Uncategorized

Glenholt Post Office

Posted on

Most residents of the locality are aware that the Premier Shop and Post Office recently went bust and there is currently no Post Office services in the area. The Woolwell OneStop/Post Office is due to close in April and the nearest is in Southway: an inaccessible distance for many of Glenholt’s Elderly population.

Community concern in bodily form.

At a Public Meeting held a couple of weeks ago, organised by Denise Mills, over 200 people came: a completely packed Church!

We heard from local councillors, Maddie Bridgeman, Chris Mavin and Nick Kelly who was also the owner of the site, but is not the landlord. The landlord was present but unwilling to speak in public and so Nick Kelley was forced to speak on his behalf. Charlotte Holloway, the Labour PPC for Moor View was present but the sitting MP, Johnny Mercer was unavailable in Westminster (during Brexit Vote week, so we actually did understand his absence).

I had the sense that politics were very much secondary to the issues before us, and the meeting was pretty united: we want and need a local Post Office. The councillors and PPC were especially good in their support and I commend them all for this.

Charlotte Holloway (Labour PPC)
and grinning idiot.

There are two strands to this issue: the reestablishment of a permanent Post Office, which requires the appointment of a subpostmaster and a host of other things to come together, in a viable shop. There are traders interested in that, but this will take time, and I do not think can be sorted out this side of Easter.

The other issue is a short-term provision. I offered S. Anne’s as a venue where a portable Post Office could be brought for a couple of afternoons a week. We are committed to support this and ready to roll. This sort of thing already happens up at the Methodist Church in Wotter.

A local resident, Toni, has been very active to try and get this sorted, and her, Denise, Charlotte Holloway and indeed Johnny Mercer (with whom I had a telephone convertsation) have all been eager to encourage the Post Office to get this short-term provision running.

I have heard nothing. No calls, emails, or even a letter (they could always write me a letter). We are ready to provide this and the Post Office have not even had the courtesy to ask when they might want to come. There is a need. There is a demand (see picture above), but nothing.

The Vicar is grumpy because the Post Office have not got back to us. At all.

That’s where we are at present. I am sorry about that. The issue isn’t from our end, because the Church of S. Anne’s wants to be at the heart of the community, serving the people of Glenholt and Glenholt Park and when the Post Office pull their finger out, we are ready and willing to host them until a permanent solution can be made.

Please encourage your local councillors and MP to continue the pressure on the Post Office. There are links to their emails below.

Maddie Bridgeman

Nick Kelly

Chris Mavin


Please circulate the link to this post around the locality, so residents know where we are at present.


Uncategorized

Electoral Roll Revision 2019

Posted on

Every six years the Electoral Roll is completely revised and all who attend our churches are warmly invited to complete the form which will be distributed shortly. It also gives us a chance to check our records (under GDPR rules) and for you to ensure Gift Aid and other details are up-to-date. Please complete a form available in Church or downloadable below (this is a gatefolded leaflet) .

Even if you already on the Electoral Roll, you need to resubmit this form. This includes all those who through infirmity are unable to come regularly to church but who receive care (Home Communion etc) at home – you are still an important part of the Body of Christ.

Uncategorized

Epiphany Proclamation

Posted on

The feast of Epiphany begins with the traditional proclamation which sets the dates for Easter and the rest of the Church year. In an age without watches or calendars it was a useful marker of the year, and is a tradition which should, I believe, be maintained…

Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of the eighteenth day of April and the evening of the twentieth day of April, Easter Day being on the twenty-first day of April.

Each Easter — as on each Sunday — the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death. From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the sixth day of March.

The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the thirtieth day of May.

Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the ninth day of June.

And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the first day of December.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the Passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever. Amen

Uncategorized

Christmas Proclamation

Posted on

Today, the Twenty-fifth Day of December,

when ages beyond number had run their course
from the creation of the world,

when God in the beginning created heaven and earth,
and formed man in his own likeness;

when century upon century had passed
since the Almighty set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood,
as a sign of covenant and peace;

in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith,
came out of Ur of the Chaldees;

in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses
in the Exodus from Egypt;

around the thousandth year since David was anointed King;

in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

in the year seven hundred and fifty-two
since the foundation of the City of Rome;

in the forty-second year of the reign of
Caesar Octavian Augustus,
the whole world being at peace,

JESUS CHRIST, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence,
was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and when nine months had passed since his conception,
was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah,
and was made man:

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Uncategorized

Biblical Literalism – it’s not biblical

Posted on

Stephen Tomkins

Where does biblical literalism come from? What is the genesis, if you will, of the habit of mind that makes many Christians read the Bible with a different brain to the one they’d use with any other writing?

It is by no means an essential Christian tenet. No creed says anything about how to read the scriptures. The highest claim the Bible makes for itself is when the writer of Paul’s letter to Timothy says the Hebrew scriptures were “God-breathed”, which is wonderfully suggestive but hardly precise or dogmatic. I mean, Adam was God-breathed, and look what happened to him.

The Bible is the word of God, Christians believe, but why should the fact it’s God’s mean it has to be read with naive absolutism? Many Christians call the church “the body of Christ” without considering it anything like infallible, or refusing to see its rites as symbolic.

Part of the problem is historical. The deification of the Bible is a result of the Protestant reformation. Before then, the final authority, the ultimate arbiter and source of information in religious matters was the church, with its ancient traditions and living experts. When Luther and friends opposed the teaching of the Catholic hierarchy, they needed a superior authority to appeal to, which was provided by the Bible.

Fair enough. But in defending or reclaiming the Bible from papists and then liberals, evangelical Protestants made it the very heart of the faith. Hence the ludicrous situation where many evangelical organisations, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, have statements of faith where the first point is the Bible, before any mention of, for example, God. Hence the celebrated idolatrous aphorism of William Chillingworth: “The BIBLE, I say, the BIBLE only, is the religion of Protestants!”.

One practical problem of this text mania is that the Bible, unlike the church, can’t answer questions, clarify earlier statements, arbitrate disagreements or deal with new developments. So those in search of religious certainty have to find it all in the text: if it says the earth was created in six days, or that gay sex is an abomination, them’s the facts, end of story. And if it forbids charging interest, well there’s always wriggle room.

The other practical problem is that for more moderate Christians, Christ is the heart of the faith, and the Bible offers information and ideas about him and is one of the things that point us in his direction. But if the Bible itself is the heart, then to read it is to enter the Holy of Holies, making it that much harder to accept any normal human ambiguity or inaccuracy in its words.

This effect is magnified by a more recent historical development: the charismatic movement. Even among evangelicals who don’t speak in tongues or put their hands in the air when the sing Shine Jesus Shine, the movement has had profound effects, one of which is that they don’t read the Bible just to be reminded and shaped by its teaching, but to hear what God has to say to them today.

If you read the Bible asking: “What was St Paul saying to the Galatians?” all kinds of critical questions arise: How would first-century Asia Minor have understood these words? Would Paul have phrased it differently to a church he was less pissed off with? Would other witnesses have recalled the events he describes differently? But if you read the Bible asking: “What is God saying to me today?” it seems less appropriate to do anything but accept it at face value.

One last factor in biblical all-or-nothingism is the part that biblical criticism plays in evangelical conversion, which is none at all.

People who convert to evangelical Christianity, including those who grow up with it, are persuaded by the experience of a religious community, and by finding that evangelical theology seems to hold water. All this is totally underpinned by the Bible – it’s the foundation and guarantee. But the only test of its reliability that inquirers are invited to make is to read it and ask “Is this something that I can accept wholesale and entrust my life to?”

It’s generally much later that a convert will have to consider concrete evidence that biblical writers were human beings, capable of being one-sided, of writing myth, of exaggerating, of guessing, of having opinions it’s impossible to agree with.

Some of us, faced with this evidence, shape our faith in the light of it, making the Bible a far more fascinating, revealing and diverse record of human religious experience. But it’s not surprising if for others the evidence comes as an attack that threatens to undermine the foundation of their faith, and has to be beaten off blindfold.

Stephen Tomkins

adapted from an article https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2011/feb/21/biblical-literalism-bible-christians

Uncategorized

Did Jesus’ family not understand him? There seems no reference to his Mother Mary and other family members

Posted on

Well, apart from the Birth narratives in Matthew and Luke, and after the return from Egypt we hear little more: the story of the finding in the Temple aged 12ish in Luke 2:41-52 and then…

Tradition says Joseph was a much older man (and some claim previously married in order to keep the perpetual virginity of Our Blessed Lady, but I think that is rubbish, because unlike us, the Jewish faith has a healthly view on sex, and it would be unthinkable that when it mentions “brothers and sisters” they are step-brothers etc. (There is a looong discussion to be had on Mary, who isimportant, but essentially all the ever-virgin stuff is more about God’s gracethan the condition of Mary’s hymen).

In Luke 2:19 and 2:51 it says both times that Mary “pondered these things in her heart” and so they key question which is still being fully worked out is “Who is this Jesus?” – If you grew up next to him you might mainly think of him as the Carpenter-guy. I often find it amazing when I see members of my Youth Group or my kids doing great,successful, important things, because I changed my children’s nappies and remember Youth Group kids as gawky teenagers, but Jesus did not fully enter into his ministry until he was about 30 (which is where Mark jumps right in). I shouldn’t be surprised that they do such great things, but as with everybody I and presumably the people of Nazareth, Aunties and Cousins found making the jump hard.

Mary clearly is a part of the early group of followers, which was much bigger than just the 12 apostles (I blame the patriarchy for almost writing out women and the peripheral followers). She is mentioned several times along the way and in passing (possibly if the aged Joseph was dead it was Jesus the firstborn’s responsibility) and is at the foot of the cross and in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Tradition says she went with John (to whom she was commended to at the crucifixion) to Ephesus and I have visited her Shrine there.

On “Who are my mother and brothers” listen to this sermon: https://www.roborough.org.uk/sermonarchive/Ordinary%2010%202015%20Kith%20and%20Kin.mp4

Uncategorized

Why does Jesus say ‘Son your sins are forgiven’ – is he hinting that he was sent to forgive us our sins?

Posted on

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’

MARK 2.9

 As the Scribes recognised “Only God has the power to forgive sins” – so Jesus is effectively hinting about his true nature. When I pronounce the absolution of sins, it is not me doing it,but Christ, who has called me to make this known to people.

Very few people Jesus met at the time truly understood who he truly was, and even then oftengot the wrong end of the stick (Peter would be a good example) and especially what the true meaning and purpose of the Messiah would be – not (as many in Israel believed) a great warrior king from God, but a humble suffering servant of the people.

The OT speaks of the Messiah being both but when you are under Roman rule, it’s easier to hope for the former to free you, rather than to truly ‘free’you from your sin.

Uncategorized

Question: Why does the crucifixion and resurection of Jesus mean that our sins are forgiven – could God not have done that anyway without this happening?

Posted on

FIRST OF A NEW SERIES: Fr Simon tries to explain some common and key questions about the faith in “There is no such thing as a dumb question”

The first thing to say is that there are a lot of different perspectives on this, which is at its heart an almost unfathomable mystery: all theology and faith is grasping the edge of something quite beyond our human understanding, but we can see glimpses, and the best clue we have to getting a grip on what God is, and what he wants, was when he stepped into this world as a human in the form of Jesus Christ.

This mystery is call the atonement and is about the reconciliation of God with us. We broke the system because we do the bad things: ‘sin’. Metaphorically this is described as the Fall in Genesis (eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – not an apple!) but that is just an ancient way of trying to describe why we as humans mess up. God is constantly trying to win us back (sending prophets etc) but we still didn’t listen and went our own way. Finally he comes himself in the form of Jesus (understand that ‘Son of God’ means the same as ‘God’ himself). That was a bit of a threat, so they had him killed. He foretold this in the Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Matthew 21:33–46; Mark 12:1–12; Luke 20:9–19).

The purpose of the Incarnation (God born in human form) anyway was to overcome the pile of mess we made and wipe the slate clean, to make it right. Some fundamentalist churches will tell you its because someone has the take the punishment and so Jesus (the one who never sinned) takes it for us, but that’s a little child-abuse-y. Others might say that God himself beats sin and death by absorbing and overcoming it (not punishment, but a sort of cosmic moral battle), and so the cross is the weight of our sin and the winning is the resurrection. 

We might be so dumb that we need a very clear demonstration that sin and death is overcome. I can tell you that God has forgiven you, but you might say “how can I tell?” My response might therefore be to point to the Cross and the Resurrection which shows that the God who overcomes death demonstrates the reality of wiping the slate clean.  For all of us, fear of death is the most prevailing and universal fear of all: it’s going to happen to all of us and so the Christian promise is that God makes it alright.

Does that mean that if God has sorted it, then I can do just what I want? Murder? Eat Drink & be Merry? We are called to a good life because it is a response to that forgiveness, not because if I am bad I will be cosmically smacked. This is more carrot than stick. The thing is, although my faith in Christ and the power of my Baptism buys me into that victory, I get up the next day and mess up again. I will have to face up to that, like standing outside the headmasters study (which I did a lot of) which I think will probably be worse than any medieval notion of being poked by demons with little pitchforks. Ultimately, I will gain that which Christ won for me: because he loved me so much he was prepared to take on my bad stuff and overcome it for me in that sign of victory – the cross and prove it by the resurrection.

This is not a dumb question, it’s a very fundamental one, and this is not an exhaustive answer, but merely a scratch on the surface.

This video tries to demonstrate this very powerfully..

Uncategorized

Christmas 2018

Posted on

The Parishes of Bickleigh & Shaugh Prior are planning on holding it on Dec 25th this year, if that’s okay with you…

For more information call, text, email, tweet or send a carrier pigeon to
Fr Simon on 07976 802123 | fr.simon@rundell.org.uk | @frsimon
Parish

Cocktails at the Vicarage – Sat 8th September 2018 7pm

Posted on


The closest you have come to a cocktail might have been one of those pre-mixed cans or a large bright-blue thing in a pitcher at Spoons. But we’re going to introduce to you some proper cocktails, some new ones, some classics and some of our favourites, coupled with food to match and to enhance. We hope it will be a fun, informative and above all delicious evening to raise funds for the Friends of S. Mary’s.

From  Martinis and Margaritas to Old Fashioneds, Mohitos, Gimlets and Sparkling Wine cocktails like the LPF, there is something here for all tastes and perhaps an introduction to something new.

All this for just a measly tenner. Spaces are limited, so book your place now. Call Fr Simon on 07976 802123 simon@rundell.org.uk or Lou Rundell on 07971 527734 lou@rundell.org.uk.

Uncategorized

Annual Report 2018

Posted on

The Annual Parochial Church Council Meeting will take place after the 9.30am Team Eucharist at S. Anne, Glenholt PL6 7JA on Sunday 29th April 2018 (approx 10.30am-ish)

Anyone is welcome to attend.

Download: Complete Annual Report 2017 (pdf, 1.5Mb)

Minutes of the 2017 APCM: APCM Minutes 2017 (pdf, 60k)

The reports will not be read at the meeting, but are available above. Questions on any of the reports may be raised from the floor, but only AOB notified to the chair (fr.simon@rundell.org.uk) will be taken.

Uncategorized

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Posted on

Download the Sacrament of Reconciliation

¶ The Gathering

In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Lord Jesus, who came to reconcile sinners,
welcomes all who are penitent. Grace, mercy and peace be with you
and also with you.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1.8,9

The priest and penitent say together

Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness; according to the abundance of your compassion blot out my offences. Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin. Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51.1,2,11

¶ Confession and Counsel

The Lord be in your heart and on your lips
that you may truly and humbly confess your sins.

The penitent makes confession of sins in his or her own words, beginning

Almighty God, long-suffering and of great goodness: I confess to you, I confess with my whole heart my neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments, my wrong doing, thinking, and speaking; the hurts I have done to others, and the good I have left undone.

In particular I confess [since my last confession in … / in this my first confession] …

O God, for these, and all other sins that I cannot now remember, I ask your forgiveness.
Forgive me, for I have sinned against you;
and raise me to newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The priest may give appropriate counsel or guidance and whatever help is necessary to enable the penitent to complete his or her confession. The priest encourages the penitent to make restitution, and may recommend some prayer or action as a sign of repentance and in thanksgiving for reconciliation

¶ Reconciliation

The penitent makes an act of contrition using these or similar words

My God, for love of you
I desire to hate and forsake all sins
by which I have ever displeased you;
and I resolve by the help of your grace
to commit them no more;
and to avoid all opportunities of sin.
Help me to do this,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

¶ Absolution

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive you your offences: and by his authority committed to me, I absolve you from all your sins, in the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

And of your charity, pray for me, a sinner also.

The priest may say

Merciful Lord,
we thank you that you have delivered this your servant from the power of sin and restored him/her to your peace in the fellowship of your Church;
strengthen him/her by your Spirit, that he/she may please you until he/she comes to the fullness of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

God of grace and life, in your love you have given us a place among your people; keep us faithful to our baptism, and prepare us for that glorious day
when the whole creation will be made perfect
in your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

¶ The Lord’s Prayer

The priest and penitent may say the Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

¶ The Dismissal

The priest may say a blessing

May Christ, who out of defeat brings new hope and a new future, fill you with his new life;
and the blessing of God almighty, the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always.
Amen.

(or)

May God, who in Christ has reconciled all things in heaven and earth, grant you grace to walk the path of forgiveness; and the blessing of God almighty,
the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always.
Amen.

The Lord has put away your sins.
Thanks be to God.

Go in peace, and pray for me, a sinner also.

The Penitent may then depart and undertake the penance or thanksgiving suggested to them

Parish

Meditation for Good Friday: the Final Seven Words of Jesus

Posted on

1. “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23: 34) (1:07)

Forgiveness is terribly easy to ask from others, and yet so very hard to give from ourselves. As Our Lord was nailed to the instrument of his passion, he spoke asking the Father’s forgiveness, whilst he freely forgave them himself, for as St. John repeatedly notes: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me”.

Forgiveness is at the heart of the Gospel: at the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, Christ calls for repentance, metanoia to herald the Kingdom of God. His whole ministry is to seek to reconcile God and his creation once more, and the route to that reconciliation is forgiveness: The woman accused of adultery was told “go, and sin no more” (John 8:11), the paralysed man lowered through the roof told that “his sins were forgiven” (Mark 2:5), and the woman who anointed Our Lord’s feet was given the same dispensation (Luke 7:48): “your sins are forgiven”: simple words, such power, such authority.

We pray that we too may be forgiven, for our manifold sins. Forgiveness is part of God’s grace and is freely given, if we but have the courage to ask for it.

We pray that we may also forgive: “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. It is not only those who bear hammer and nails against us whom we need to forgive; but those whose offenses are in comparison, quite small. “How many times should I forgive my brother, Lord? Seven times?” “Not seven, but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).

“They know not what they do” … and neither do we.

(Silence)

2. “I assure you: this day you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:34) (1:14)

The penitent thief is the only person recorded in the Scriptures who speaks directly to Christ, addressing him by his own name. Not Rabbi, not Master, not Lord, but simply and directly: Jesus.

Such honesty was not bourne out of overfamiliarity, or rudeness, but out of a common bond between them: the bond of the condemned cell. Our Lord and these thieves shared an intimacy which we can only hope to aspire to: to be alongside Christ, and more importantly, to have Christ alongside us in our hour of need.

When we glance away from our own crucifixion, we may just be able to glimpse Christ crucified alongside us; suffering as we suffer, suffering greater as he suffers not only our pain and anguish, but the pain, anguish and bitterness of the whole world. And we hope to hear those words, available to all who have the courage to ask of Christ: “You will be with me in paradise”

We pray for the faith to spot Christ alongside us, especially when we are so wrapped up in our own crucifixion to notice His; and we pray that we may have the opportunity, no matter how fleeting or transitory, to experience the intimacy of Christ: to feel his love and concern, to allow his Grace to guide us to our heavenly home.

(Silence)

3. “Woman, behold your son.” (John 19: 26) (1:21)

Theotokos – “God Bearer”: Our Lady carried such responsibility; in her womb, in her upbringing of the Saviour of the World, in her faithful following of her Son’s ministry from that first sign at Cana in Galillee (John 2) to the foot of the Cross and to the Garden early that Sunday. It was a responsibility which would be almost impossible for any human to carry alone, but for God’s grace. The same Grace which removed the stain of Original Sin from Our Lady is the same Grace which redeems us all, and all we have to do is to accept that Grace from God: “be it done unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38)

We give honour to Our Lady because she is a model for us of humankind’s response to God in faith. So often we find our own faith obstructed by practicalities and earthly considerations: other things to do or say and God’s call to us buried amid the hubbub of daily life and work. Our Lady’s response was to say yes to God without thought or consideration or reference to earthly concerns – a miraculous child born of an unmarried girl far away from home. For this faith, Our Lady is rewarded with a further task: as the beloved disciple is commended to her, so we are commended to her care and her intercession, for we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

We pray alongside Our Lady, our adoptive mother to God, asking her intercession for those things in our lives which need the Grace of God to help us through: the sicknesses, the anxieties, the worldly concerns.

We pray that our response may also be “be it done unto me according to thy word”.

(Silence)

4. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27: 46) (1:28)

There is a dark night that the soul must endure, before it reaches it’s goal – to be with God. On that journey as described by St. John of the Cross, there will be times when one might be forgiven for feeling forsaken by God.

Psalm 22, which Our Lord recalls, speaks of desolation and isolation, but if we focus only on the first half of the Psalm, we lose to context of Christ’s quotation: Christ spoke in an age when the Scriptures were identified by their opening lines: we begin with “Our Father…” and we know the rest of the prayer, Our Lord said “Eloi, Eloi…” and the faithful would recall the whole Psalm. The second and longer part of the Psalm speaks of faith and redemption, of Grace and fulfilment.

For each dark night, there is a brilliant day which follows it.

Even with the sins of the world on his back, Our Lord was not deserted by God, for he carried the promise of hope and fulfilment with him.

In our darkest nights, we pray that we too may be able to recall that promise, that redemption, that Grace. We pray that others whom we see ensnared by despair may be able to complete their Psalm, and see the joy which comes in the morning.

We pray for the dawn from on high, to sustain us through our dark night, until at last we achieve our soul’s perfection.

(Silence)

5. “I thirst.” (John 19: 28) (1:35)

We are driven by our own concerns and needs, our self-centeredness and our conceit; yet the call of the Christian is to emulate the selfless love of Our Saviour as he hung on the tree. Christ’s humanity and his divinity are exposed on the cross, and the vulnerability of He who moved over the waters was displayed for all to see.

Christ’s thirst was not only physical, but was a thirst for our redemption; a desire so compelling that he would accept the cup ordained for him by his Father.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6)

What do we thirst for? Our own needs? Our petty desires? Or do we thirst for Christ, as the deer pants for the water (Psalm 42:1).

We pray for those who are persecuted for their faith or their convictions. We pray that we may receive the Grace to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

(Silence)

6. “It is completed.” (John 19: 30) (1:42)

The last words of Christ were not words of resignation or defeat, but a shout of triumph to cut through the pain and desolation. Christ did not whimper “I am finished”, but proclaimed to the dark sky and the shaking earth the news that death had been conquered, Adam’s had been repaid and humankind would be released: “it is completed!”

“Now Lord, you let your servant depart in peace” (Luke 2:29) was Simeon’s prayer, knowing that what was promised to him had been completed. Too often, we are impatient, and look for the quick fix, the easy way out, the short cut, and thus prevent Our Lord from completing his task within us. We are works in progress, drafts on the potter’s wheel; we are shaped and formed by our loving creator and it is only by his act on the cross that we are complete.

We pray for the Grace given freely to Simeon, to accept with faith the promises God makes to us, for the perseverance to see our calling through to its proper conclusion.

(Silence)

7. “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” (Luke 23: 46) (1:49)

With these words, the divine word returns back to the one who sent him. His redeeming work complete, the atonement fulfilled. By pouring himself out for us (Philippians 2:5-11), he shows us the supreme self-sacrificing love for us of the Creator. With these final words he died, and the servant suffered for the last time.

What follows is silence.

(Silence)

At the end of our lives, it will only be by God’s Grace that we can commend our souls to him. It is a Grace freely given, fully won, completely atoned.

It is our salvation which calls us from the Cross.

(Silence)