Sunday, 6 July 2008

XIV Sunday in Ordinary Time

Good crowd for early Mass celebrated by Fr Mark. As usual this was followed by Lauds. Fr Martin Kelly an NHS Chaplain who is also a regular worshipper in our parish family joined us for the Sung Mass. Last Thursday was the 25th anniversary since his ordination to the diaconate. To give thanks to God for this wonderful occasion he was the deacon for the High Mass. Fr Mark celebrated and preached about the need of being thankful to God during our prayers. After Mass Fr Martin’s anniversary was marked by wine and nibbles. We are indeed thankful to God for Fr Martin’s ministry and how he shares that ministry with us also. We look forward to share with him more thanksgiving next year as he celebrates the 25th from his priesthood.
After both celebrations several people expressed their concerns about what is going on in General Synod. It is heartbreaking for many to see some members of the Church urging Synod to break all promises and guarantees given to us who hold the faith once delivered to the saints. Hearing Saturday’s debates in Synod however there seems to be many that want to make sure that there is proper provision for us. One has to remember that apart from the over 1300 clergy who signed the letter and the 8500 women who signed the petition there are many, many more who will be unchurched if there is no proper provision. What does that say about the advocates of further innovations within the Church? If Synod is happy to establish once and for all the admittance of women to Holy Orders, and it clearly is, they must make sure for proper space for us who reject this espousal to the spirit of this passing age. As for me I am a Christian first and a member of the Church of England afterwards. If the Church of England will not allow many to follow in the footsteps of Christ, how can it claim that it is still a Church? If 400 people in York think that they can change the doctrine by a show of hands without consulting the wider Church, of which we are part, and the practice and faith of the Church down the ages, then is it honest to remain in full communion with that body? By ignoring what the Orthodox and Roman Churches are saying and walking down this path alone is not that a clear indication of arrogance, and is that a quality of the Church let alone a fruit of the Spirit? At this time I share and join in the anxiety of so many but urge one and all to join spiritually with Mary and the disciples in the Upper Room, united in prayer, as we wait to see what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
It is with these thoughts in mind that I went down to hospital for the visit. My visit was longer that usual as apart from many patients I had the joy to share time with some of the staff. One of the patients, an elderly lady, was an actor in her younger days. She is well read, her horizons are broad and is well informed about many topics, it is wonderful to speak with her. She loves the Book of Common Prayer. Before I left her she asked me to read her Psalm 121 for her and her daughter that was present. She handed me her Bible (KJV of course) and held my hand. As I read the psalm I could see those words in the context of the present situation of the Church of England and indeed they were a blessing, for her, her daughter and to me. As we pray for the big day tomorrow in Synod here are the wonderful words, also in thanksgiving for this lady who ministered to me so profoundly this afternoon:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve
thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth,
and even for evermore.

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