In the Eucharist we come into the presence of the Lord and all his redeemed creatures.
In the Eucharist God comes to us, to mankind. Heaven comes down to earth, and the two are joined. This reveals us that the world is God’s good place for us and that is it is being redeemed, and that it is not a mistake and will not be abandoned. The limits of our material world now open to reveal the beginning of a creation, in which earth is in permanent relationship with heaven, and always being renewed from it. Our prayers rise up to reach heaven, and the servants of God come down to us, bringing all the good gifts of the Spirit to make us holy.
In Christ’s presence we are free. Our confinement is over and there is no one telling us to be quiet. We can be thankful and joyful and we can sing, and do so with people who share the same joy and who sing with us, ‘with one accord’. We sing ‘Thou only, O Christ, art most high in the glory of God the Father…’ In other words, there is only one Lord. Though there are many masters and authorities, they are all pretenders. In worshipping Christ we reject the claims of all the power-mongers and ‘gods’ of the present. This worship tells the truth, liberates us from falsehood, and this is a huge relief. Continue reading “Eucharist – What does taking part in the Eucharist mean to me?”
The task of the Church of England is to proclaim the Gospel, now and always.
Christians are blessed. We have been made happy, and we are glad to share this happiness. It would be strange if we did not do so. We simply pass on what we ourselves have received, from the Lord. We have been searched for, found, rescued and forgiven; now we may also go searching for, and offer forgiveness to, anyone we encounter. The Lord has commanded us to do so.
God loves us. We are loved and empowered to love and to enable one another to flourish in God’s love. The Christian community is the communion of love, sourced and refreshed by God’s love for us. This love enables all our relationships with friends and opponents, and enables our love to endure through all difficulties. Continue reading “Mission – What is the mission task facing the Church of England?”
Let us start with ‘vocation’. Who calls, and who is called? The Lord calls. He calls us. Along with all creation, he calls us into existence, and we have our existence just because God calls us. The Lord calls man, and in calling him, gives him his life. He calls each of us, and calls us to life with him and in communion with all others. The Lord continues to call until, at last, we hear and respond. As we hear and reply, we discover how to live well, and live well together. Not to hear the call of God, to confuse it with the voices of other powers with their political demands, is to live against the grain of creation and so to create difficulties not otherwise there. But we may reply to God’s call, and do so with thankfulness, with curiosity, and with our own demands. Having heard him, we may respond to him and make our requests and the Lord hears our call and receives our prayers and thanksgiving. The Son has heard the call of the Father, and made our reply to him, and so in Christ the conversation between God and man is underway. Continue reading “Vocation – What is the calling of a priest in the Church of England today?”
The Church follows the Lord on a public year-long pilgrimage through the fasts and feasts of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and Trinity.
The Church is the body of Christ passing through the world. When people see us processing through our town centres they are able to acknowledge that it is our Christian witness that we are bringing them. Christian worship is a public demonstration that God brings all contraries together, and puts them face-to-face in reconciliation, and side-by-side in fellowship. The world that looks on can see this meeting and, if it wishes, recognise this reconciliation and decide that it wants to become part of it.
In some seasons the church is a large and noisy demonstration passing through a crowded town centre. During the feasts of the Church year we are celebrating and on carnival. The world will part on each side to let us through and some will join us as we go. We bless the world by greeting everyone as Christ’s future people. We greet them as examples of Christ’s body rejected, lost and forlorn, and we greet them as future members of his body redeemed, restored and made joyful.
At other times, during the fasts, we are on a demonstration of our public repentance and remorse. We are going out into neighbourhood and nation to bring them comfort and to repent for not having brought that comfort to them sooner. In our public processions we sing and bless. We sing psalms and hymns in alternation. We pray and intercede, kneeling together and keeping silence for long moments. So the form of our progress is simultaneously the way of the resurrection and glory, and the way of the cross and shame. As we go, the cross alternates with the glory, so at any one moment we are either repentant or joyful. Continue reading “Intro to The Christian Year – Around the year, through the Lectionary”