Greetings my friends; it’s a glorious spring day as I write and we enter our Lord’s Passion.
April brings with it the culmination of Lent as we move into our Lord’s Passion, death and resurrection. This is a wonderful time to enter more fully into the journey of our Lord Jesus and at St Cyprian’s we are able in our liturgy to follow this more closely.
We start on Palm Sunday (9th April) as we recall out Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where crowds who greeted him as the Son of David, and shouted their Hosannas, met him.
Then on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we shall continue the journey through Holy Week with a Mass and simple address at 6pm.
Maundy Thursday we gather for our Last Supper Mass at 7.30pm, which will include the foot washing, the ceremonial stripping of the altars and concludes with the Blessed Sacrament being carried in procession to the Lady Chapel where a watch will be kept until 10.30 pm.
Good Friday will see us gather for Morning Prayer at 8am after which we will join other Christians for a march of witness at St John’s Wood Church at 9am. Our Good Friday liturgy begins at 12 noon. This is a most holy day of obligation when all Christians ought to gather at the foot of our Lord’s Cross. In the evening we will process the Stations of the Cross at 7pm.
We shall celebrate Easter with the lighting of the Easter Fire and the renewal of our Baptismal vows on Easter Sunday at 10.30. Easter eggs will be distributed!
Now, you may wonder how our new working arrangements are working out? The only definite thing is that I make mistakes and you are, by-and-large, accommodating. Fr Gerald and I meet with the Archdeacon next week, hopefully to finalise details.
A lot has been said of late about our identity as a parish. What are we aiming at; what is our Mission; who has any vision?
If we want to be slick and come up with easy answers we might say: ‘We are a Parish called by God to be a growing family of Christians who serve Jesus Christ by demonstrating God’s love through our daily lives, service, and worship.’
Wonderful, but how do we even start? It was A W Tozer the American author who once said, “The one who would truly KNOW God, must give time to God."
He went on to say, "Gathering together for worship has nothing to do with pleasing us but everything to do with pleasing God." So I suspect the question ought to be, ‘what are we up to at St Cyprian’s?’
We need to put ourselves in the mindset of visitors. Some of the things that people often consider when visiting a church are “What are the people like?” and “Will someone get upset if I sit in a specific spot?” and “do you see what that Vicar has done now” Well, one thing that we should consider asking ourselves, out of respect for those visitors, is “Is our church being Jesus?”
Do we go out of our way to make other people feel comfortable at St. Cyprian’s or do we stick to our Sunday morning routines and get upset when someone sits in what’s thought to be our seat? Do we extend that friendly hand or do we only reach out to put money in the offering plate?
Do we only come to church on Sunday morning to receive Communion or do we come to be a part of the wider communion that is the fellowship of the entire body of Christ?
Do we live the Christian life that Christ has called us to? Do we want to go against the norm and be a church that is still growing. The best way to do that is to be the best Christians we can possibly be; to be that helping/friendly hand.
To be that warm, caring person when it’s needed. To be that welcoming smile when someone walks through the doors, to welcome anyone and everyone into the body of Christ.
The real question is, ‘is it the building that needs refurbishing or us?
Jesus says this, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” We are not here to judge, but to love. So let’s love, together, as one body of Christ.
We are already an incredibly welcoming church but let’s move a stage on and be invitational, let’s get out into the highways and byways and compel them, by our love for their souls, to join us.
May I wish you a blessed and Holy Passiontide and Easter.
Sunday 9th April 1030hrs, Palm Sunday Mass. We begin our journey through Holy Week, through Our Lord’s passion and death.
Mon – Wed Holy Week Mass 6pm with address.
Thursday 13th April 7.30pm. Maundy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper with feet washing and watch until 10.30pm.
Friday 14th April Morning Prayer 8am. Good Friday liturgy 12 noon. Stations of the Cross 7pm.
Sunday 16th April Easter Day 1030hrs. We celebrate the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!