Is it a sign of my great years or have you noticed how quickly children grow up these days? Could the Jesus we know in the manger really be the same Jesus we know as a thirty something adult at the cross?
What about the Jesus in Luke’s Gospel chapter 2 who is about to be a teenager? Those of you who live or have lived around teenagers will probably find this twelve-year-olds attitude and antics uncomfortably familiar.
He doesn’t seem to worry about his parents’ feelings and anxieties, absorbed instead in his own agenda. And yet, he’s mostly obedient, a good son. We think of Jesus as a special case. We tend to focus on his divine aspects and overlook the human ones.
Yet every child arrives with his or her own personality. In the end, most children are a bit of a mystery. We wonder where they get that quirky sense of humour or those interests that are so unlike any others in the family. If we’re honest, most of us have moments (maybe quite a lot of them!) when we wish children would just conform, just be the people we want them to be.
The relationship that Mary and Joseph had with Jesus was no different. We might protest, “But Mary and Joseph knew that he was special!” yet every parent feels exactly the same way; this child is born for greatness. Our children still break our hearts in so many different ways, even as they’re bringing us joy.
We can take great comfort from the words of chapter two in Luke’s Gospel. God comes to be with us in human form and not just grown-up, self-sufficient. God becomes the most vulnerable of creatures, a baby, and then grows into the second-most vulnerable, a teenager. Hear this good news again: God comes to be with us in all of our brokenness. God loves us in spite of and because of our brokenness. God takes on our brokenness and transforms it with the power of love.
It’s fun to read Luke’s account of the Christmas story and Jesus’ early years during these summer months. Remember, Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.
We too need to be increasing in wisdom as we increase in our years. Read your Bible. It doesn’t matter where or when you start – Just Start. Say your prayers, maybe just silent prayers in your heart. Be at Mass, not just when there’s nothing else going on or when there’s no guests for lunch, bring your guests or tell them to arrive laterJ.
August is the month where Mary features more prominently than in some other months. On the 15th we celebrate the Assumption of Blessed Mary.
Within Anglican doctrine the Assumption of Mary is regarded as an ‘adiaphora’ ("a thing indifferent") rather than dogma as it is not directly mentioned in the canon of Sacred Scripture or the first five Ecumenical Councils. Even so, we observe 15 August as a holy day in honour of Mary.
In many churches of the Anglican Communion it is observed as the feast day of the Assumption. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) agreed statement on the Virgin Mary assigns a place for both the Dormition and the Assumption in Anglican devotion.
To celebrate on the 15th we are invited to join our neighbours at All Saints Margaret St for a High Mass, followed by a procession of witness along Oxford St, accompanied by a brass band. I hope that St Cyprian’s will be represented. The Mass starts at 6.30pm. At St Cyprian’s we shall observe this feast day on the following Sunday.
Also in August we celebrate the Feast of Transfiguration, falling this year on a Sunday, the 6th. This is a most important feast. Perhaps it seems somewhat esoteric or perhaps a bit too theological? On this Feast Day we are invited to consider whether the truth it reveals is being embraced and experienced in our own daily lives. It is not meant only for theologians to speculate over- or for mystics alone to encounter. We are all invited into the experience. The path up that mountain proceeds through prayer and encounter. On that Mountain, Jesus revealed before mortal eyes the Transcendent Truth of who He is - and who Peter, James and John - and each one of us - will become in Him. They were invited to exercise their freedom and embrace the path that He had prepared. So are we, right now.
During August our choir will take a break and we shall be left to be the choir! We tried it last Sunday to great effect, though we look forward to the return of our choir.
PLEASE WILL YOU HELP The success of the T S Eliot Day reinforced our understanding for the need of a ‘loop’ hearing system to enable those who have hearing difficulties to better hear what is being said. It is surely very frustrating not to be able to hear what people are saying? The arguments against this being installed are that the cost would be prohibitive. Various figures have been bandied about ranging from £10,000 to £18,000, I was told at the weekend!
This is not true! I received a quote recently for just over £3,000 and this would include not just the provision of the ‘loop’ but also two very discreet, but powerful speakers, positioned out of sight to the congregation on the pulpit sounding board. The system would be wireless, with the exception of course of the ‘loop’ and speech would be transmitted by clip on wireless microphones.
To support this I would remind us all that not having a ‘loop’ puts us in breach of the Equality Act 2010, which makes it an offence to discriminate against persons who have a disability.
We have already received one offer of financial assistance, would anyone else be prepared, please, to help in this most worthy and necessary project? PLEASE?
At present I am in the process of organising a Confirmation Service during October. If you have not been confirmed or know of anyone who wishes to/or needs to be confirmed please let me know?
I hope you have managed to have or are having a holiday; they are most important. St Paul is constantly referring to ‘Times of refreshment’.