All over the world, and at St Cyprian’s, Christians gathered earlier this month to begin celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus. The story of Easter is the greatest, and most beautiful story that has ever been told, and it is true. To claim that the story is true will be contentious in the eyes of many but if that fundamental mystery of our faith is not true there is no reason for the existence of the Church.
In the world of Jesus, at least in the Jewish world, many different groups used the language of resurrection from the dead but there was little agreement as to what resurrection actually meant. What agreement there was saw resurrection as a collective phenomenon, involving the whole people of God, when God would finally ‘put the world to rights’, but nobody expected to encounter an individual who had risen from the dead in their own time. We see that element of surprise at work in the gospel narrative. The women who discover the empty tomb cannot take in the announcement that ‘He is risen’ and the eleven apostles cannot believe what the women told them.
It is love that believes the Gospel and the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles tell us that the first witnesses of the resurrection were those who loved Jesus.
Jesus’s new form of existence was not accessible to Jesus’ opponents in the Council, or to Pontius Pilate but the proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection had a power and conviction that enabled those who heard their witness to discover the risen Jesus for themselves, not just to believe that he had risen from the dead, but to know him in his new state. Once they discovered that Jesus was alive, the story of his Passion and death was transformed.
Outwardly the story was a tragedy – a man who had done nothing but good but was considered a danger to religious interests had been killed by the defenders of those interests, but now the inward dimension of the story was revealed. Jesus’ suffering and death was no longer a tragedy, a story of what happened to him, but a story of love, love freely given so that through his self-sacrifice the world might be restored to its original beauty, sins forgiven, and a new creation begun.
The resurrection of Jesus then is the beginning of a new world, an event before which ‘The Big Bang’ looks insignificant, a world whose existence is driven by the love revealed in the Cross of Christ.
After his resurrection Jesus asks Peter three times, ‘Do you love me’? This is a challenge to Peter to say which world he desires to be in, the old world represented by the hostile opponents of Jesus, or the new world defined by sacrificial love freely given by Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life. The same question is asked of us this Easter, ‘Do you love me’? If we love Him, we will know him, and He will make His home within us.
Great News! Our very own Kyle Sawhamey, the newly appointed treasurer is to be confirmed! The service will take place at St Cyprian’s on Saturday 24th April at 12noon the Right Reverend Michael Colclough will officiate and preside. It has been wonderful to welcome. Kyle into our community and his contribution to our life is so appreciated. Please remember him in your prayers.
“Cultural Recovery Fund grant” We want to share with you some good news. We recently applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant under their “Cultural Recovery Fund”, which is to support heritage organisations (including churches and cathedrals) with costs relating to reopening as the pandemic recedes. The good news is that many cathedrals and churches were successful in bidding for this Fund. And the even better news is that St Cyprian’s was one of them. We have been awarded £27,000 for costs this year.
We have yet to receive our formal grant letter, so we don’t know yet precisely which costs we can set this against. It will partly help us make up for the continuing loss of income from lettings (the absence of the London City Korean Church, the lack of lettings for concerts and rehearsals). It will partly go towards costs relating to reopening, towards maintenance costs, and to making our building more suitable for community groups to use: thus we hope to cover the cost of a new office computer, a replacement boiler for the crypt heating system, cleaning out the guttering, and doing a professional deep clean of the church itself.
We also intend to put some of the money towards preliminary work necessary to prepare for designing and installing a disabled toilet (and a kitchenette facility alongside it) at the liturgical west end of the church.
We will also put some money towards the cost of some events in the summer to help mark our “reopening”, and to encourage local people to come and see what we offer (though we are not allowed to use it for directly evangelistic purposes). We will say more about all this as plans fall into place.
This grant will certainly help our financial position this year. But some of it will go on work we would not otherwise do; the money does not all go to rebuilding our reserves following the loss we made during 2020. So we will go on asking for members of the congregation and other supporters to continue, please, with the very generous giving that we have seen in the last year, to enable us to continue and build up our ministry this year and for the future.”
Mid-week Eucharist I had hoped to reinstate the midweek Low Mass, but honestly, I just can’t manage Thursday. From the 28th April I will say Mass at 1:00pm, if that proves to be unsatisfactory I’ll have a rethink.
Help please! If you are able to support us financially this would be much appreciated. You can give via this link to our ‘give a little’ donation site. If you have online banking you can transfer money via the Church bank account, the details of our bank account are NatWest plc., Baker Street Branch. Sort Code: 56-00-14. Account: St Cyprian’s Parochial Council. Account Number: 12138126.
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Some words of Saint Mother Teresa: ‘When you look at a crucifix you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Eucharist you understand how much Jesus loves you now!’