a minor seventh flat five chord. But being able to describe it and write it down isn't experiencing it. As a musician you’ve gone through Christmas, doing the same carols again and again and again. You’re knackered and bored of the repetition. Then you hear this novel chord, which describes something miraculous, and you know that you're nearly finished and that you get a day off soon. It’s a moment that church musicians look forward to every year. I’ll not ask Anne to play it, you’ll just have to wait until Midnight Mass. Describing the effects of something isn’t the thing.

So, what am I trying to say? The brief was God at work. I think what I want to say is, thank you, Lord, that I can experience music so deeply and profoundly, in a way that words can’t always adequately describe. Thank you, Lord, that I can experience You so deeply and profoundly, in a way that words can’t always adequately describe. 

That isn’t to say we shouldn’t try. We should try intellectually rationalising the experience, analysing it, and trying to describe it so that we can understand it better. We should try to put it into words, so we can communicate and share it. But ultimately those tools only enhance the experience. They aren’t the experience.

One of the things that always gives me pleasure and refreshes my soul, is listening to Elizabeth playing Bach fugues. They’re seen as these great intellectual exercises. A fugue is constructed from a subject which is played in isolation at the beginning. Then there is a contrasting counter subject which can be played at the same time. Different voices successively play these ideas, and the listener has fun seeing how they repeat and interact with each other. Because of all those years of study, all these years of working as a musician, all these years of listening, I can follow along. But that is not what I am enjoying, even though following along, and understanding how those ideas play with each other, enhances the experience. I can get that intellectual understanding from reading the score. What I’m enjoying is Elizabeth’s playing and experiencing her communicating with me through Bach. 

This may be surprising, given the length of this talk, but one of my favourite Francis of Assisi misquotes is “Sermons should be short and use words if necessary.” Which isn’t just a jab at priests to get on with it. I think it’s trying to say sometimes words aren’t enough. If you want to communicate about God, words will ultimately fail you. In other words, proclaiming the Gospel by example is more effective than proclaiming it with the voice. In the same way that a musician gets to share a piece of music with the audience through the music, we get to share the Gospel by sharing the experience of experiencing God.

Thank you, Lord, that I can experience You so deeply and profoundly, in a way that words can’t always adequately describe. 

I’d like to finish with the choristers’ prayer. A prayer said in song schools and choir vestries by musicians before or after a service.

Bless, O Lord, us thy servants,

who minister in thy temple.

Grant that what we sing with our lips,

we may believe in our hearts,

and what we believe in our hearts,

we may show forth in our lives.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Next before LentQuinquagesima, 2024

by The Rev'd Dr Barry Orford

2 Kings 2. 1-12;

2 Corinthians 4. 3-6;

St Mark 9. 2-9

 

This year, it seems that we’ve only just recovered from Christmas and now we have Lent staring us in the face, and few of us think of Lent with enthusiasm and excitement. All too frequently, Lent feels like the Church equivalent of a school teacher saying to us, “you’ve been slacking, and you need to do a lot better.”

By tradition, Lent asks us to look at our Christian discipleship seriously. To begin with, we’re meant to think about our sins against God and other people. That’s important, of course; but doing it for five weeks could become a bit unbalanced, as though God has no interest in us apart from condemning our sins. (Admittedly, some Christians do picture God in just those terms.)

Also, I’m sure you’ll have heard sometime the message that Lent is an opportunity to “share in Christ’s sufferings.” But how can we imagine ourselves into feeling Our Lord’s physical and spiritual torments during His Passion? Anyway, most of us have trials enough, without wishing to add to them. Isn’t it enough that Christ should suffer for us without thinking that we should suffer with Him? Christian discipleship will always bring its hardships - Christ warned us it would - but we’re not meant to chase after them. 

Perhaps we need to look again at how we keep Lent, and why. Certainly it’s a time to think about the events leading to Our Lord’s crucifixion, and what He makes of them, and what they say about human behaviour, including our own. Yet the word Lent means Spring, a time for fresh growth, and we need to see Lent in that light. And there’s the clue – Light. It’s light which is at the heart of our readings today, and they can help us in our Lenten observance.

The Gospel reading is a familiar passage about the three chosen disciples who witness Jesus transfigured by the Light and Glory of God. Now, it’s natural to think that this event is something which happens to Our Lord; but the truth is that the real transformation takes place in Peter, James and John. The glory which they see in Jesus is a glory which is always there, though usually hidden. But in this moment, the disciples are given the gift of seeing with rinsed eyes. They’re given a glimpse of the Lord’s Divine nature which will be fully revealed in His Resurrection.

Does this sound extraordinary? It shouldn’t. There are many testimonies from people who have seen the Light of God shining through people and things. Moses saw it in a desert bush; Elisha saw Elijah being swept away in a Light intense as fire. That’s why St Mark includes Moses and Elijah as supplementary witnesses to Christ’s glory. To come nearer to home, in the 1930’s, a friend of the great Anglican spiritual writer, Evelyn Underhill, recorded visiting her and for a moment seeing light streaming from her.

The light of God may come to us as something seen, though that’s probably rare. More likely it comes as a sense of God’s presence with us, or as something which illuminates our minds and lifts our hearts. It’s this knowledge that the Glory of God is all about us which provides a foundation for keeping Lent. We can’t clear our sight by our own efforts – glimpses of God are a gift – but we can ask where we are putting up barriers which hinder us from becoming aware of God. This is what St Paul is saying when he tells the Corinthians that we can make choices which prevent us “from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor. 4:4)

If, in Lent, we give some thought to our sins, then we need to see them not simply as infringements of rules, but as things we deliberately decide to do which block from us the light of God in its varied manifestations. Sins are always freely chosen; on some level of ourselves, we decide to do things which will cause veils to fall between us and God.

Looking at our temptations to sin in this way enables us to see them from a new angle. There’s no benefit from indulging in spiritual nit-picking about how wicked we are. (Most of us never achieve that distinction.) Instead, Lent becomes the time when we remind ourselves that as Christians, we’re called to offer ourselves to be enlightened by God, and by God’s grace a little of that light may break through us to others.

So me must ask, what are the things in my life which prevent me from receiving the light of God? (And let’s remember that in our time the things which block God’s paths to us may be familiar ones like too much food and drink, and too little time in prayer, but they may also be such things as too much involvement with social media.) We should ask the Holy Spirit to show us where our problems lie, then we can ask, what changes is God wanting me to make which will help to keep my relationship with God open?

This way, the traditional Lenten self-denials cease to be dreary restrictions, and can become a means of walking the path toward the Light. Our Lenten disciplines are meant to assist God in opening our eyes, our hearts, our minds to what we’ve never noticed before.

For example, Fr Jack tells me that here, in Lent, you turn to the BCP for your Sunday Eucharist. You may like that, or you may not care for it; but come to it ready to find an opportunity for seeing something in your worship which you’ve not previously seen.

We are God’s work in progress. Come to Lent not to be miserable, but as the opportunity to be prepared for Glory.

Second Sunday Before Lent

By Fr Jack

 

The fifth of five 'Teaching Eucharists'

 

We engaged in a helpful 'Q and A' reviewing some of the thought provoking content of the previous Masses.

 

We also reflected on the Baptism rite: the three signs of water, oil and light. Their resonances in Scripture, and their powerful communication of the Paschal Mystery into the life of the Baptism candidate

Fourth Sunday of Epiphany

By Fr Jack

 

The fourth of five 'Teaching Eucharists'

 

Epiclesis - Come Holy Ghost!

 

After the Preface we sing the ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’, the Sanctus. We join our voices with the song of the angels in heaven, as both Isaiah in the Old Testament and St John in the New Testament book of Revelation tell us (Isaiah 6.3 and Rev 4). We are stepping out of time and into eternity. Heaven is here and now, and we stand with saints and angels. Death, time, distance - all such barriers are rendered obsolete: in this song we are welcomed to the Banquet of the Lamb. It is about to happen.

 

And hot on the heels of the Sanctus, usually comes the Epiclesis - the invocation of the Holy Spirit. We ask the Spirit to come. 

 

Charismatic Christians (with a capital C) are known for energetic worship. They may throw their hands in the air, convulse on the floor ‘slain in the Spirit’. They seek miracles. The rest of us who aren’t ‘Charismatic’ are sometimes thought to be rather lukewarm (Rev 3.16). Actually it is nothing of the sort. As people of the Eucharist, all Christians are Charismatic: of the Spirit. We trust that God turns up.

    Jesus promised us that He would be with us until He comes again, so He gave us the Eucharist. God the Holy Spirit is the seal of this promise, and it is kept. We invite the Spirit to turn bread and wine into Jesus with us, just as He said. By God’s outrageous love and lavish grace, in mystery and truth, so it is. 

 

‘Send down your Holy Spirit, that these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the Body and Blood of your dear Son…’

 

 

Jesus is the host, the guest, the meal.

 

There are saccharine Victorian postcards that show a priest offering the Eucharist, and the priest is faded out and Jesus is suddenly forefront saying the words and offering Holy Communion to the people. The artistry is dated, but the substance is as good as ever. It is Jesus who invites us here and does what He desires to do.

 

St Giles’ Church has been pulled from pillar to post over the years. We were a medieval church, then a Puritan one, then one that threw out a Puritan 400 years ago for being extreme (so he made his way to the little chapel of St Helen at Bishopsgate, where presumably he would still be at home!). Then along came the doldrums of the eighteenth century, and the (both Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic) fervour of the nineteenth. 

    We have found our way now (along with much of the Church of England) to a rather beautiful, deep place of belonging to all Christians, everywhere. A faith that is ancient and fresh, Catholic and Reformed. The old battles for which we burned each other are long past. Our liturgy is now pretty indistinguishable from the Methodists and the Roman Catholics. Our faith and worship would be recognisable (hopefully) to saints of every age and place. We are Christians, that is all. And hopefully we offer the particular gifts of our Anglican Tradition. 

 

So, as Christians, we come to Jesus, as He gives Himself to us. 

It is mystery, love, a promise kept, a foretaste of what will be, and food for the journey through life until we get there. It is ever so simple, and a gift beyond all possibility of telling. ‘Take, eat. This is my body…’

 

What was it HM the Late Queen Elizabeth I 

is supposed to have said? 

’Twas God the Word that spake it,
He took the Bread and brake it:
And what that Word did make it,
That I believe and take it.’

 

 

Our Father

 

Now at the heart of the Eucharist, Jesus is with us and we pray the words He taught us to pray. In whatever language or version we prefer, our voices are united in offering this perfect prayer. Each line is worthy of meditation. 

 

Jesus told us to do it, so we do. 

 

All the Lord’s Prayers we have offered in the mornings and bedtimes of the week, on buses, or when we sit down at the desk, or as we come here to church: they are all drawn into this offering of the Lord’s Prayer at the heart of the Eucharist, at the heart of the week.

 

 

The Fraction

 

In the Breaking of the Bread we are ready to recognise Jesus, just as the disciples did at Emmaus after His resurrection (St Luke 24.30). 

    Also, we are brought to the foot of the cross on Calvary and witness His body, broken, in the torture and death He suffered. His blood is poured out (1 Cor. 11.26). 

    In this moment (as in the Eucharist as a whole) time and space are all simultaneously present, gathered in.

 

 

The Centurion’s words

 

Often at this point we adopt the words of the Centurion in St Matthew’s Gospel (8.8-13). The Centurion’s beloved servant was ill. He came to Jesus and asked His help. Jesus offered to come. But the Centurion said that he was not worthy to have Jesus come into his home, but if Jesus only spoke the word, he knew that his beloved servant would be healed.

 

We say that although our bodies are not worthy to house Jesus, if He speaks the word, we shall be healed. 

    God’s healing is not only of sickness or symptom, but a deeper healing: the wholeness and life-bringing fullness of the Kingdom.

Lamb of God

 

At this point we reaffirm what St John the Baptist said: that Jesus is the Lamb of God (St John 1.29,36). The true Lamb, slain once and for always. 

    No more sacrifice is necessary, Jesus has done it (Hebrews 10.26). This Lamb has removed the power of death and all evil, all darkness, forever. Because He is not just a lamb, but God Himself (Ephesians 5.26). 

    That promise has been made in Christ and will be consummated when He comes again. We look backwards to the Cross, we are here and now, and we look forwards to Christ’s return. ‘Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!’

 

Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us, 

Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us,

Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; grant us peace.

 

 

Holy Communion 

 

As we come for Holy Communion we are told what we are about to receive (the body/blood of Christ) and we say ‘Amen’. That is, ‘Yes, I know.’ Apparently, an old monk once shocked a young monk at Communion when he simply said: ‘Yes, I know’ instead of ‘Amen’.

 

In Holy Communion, we take the love of God into our bodies. It is an intimate moment. Profound and transformative, but simple and humble. Not caviar and champagne, but bread and wine.

 

The State of Grace that we enter at Communion is not by our will or achievement. It isn’t a thought or a strategy or a policy or a contract, it is the simple, earthy, reality of eating and drinking. In the Sacrament, love is made matter, and becomes part of us. 

 

That’s why the first thing Buzz Aldrin did on the Moon in 1969  was share Communion that he had brought from his church. 

‘Amen.’

 

 

Go!

 

And now it is time to go. Not because the party is over, but because it is continuing. Calling it Holy Communion highlights our communion with God and the Body of Christ. The Lord’s Supper reminds us who has called us here. The Eucharist puts the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving at the heart of this heavenly feast. The other name for this is the Mass. That name comes from the final words: ‘Ite, missa est’ 'Go away!’ 

Well, actually, ‘Go, it is sent’: ‘Go in the peace of Christ’. 

 

All that we’ve been about here has been a gathering, a feeding and a sending. Each Sunday (and midweek too) is the ‘locker room’ in the game of life when we come to be with Jesus, to be refreshed and renewed, and then go out and live for Him.

 

We are being sent to live lives shaped like the Eucharist. Lives that embody all that we have done here: lives of praise, love, care, nurture, and sacrifice.

 

As we heard at the beginning of our pilgrimage, at our Baptism: 

 

‘Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father!’

Third Sunday of Epiphany 

by Fr Jack

Genesis 14. 17-20;

Revelation 19. 6-10;

St John 2. 1-11

 

The third of five 'Teaching Eucharists'

 

The Peace

 

It is Christ’s Peace. 

We acknowledge that the Lord is here. 

That He has drawn us together, and that we are one in Him. 

So, if we have a grievance with someone, or especial love for someone, or if it’s someone we’ve never met before - all and any of those: we are one in Christ (St Matt 5.23). 

And then, we are ready as one, to go to the altar of God (Colossians 3.15).

 

The Offertory vs. Collection

 

And we don’t go to the altar empty handed. We approach by means of the Offertory. That is not the collection. At the collection we acknowledge that everything comes from God, the least we can do is give a ‘thank you’ back. The Church of England recommends tithing 10% - perhaps 5% to the parish church and 5% to other charities (Leviticus 27.30: “tithe” or “עשר” or “ten” ). I’m sure we each have our own pattern. 

 

I purposefully don’t know who gives what to St Giles’, but nonetheless I want to thank you for your generosity. We need it, and we rejoice in it. Personally, I give a little over 10% each month of what pings into my bank account and I find that really freeing and good. I recommend it!

 

Under the offertory hymn (as the collection is taken) bread and wine are presented as an offering. That’s why they are brought up from the people. We offer them for sacrifice (it’s a lot tidier than a sheep or goat, thankfully). We offer bread and wine to God, and God gives them back to us a few moments later, when they have become the Lamb who was slain: Christ. 

 

It’s a very powerful moment of gift, transformation and return. Given from earth - they touch heaven - and then we are invited into the fringes of heaven to receive them here, before returning, spiritually recharged, to earth. (1 Corinthians 10:16-21 and Hebrews 10.10)

 

Sursum Corda 

 

As this transformation takes place we sing loads. The Old Testament is full of singing - Hannah’s song (1 Sam 2) that will be taken up by Mary’s Magnifcat centuries later (St Luke 1). David’s Psalms. The chants of the Temple. In the New Testament Jesus and the others sing psalms and hymns at the Last Supper (St Mat 26.30). 

    Human beings were made to worship; and song and worship go hand in hand. You may not be a strong singer, but your singing delights God and does you good no matter what. Singing together is one of the most beneficial things we can do, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually. This is no accident, after all, we’re made to worship. St Augustine famously said, ‘the one who sings, prays twice’. Singing our prayers carries them deeper inside us, and it throws them up joining our voices with the song of heaven (Rev 5.8). 

 

And so we sing: ‘hearts up!’ 

In English we say ‘li-i-i-ift up you-r-r hear-r-ts’. But the original Latin ‘sursum corda’ is more direct. Is it an instruction or a statement of fact? “Sursum corda’: ’Hearts up!’

    And what a wonderful thing to have: hearts that aren’t low, or locked away for fear that they might get trampled on. But hearts that are lifted up. What a way to live! And that is what we are aspiring to now.

 

And we give thanks, as ‘it is meet and right so to do’. ‘Eucharist’ means ‘thanksgiving’. 

    We are people who decide day by day and Sunday by Sunday to define our lives, to spend our time, giving thanks. A people defined by gratitude and open hearts - that is who Chrisitians are. And it’s true of us today, with so much to give thanks for, as it is for many persecuted Christians gathering to celebrate the Eucharist in fear, as it is for Christians who time and again in our family story have offered the Eucharist with the last piece of bread they have. A people defined by gratitude and open hearts - that’s our aim, so we sing it until it becomes so.

 

Eucharistic Preface

 

It has been said that ‘The Eucharist makes the Church’ - in every sense of those words. We eat what we are and are what we eat: the Body of Christ. Jesus didn’t come to give us a new religion. He already had a religion, He was and is a faithful Jew. Jesus came to give us the Church. A community, His body, His gift, then and now. Imperfect, ridiculous, and utterly amazing. 

    

Jesus directly gave us The Eucharist so that we could be the Church; to be with Him until He comes again. His life given to us day by day and week by week, so that we would be His Body on earth until He comes again and everything is made new in His Kingdom (1 Corinthians 10:16-21, St John 14.1-7). It all makes sense. Read the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper and St John’s Gospel Chapter 6 - it’s all there.

 

So the priest, on behalf of us all (priests always act on behalf of everyone in liturgy), praises God for God’s goodness in the words of the Preface. The same themes of salvation and grace are woven with seasonal specific images. They are beautiful and ancient words.The devisers of Common Worship (the year 2000  liturgy for the C of E that we use) took great pains to translate and use ancient prayers and texts from the early centuries of the church, and different denominations.

 

The prefaces tell us a lot, but they aren’t simply didactic. These prayers don’t just tell us about God for our benefit. The Eucharist does something. That’s why we offer the Eucharist and other prayers in St Giles’ every day, irrespective if there is a congregation or much of one. We don’t just worship for us. 

 

By offering the Eucharist the world is transformed, the love at the heart of the universe is let in that little bit more, the broken hearts and lives of human beings everywhere are met in solidarity, and held in love. We come to church for other people, joined with all people, as much as for ourselves. 

The universe is changed every time we celebrate the Eucharist because we join in with what God is doing. We don’t do anything, we join our lives that bit more with what God is doing. It is indeed a ‘fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ (Hebrews 10.31). And in the Eucharist we jump in with both feet.

 

‘It’s not just about us’, you say… so what if no one comes?

 

‘Success’ for the Eucharist is not necessarily lots of people. We do want to invite the whole world here, but not because it’s about numbers: it’s about God, people, love, life. ‘Success’ is us fulfilling our purpose, not ‘counting heads’. After all, at the Eucharist we not only celebrate the Resurrection and the  banquet of heaven, we also conform our lives to the crucified one - His body broken and blood poured out, and we literally take that into ourselves. 

 

‘Success’ for us looks like the cross and resurrection of Jesus, which is very different from worldly measures that the church is always in danger of being seduced by. 

 

But if we are being what  we’re called to be: full-fat, caffeinated Christians, then we shouldn’t be surprised if other people want to join the party. Because this party of praise and thanksgiving is (literally) heavenly. It is human beings being what we were made to be, it is us as close to God as we can be on this side of death, changing the world with love. 

 

Come as you are, and bring the whole world with you.

Second Sunday of Epiphany 

by Fr Edwin

1 Samuel 3. 1-10;
Revelation 5. 1-10;
St John 1. 43-51

 

The second of five 'Teaching Masses'

 

As Fr Jack explained last week, each of these Sundays leading up to Lent will be what are called ‘Teaching Masses’ or ‘Teaching Eucharists’: instead of a sermon we’re delving more deeply into the Eucharist itself, and exploring its constituent parts, in four main chunks. Last week Fr Jack talked about the opening part of the service. This week we’ll look at what’s called the Liturgy of the Word: the readings, the hymns, and so on. Next week we’ll look at the Eucharistic prayer, and the week after we’ll consider receiving communion and being sent out, all to help us to engage better and more prayerfully with the Paschal mystery that sits at the heart of our worship.

 

Now before I begin I want to go back to something Fr Jack said last week that is so important in understanding the liturgy, and will be particularly so today as we consider the Liturgy of the Word. Fr Jack talked about the notion of a journey: a journey through the building, a journey through the liturgy, a journey through the story, a journey through the Christian life. The notion of journey is utterly integral to our worship. 

 

Worship isn’t just a spectator sport, in which we can sit and watch it happening around us. Nor is our liturgy just an aqueous solution into which we can drop different elements, like readings and prayers in any old order. Rather, our worship is one journey in which we all must participate with our hearts, our minds, and our bodies. And the shape of this journey isn’t arbitrary but is, in many ways, given to us by Christ himself. 

 

You may remember the road to Emmaus, when the disciples walk with the risen Christ, whom they don’t yet recognise. Having confessed their confusion and opened their hearts to him, they hear him unfold Scripture, and then see him revealed to them in the breaking of the bread. Sacramental worship follows the same journey, and must contain the same elements. Learning about Christ in Scripture is incomplete without meeting him in the sacrament. Meeting him in the sacrament cannot happen without knowing who it is we meet through Scripture.

 

And so we go on this journey both physically and metaphorically. As Fr Jack said last week, we enter past the waters of baptism in the font, and so enter into the main Body of Christ. Here we enact the stuff of our Christian lives—prayer, the study of Scripture, adoration—before finally moving forward through the gate of death (historically a screen with the Cross of Christ above it) into the sanctuary of heaven, where with choirs of angels, we encounter the real presence of God. Birth, life, death, resurrection. A journey of our feet as well as our hearts.

 

And this is really important for us today as we consider the Liturgy of the Word (the readings, hymns, Gospel, sermon, creed and intercessions). For some of us, this is the most ‘enjoyable’ bit. For some of us, this is the bit we want to rush through to get to the good stuff beyond. But either way, this is the part that represents where we are now: trying to understand our history, and how we and Christ fit into that; trying to understand our present, discerning Christ among us, learning how to live out the Gospel, praying for the world; and preparing ourselves for our future, as if we’re peaking through the veil to the glory that awaits us. 

 

So let’s look at each of its parts! 

 

Readings and psalm
First, the readings and the psalm. Why do Christians read the Bible in worship? Well, predominantly so that we can understand our story. We read the Bible not just to hear the story of people long ago, but to understand our story: how we fit into the story of God, the story of his people, the story of his revelation in Christ, the story of our salvation. As Martin Luther said of the Bible: ‘de te loquitur’, ‘it’s talking about you’. 

 

When in our first reading God says, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’, he is calling all of us by name to be his people, his prophets. In our reading from Revelation, we know that is we that are somehow called God’s saints, a kingdom and priests serving him. In our Gospel, St Philip is inviting us to discover Jesus, when he says, ‘Come and see’. We read the Bible together, not just with the people in the pews next to us, but the people of God down the generations, and the people of God who appear in its pages.

 

Hymnody
The next element of our Liturgy of the Word is our hymnody, our hymn-singing. We do this for various reasons—hymns teach us, commit things to heart and to memory in a way that words alone can’t, hymns build our community and fellowship as together we sing unto the Lord—but perhaps the most obvious and important reason we sing hymns is, simply, worship. As Fr Jack said last week, our primary call as human beings is to worship our creator, and how natural it is for heartfelt worship to bubble up into song. And that doesn’t simply mean joy all the time, it can mean lament and confession, as well as thanksgiving, praise and wonder. Hymn-singing touches something deep within us in a way that words alone barely can.

 

Gospel
Next let’s look at the Gospel and its procession. If the Liturgy of the Word represents our Christian life here on earth, this side of glory, then the Gospel procession dramatises the Incarnation, the coming into our midst of the Word made flesh. The Word of God comes from the heavenly altar and journeys into his people, accompanied by, of course, the Cross. We turn with our hearts and our bodies towards Christ in our midst, and hear him speaking to us once more. This is the summit of our Liturgy of the Word: here Christ is revealed in word, before he is revealed in flesh and blood at the altar. 

 

And here we practise too discerning Christ among us. We practise using our bodies, our eyes and ears to discern Christ in our midst—in the people around us, in our friends and neighbours, in the homeless woman outside—and we practise turning our hearts to them.

 

Sermon
Next we hear the sermon, which I’m sure is your favourite part, and you can’t wait for it. The sermon is simply an aid. We have listened to the word, and now we listen to its interpretation, or rather an interpretation from people we, hopefully, trust. The preacher doesn’t tell us what to think, as much as she or he encourages us to think: to connect what we have heard to our lives and our world; to consider what this means for our faith; to provide further context, information or interpretations to help us understand what particularly impenetrable or disparate parts of Scripture might be saying. But the chief preacher is, of course, Christ. Christ is the perfect revelation of God and God’s will, and if we ever need to understand what God is saying to us in Scripture, we look to Christ, to whom hopefully, every preacher will point.

 

Creed
After the sermon, we pause to consider what all we have heard means for us and for our faith. And then we stand and affirm that faith, taking ownership of it, if you will, in the creed. The Church has three main creeds: the Apostles’ Creed (which is the shortest, perhaps the most personal, and used at baptisms, and morning and evening prayer), the Nicene Creed (or to give it its full name, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, is the longer, collective affirmation of faith we use at the Eucharist, and will use today), and the Athanasian Creed (which goes on forever, and we are only subjected to once a year at Easter). 

 

The creeds are, of course, born out of the early councils of the Church as a way of setting in stone precisely what we believe in order to weed out heresies, but for us today, they’re ways of calling to mind the central elements of our faith: the mystery of who God is, and who we are in him. 

Each time we read them, we might feel different things: we might say them proudly or tentatively, might be encouraged or confused, new things might jump out at us. The creed is a summary of our faith, but it isn’t our faith itself. The creed only comes to life, is only made sense of, in the context of the revelation of Christ in word and in sacrament.

 

And, during the creed, we bow at the account of the Incarnation: ‘he came down from heaven, was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and was made man.’ We reverence this amazing mystery with our bodies. Just as Christ humbled himself in the Incarnation, so we humble ourselves before him. 

 

Intercessions
And finally, the intercessions, the prayers of the people. These are not simply a divine shopping list, telling God what we want. Instead here, just like with bowing in the creed, or turning during the Gospel procession, we are putting ourselves in the posture of Christ, who loves and intercedes for our world. We come to God and hold before him the brokenness and need of our world, and bring that with us to the Eucharist, the saving mystery of Christ, who entered into that brokenness and redeemed it, and who at the altar gives us a glimpse of a world beyond war and suffering and death.


So that, dear friends, was a whistle-stop tour through the Liturgy of the Word, the part of our journey in which we discover again who we are as the worshipping, listening, believing and praying people of God, and in which we ready ourselves to encounter our Lord once more, through the gates of glory.

The Epiphany of the Lord

Parish Eucharist

7th January 2024

by Fr Jack

 

The first of five 'Teaching Masses'

 

Some people have asked for Teaching Eucharists, so here we are. ‘Why?s and wherefore?s’… 

We’ll also produce a booklet - a guide through all this for the back of church and the website.

 

So today I’ll meander through the opening actions of the Eucharist, and in the coming weeks we’ll look at a few in turn in place of the sermon. Don’t worry if you don’t remember it all. Hold on to one or two things, and then perhaps enjoy the webpage or the book in church once it’s ready. It’s especially appropriate top consider these things in Epiphanytide. At Epiphany the Magi represent all of us who are gentiles coming to Jesus - the great showing of Emmanuel. Just as we will reveal God with us in these teaching Eucharists - what we do and why, and how God uses it to enrich us. Like the Magi to the Christchild, we come to worship and be transformed, and God shows God’s self to us.

 

The Procession

 

We assemble each Sunday. It is what Christians do - it is in our DNA to assemble on the Resurrection Day. 

Church, from the Greek ‘Ecclesia’, means ‘assembly’.

God draws us together. 

 

And then from amongst our midst - the entrance of the ministers in procession (even just a procession of one, sometimes!) This isn’t just about pomp. It has a theological value too. Processions in Church remind us that we are ‘a people on the move’. We are sojourers, pilgrims through this life, on our way home to heaven. The stories of the Exodus and the Promised Land aren’t limited to the Old Testament. Quite the reverse, they are there because they are to be echoed from the pages of the Old Testament into all human life.The Procession at the beginning and end of each service signifies this, and reminds us of our true nature.

 

Vesture 

 

Very early on Christians began to ‘dress up’ for worship. The poshest things they could think of were the Roman senatorial robes. So they inspired the priestly vestments still used today. Each has a significance. The alb (meaning white) echoes Revelation (7.14) speaking of our Baptismal identity - those robed in white, washed in Christ’s blood. The stole is a symbol of priestly authority. The girdle is chastity and temperance. The amice is a spiritual helmet. The chasuble is God’s all-encompassing love. Incidentally, the great and good of Rome would often be proceeded in the streets by acolytes with torches and a censer burning sweet smelling incense to purify the way through the smelly streets. Of course on our altar is the vision of the angels swinging censers before God, from both the Old Testament (Exodus 30), and Revelation (chapter 8) in the New Testament. This is an honour Christians came to give the Gospel book, the processions in church. They wanted to give God their best after all. That’s why are vestments are beautiful too, and our church building for that matter; purposely so. We give God our best. 

 

They are not about priests dressing up! Promise! They help the priest’s individuality take a back seat as s/he simply performs their role in the assembly. It’s about Jesus’ priesthood not any ordained clergy person taking centre stage. For as long as the priest is celebrating the Eucharist s/he is ‘in persona Christi’ (in the person of Christ) - it isn’t about them, it’s about Jesus, in whose place they stand to administer the Sacraments to His people. That’s why we stand as clergy process in and out, and some people bow as the celebrant passes, not because of the person walking in, but because Jesus ministers to us through priests.

 

Reverence the altar 

 

This place is the heart of the church. A place of miracles. As we enter church, and as the procession does, we bow to the altar. 

Most churches are a progression from font (by the door) to altar (at the east end). The architecture takes us on a theological journey, a mini pilgrimage from birth to death and beyond death to heaven (see the east window full of Saints - the Company of Heaven). 

We bow to the altar, and genuflect (bend the right knee) to the Sacrament of Holy Communion itself. It may not be something you’re used to. Don’t worry, give it a try. Clearly in belongs to courtly fashions in times gone by, when we would have bowed to Lords and Ladies, Kings and Queens. It may seem a unnatural when you start bowing or genuflecting, but soon you’ll find that your body can help you pray even when our minds might wonder! Our bodies, and the physical movements of the ritual can anchor us in prayer, remind us, stir us to worship in a deeper way than our minds on their own.

 

Begin in God’s Name and the sign of the cross

 

A good example of that comes next: the Sign of the Cross. Traditionally Christians make the sign when we invoke the name of the Trinity. In the west we go up, down, left, right. In the Orthodox east they go up, down, right, left. 

    Making this physical prayer, this gesture, your body is saying: ‘Yes, I take the cross of Christ and make it my own. Yes, amen, My body is a part of His Body’. We take His death and resurrection, the mystery into which we were baptized and say ‘yes, I am part of this story’. Perhaps you’ve never done that before. Give it a go, let your body pray as well as your conscious mind.

 

And as we make that sign we say that everything we do from here on in is done in the Name of the Trinity. Names are powerful. In ancient times, and in theological terms, names are not just labels or a means of talking about something or someone, the name is the presence and essence of the person or thing itself. That’s why the Jews don’t speak the Name of God, because it’s so powerful. Jesus’ name is given him by an angel (Lk 1.31), so is St John the Baptist (Lk 1.13). The name of God is written on the foreheads of the redeemed in Revelation (Rev. 14.1). Names are powerful, we begin our worship, and the week ahead in God’s Holy Name. We pray through the Name of Jesus (Jn 14.13-14). God’s name is God’s power (Psalm 83.18). 

 

So we begin to worship

 

Worship is our primary calling, and all life flows out of it. Birds sing, fly, eat, reproduce. We do all that too. But our worship is our highest calling, our truest and most honest use of time. After all it is what we will do forever in heaven. Just as Charles Wesley, who’s grandfather was vicar here, and his brother curate of our St Luke’s Old Street says in his hymn Love Divine: ‘when we cast our crowns before Him, lost in wonder, love and praise'. 

 

Some people are fond of saying ‘you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian’. But being a Christian isn’t just a matter of what you believe - Jesus is God. Or being nice, being kind or giving to charity. Christ came that we might be drawn into relationship with God - and that is built on worship! Can you be a Christian without coming to Church? … ‘Why try?’ Is my answer!

 

Time in worship is not productive. It can’t be measured or submitted to a Management Consultancy process of analysis and improvement. It is the beginnings, faltering with the limitations of our earthly life, on an ecstatic union that will last forever and fulfil all the longings of our nature. Medieval writers and saints often used sexual imagery for prayer and worship, being the closest we have with the blunt instruments of language to say what we are doing here. That’s why art and music are so key to our faith, they reach beyond what we can say, feel or know. Sunday church, receiving Holy Communion may not feel terrible charged in a super-erotic-ecstasy-kind-of-way most of the time (if it does, great, but prob not most weeks!), but in fact it is the same depth of being and alive-ness, that those experiences are reaching for. When we worship we fulfil our place in the universe. We swim with the tide of life, like birds when they sing and fly.

 

Confession 

 

So is it a come down to then fall into the Confession? What a gloomy start!?

No! A fresh start.

 

I used to think this need to confess at the start of most acts of worship could be a little overdone, but as I have grown into adulthood, and aware of my shortcomings both inherent and systematic, and also the stupid stuff I think, say and do day by day - I am more and more grateful for this space to articulate and let go of those barnacles of life week by week.

 

In the monastery, the monks end each day with Compline, Night Prayer. It begins with a confession. They wipe clean all the emotional, spiritual, relational mud they have acquired in the course of the day, and ready themselves for a good night’s sleep, and, when it comes, a good death. Confession is such a gift.

Epiphany. Evensong with Holy Baptism by Fr Jack

 

The Magi represent us, coming to the manger. Here God shows Himself. Not warrior or emperor, not a captain of industry, but a tiny baby. God’s strength in weakness.

 

He will destroy death and take away its power, by a shameful, sad death. God defies all our small boxes and shows through weakness, strength, through death, life.

 

This is the God who reveals Himself to this little baby, come for Baptism, today too. The Lord of heaven and earth, unknowable, immutable, before whom even our best efforts of language, art, music are blunt instruments. 

Says through the prophecy Isaiah to Sammy today, ‘I will hold your hand, I will go with you through life’. So to all of us. 

Not that life will always be easy, or as we want it, but I will be with you. That’s what God says to Sammy today, to all of us if we choose to hear God.

That’s why God came to be with us in Jesus, because He came to be with us.

 

After all, from age 1 - 30 (apart from the brief episode of the finding of the adolescent Jesus in the temple) we hear nothing of Jesus in the Gospels. What was He doing all that time? Well, living a human life. God came and spent 30 years hanging out with us. He ‘wasted’ all that time, being with us: life, relationships, work, worship, community. What an amazing thing for God to do.

 

But it’s not just the offer of friendship with God Samuel gets today.

 

This Sacrament of Baptism also speaks to Sammy’s and all of our belovedness. 

St Paul wiring to the Ephesians today condemns the lusts of the flesh. Remembering that in St Paul’s world, men could possess and exploit women and boys all they liked. It was a world in which life was cheap and power, everything. 

Whereas the Christian view of life is one in which each and every creature is beloved of our creator. St Paul is writing against these horrible social mores and pointing us to a better way. St Paul wants us to know that our dignity and beauty, our belovedness, is not the result of status or wealth or anything else, but because God has made us so. 

 

This is the reality proclaimed, the promise sealed in Baptism by the Holy Spirit through water, oil and light. Samuel you are beloved, of these people and of God. You are loved not because of what you do, or what the world thinks of you, or what others do to you or you to them, but because you are a child of God. 

 

But it’s not just the offer of friendship with God, and this promise of humanity and belovedness that Samuel receives today.

 

The last thing I want to highlight for us today is that Samuel is to be ‘quickened’, as St Paul says, (that’s not to be sped up, quickened, but as in ‘the quick and the dead’), to be brought to life in a new and life-changing way. (By the way, embrace the arcane words of the Prayer Book today. These words have brought God and humanity together in a beautiful poetic dance for centuries. They may need a little unpacking at times, but you’re all up to that I know.) Anyway, back to Samuel being quickened today…

 

Jesus died and rose again. In baptism, it is as if we had too. We get the gift of resurrection life without having to go to calvary ourselves. Just as St Paul says, next time Sammy faces death - we have confidence that death has already been put behind him, through his baptism. Death and sin and darkness and hell have no more claim over him - even in our frailty and the rubbish bits of the human condition - no, Samuel has been sealed with an eternal promise.

 

Life is an adventure. 

God has called us to this amazing pilgrimage of life. God bless Samuel as he treads the way of life in God’s friendship, beloved as he is, and with all you wonderful people as companions, on the way of life, home to heaven.

St Giles' Cripplegate Church
Fore Street
London EC2Y 8DA

 

Registered Charity               Number 1138077

Sunday 

8.30- 8.50 Morning Prayer

10.00-11.10 Parish Eucharist with Sunday Club

4.00-4.45 Choral Evensong on 1st Sunday of the month.  

4.00-4.45 Little St Luke's Church at St Luke's CofE Primary School on 2nd Sunday of the month 

4.00-4.20 Evening Prayer

on 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays in the month. 

 

Monday 

8.00 - 8.20 Holy Eucharist 
8.30 - 8.50 Morning Prayer   
5.30 - 5.50 Evening Prayer
 
Tuesday

8.30 - 8.50 Morning Prayer 

5.30 - 5.50 Evening Prayer

6.00 - 6.20 Holy Eucharist

 
Wednesday
8.30 - 8.50 Morning Prayer 10.00 - 10.20 Holy Eucharist and coffee 
12.30 - 1.00 Bible Study in the Rectory
5.30 - 5.50 Evening Prayer
 
Friday 
8.30 - 8.50 Morning Prayer
12.30 - 12.55 Holy Communion BCP 1662       
5.30 - 5.50 Evening Prayer

 

Wednesday 

28 February                       

Lectio  Divina on Zoom  at 7.30pm.

Please contact Susan Royce for details   susanjroyce@gmail.com

 

2024 Dates for Silent Prayer from 1-1.30 pm and Cleaning Angels from 1.30-3pm with tea and cake, on first Thursday of the month.

You are invited to join others in church on  the first Thursday of the month.

If you are not able to join us, we hope you will continue to pray with us wherever you are. 

  • 7 March
  • 4 April
  • 2 May,
  • 6 June,
  • 4 July
  • not in August
  • 5 September
  • 3 October
  • 7 November
  •  5 December.
     

2024 Dates for Standing Committee Meetings - held in the Rectory at 6.15pm

  • 4th March
  • 8th April
  • 3rd June
  • 1st July
  • 16th September
  • 4th November

 

2024 Dates for PCC Meetings

(please note the themes for each meeting in Dark Blue) held in the church at 7.30pm but in the Rectory when with Supper 

 

  • 12th May (APCM + PCC)
  • 20th May (Supper) Mission
  • 3rd July 
  • 7th October   Safeguarding

 
Parish Office Hours

For the Parish Administrator 
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am-4pm

Phone 07535 442955 or 

tola@stgileschurch.com 
 

For the Bookings and Events Co-ordinator, Buildings Supervisor 

Phone 07766 202731 or 

jake@stgileschurch.com 


Safeguarding is at the heart of our Christian faith. We are all made unique and in the image of God.

‘Jesus came that we might have life and have it in abundance’ John 10 v 10.

St Giles’ works to ensure a safe environment for everyone. Please click the ‘safeguarding' tab on this website for more information.

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