Monday, 30 March 2020

IN THE PINK Lent 5 2020


                                                                                                                Issue 529

Dear friends


COVID-19
A statement from the Diocese of London

The Church continues to be alive and active, but in London our buildings must close.

London is seeing a huge increase in the number of people falling sick with COVID-19. We must physically distance ourselves from one another and prevent the spread of infection in order to save lives.

Therefore, as well as public worship being suspended, all church buildings in the Diocese of London are now closed.
Our worship of God and our care for each other continue but cannot be done in our buildings. Please look at this blog or the website for details of how to join others online for prayer, study, worship and community life.

In an emergency, telephone Fr Henry on 07399540530, or email him frhenry@yahoo.co.uk.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength… Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

To protect the vulnerable amongst us, please do not leave your home except for essential trips.


You can watch our service on YouTube and read the sermon here.

The Fifth Sunday of Lent
St Mary Magdalene’s Sunday 29th March.
For technical reasons this service is in two parts.


SERMON FOR 5TH SUNDAY IN LENT 2020
Another really long Gospel reading today, but it’s long because we need to get the whole story. Because this is the beginning of the end. Today, we are beginning the road that leads to Good Friday. That’s why, in the old days, this was called Passion Sunday, because now our commemoration of Jesus’s Passion is just round the corner, we’re not just in the wilderness, but we’re clearly heading somewhere, which is to Jerusalem, and to the cross.

And the raising of Lazarus, which we read about today, is the prelude to the Passion. The raising of Lazarus was the last straw for the Temple authorities, it meant that they had to do something about Jesus, because it made a big impression. As it says in the last line of our reading, “Many of the Judean people who had come with Mary, and who had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.” That was really dangerous for the authorities. This was happening on the doorstep, in Bethany, which is only a couple of miles from Jerusalem, so people no doubt went streaming back to the city telling the tale, of how Jesus was doing the mighty works of God. That was a real threat to the powers-that-be, to the Jewish elite who ran the Temple and whose wealth and privilege was bound up with it, and who backed the monarchy of King Herod. Because if there was a major disturbance, if things got out of control, and Herod and the authorities lost their grip, then the Romans would come down on them like a ton of bricks. The Judean elite knew very well that they owed their position of power, wealth and privilege to the compliance of Rome. Even if they thought they were completely entitled, or indeed, divinely appointed, to be in charge, they knew in reality that they were there at the whim of Rome. The military power of the Empire was overwhelming, and they were part of the Roman Province of Syria, but it suited the Romans to rule through local clients, the thoroughly unlikeable Herod family, who were closely linked by marriage to the priestly aristocracy who ran the Temple, but that was just a convenience for Rome, and the moment it ceased to be convenient, when it ceased to be an efficient and effective regime, then Rome could change it all. That was, in fact, what happened in AD70, when a major Jewish revolt (all over the Roman Empire) resulted in the destruction of the Temple and all autonomous institutions, and direct rule by the Empire. The trouble with Jesus was that he attracted the sort of religious nationalists and revolutionary enthusiasts who any foreign occupier would be wary of, and so he was obviously a danger to the status quo. So, when word started to spread that he had actually raised a man from the dead just down the road, in Bethany, the local authorities took steps, and resolved to have him killed. 
   
And so, the raising of Lazarus is the beginning of the end, because this is what determines the authorities to have Jesus executed. But it doesn’t happen straight away; because Jesus doesn’t go into the city, because it isn’t the right time. Lazarus was raised in the winter, and Jesus then went and spent time in Ephraim before heading back to Bethany in the spring, just before the Passover. The Passover was the time it had to be.

As you know, St John tells us in his Gospel about a series of signs that Jesus did, which should have alerted people to who he was, and this, the raising of Lazarus, is the last, the seventh, the culminating sign. We are told twice that Jesus was “greatly disturbed” as he talked to the sisters Mary and Martha, and that’s not just because Lazarus was his friend, and he feels their pain, but because he’s in pain that these closest friends of his have still not understood the message of the signs. He’s hurt and disappointed that they don’t see the truth. That explains the stagey speech he makes outside the tomb, it’s all about a culminating sign for those who should have seen already. Because Martha has bitterly said to him that she understands, as a good Pharisee, that Lazarus will rise again at the general resurrection, at the end of the world, but that doesn’t answer her pain now. Jesus has to show her that resurrection is more than just a distant hope for the future. Resurrection is life transformed here and now. Death is not the end, and it is faith in Jesus Christ that is the gate to this new life. “Yes, Lord, I believe,” says Martha, and goes to fetch her sister. Jesus then says to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” which is an extraordinary thing to say when she’s mourning her dead brother, but then he calls that brother out of the tomb; death is conquered. We see the reality of God in Jesus Christ. And the glory of God is revealed precisely in the conquest of death. That is how it will be on the Cross, though in even more terrible relief. He is with us in our pain and suffering. He is with us in our fear. He is with us in our bitter isolation. He has, after all, been there before us. And he shows us the glory of God. In his life and his words he shows us what God is like, and shows us how to live; he shows us what love truly means, and how to live in that love, bound up in the love of God, through faith in Jesus Christ who has conquered death.   


Father Henry Everett’s blog


Thursday, 26 March 2020

IN THE PINK Lent 4 2020


                                                        Issue 528
Dear friends

COVID-19
A statement from the Diocese of London

The Church continues to be alive and active, but in London our buildings must close.

London is seeing a huge increase in the number of people falling sick with COVID-19. We must physically distance ourselves from one another and prevent the spread of infection in order to save lives.

Therefore, as well as public worship being suspended, all church buildings in the Diocese of London are now closed.
Our worship of God and our care for each other continue but cannot be done in our buildings. Please look at this blog or the website for details of how to join others online for prayer, study, worship and community life.

In an emergency, telephone Fr Henry on 07399540530, or email him frhenry@yahoo.co.uk.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength… Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

To protect the vulnerable amongst us, please do not leave your home except for essential trips.


You can watch our services on YouTube and read the sermons here.

The Fourth Sunday of Lent
St Mary Magdalene’s Sunday 22nd March.

Stations of the Cross
St Mary Magdalene’s Tuesday 24th March.

Service of the Annunciation
St Mary Magdalene’s Wednesday 25th March.


Sermon - Fourth Sunday of Lent
 Friends, we worship today in the strangest of circumstances. The Church down the ages has had to contend with many complex and unhelpful situations, not least in times of war and persecution, but always in the past it has been the natural instinct of Christians to come together for worship and support. As we now know, that will have been a very unsafe thing to do in times of plague, but people did it, and no doubt benefited from the spiritual and emotional support while they did not know they were putting themselves and their fellows at risk. Today, with our knowledge of how diseases spread, we cannot behave in that way, and so we are each in our own compartment, trying as far as possible to avoid interaction with others apart from those we live with.

It is particularly perverse that our first Sunday of not meeting for worship should be today, which we in England keep as Mothering Sunday, because all around us mothers who would normally meet their children and grandchildren today are in isolation, and the restaurants to which dutiful sons might take their mothers are closed. At least the delivery services are busy taking bouquets around the country. Historically, Mothering Sunday probably derives from an English custom allowing indentured servants to return home to visit their mothers (and their mother church) on this Sunday, mid-Lent Sunday, and that actually points out to us that in that period (we’re talking late medieval, early modern, so sixteenth to eighteenth centuries) there were enormous numbers of people who didn’t routinely see their mothers for months at a time. The visit to mother today was the exception to the rule. That, in those days before universal literacy, before the postal service, let alone telephones and everything that has come since, meant that many people did live isolated from their families, and from those they loved. And they coped. They managed. It will take some adjustment, but we can cope too, and we have any number of means of keeping in touch.

Today’s Gospel gives us a strong hint as to how we can cope. Jesus, dying on the cross, commends his mother and the beloved disciple to each other’s care. They are both members of the fledgling Christian family, but they’re not related. Nevertheless they are committed to each other. They each have particular roles to play, but they are bound together at the foot of the cross. It’s a scene that we see above or behind the altar in many churches, like this one, and people sometimes complain that the perspective isn’t right, that the figures are too big, or the cross too small, but that’s a clue that what we see is not actually meant as a realistic illustration.

Of course they weren’t as close to the cross as that. Of course they couldn’t have reached out to him. They were probably several metres away, on the side of the road beside which the crosses stood. It’s not realistic; it’s showing us what’s important. Jesus on the cross, as alone as he could possibly be, suffering for us, thinking of the wellbeing of his mother and his friend. It’s the cross that links them together. The cross is what links us all together. Jesus takes our shared humanity to the altar of the cross, suffering and dying for us, and in his last moments commends his people to each other. Mary and the beloved disciple have lost everything, and yet they are forever bound together by what has happened, and feel not despair, but common purpose. They know that they are part of what is now his Body, the Church, that must go on doing his work on earth. The cross binds them, as it binds us, into a fellowship that endures, a fellowship sustained by trust and love and prayer, sustained by the Spirit that God has given to all who trust in him. So, as we stand at the foot of the cross, let us remember that we are one in the Spirit.
    

Sermon - Service for the Feast of the Annunciation

The Annunciation to Mary is, necessarily, a mysterious event, but it’s at the heart of our faith. The messenger of God visits the young girl who is to bear God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who will free us from sin and death, and announces to her that this will happen. Strictly speaking, the angel does just that, he announces what will happen, but the Church has always taken this as marking the time when it did happen. Notice, everything the angel says is in the future tense, “you will conceive”, “you will name him Jesus”, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you”, “the child…will be holy”, “he will be called Son of God”. So it hasn’t happened at that moment. It really is just an announcement. But then Mary says, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” She says “yes” and then it happens. Because God operates by consent. Mary co-operates with the divine plan.

So, it’s not like classical mythology at all, contrary to what some people say. You’ll hear people say that it’s just like the Greeks, old Zeus having his wicked way with any number of mortal women, but it isn’t. Zeus deceives or rapes all his partners; they are all taken by force or guile, there is no consent. That’s completely different from what we have here, where Mary collaborates in God’s saving plan.

But of course it is a strange scene, and it’s been rendered very strangely by artists down the centuries. If you think about paintings of the Annunciation, I suspect that you may struggle to remember any one in particular, which is partly because they tend to be much of a muchness, but also because they aren’t terribly satisfying, because the conventions of the scene are quite hard to make interesting. Essentially, you have just the two figures, (normally the angel is on the left as we look) and often the angel kneels and Mary sits, and the two are very clearly separate from each other. Usually, the angel gestures in some way, but the figures remain quite separate. It’s hard to make that work as a composition. Actually we have it in the nave ceiling here at St Mary Mags, where the two are as far apart as any two of the saints, so most people don’t notice that it’s there.

But that separateness is actually quite interesting; one of the best examples is on the Van Eycks’ great Ghent altarpiece, which Fiona and I were supposed to be going to see in its newly-restored state next month; so, when the altarpiece is closed, (as it usually was when it was created six hundred years ago) instead of the famous scene of the adoration of the Mystic Lamb, which is on the front, you see the Annunciation, which is on the back. There, Mary and the angel are not just on separate panels, but actually have two more panels between them, simply depicting the room in which the action takes place, and the view through the window, which is of fifteenth century Ghent, of course. If you look at the picture, which if I was clever I could show you now, but you’ll just have to Google it, if you look at the picture you’ll see that they are rigorously maintaining their social distancing. They’re certainly two metres apart. 

Actually, it’s psychologically very truthful, because Mary’s experience was a deeply solitary one. However she experienced the message from God (and nothing in the Bible says the angel was a young person with long hair and multi-coloured wings) it must have been profoundly disturbing, and an experience that must have made her feel apart from other people. She was about to become illicitly pregnant when only a young teenager, which was going to put her under immense social pressure. All her relationships were going to be strained and tested; she might go and see her much older cousin Elizabeth for support (and to stay away from the neighbours) but this was essentially something she had to deal with on her own. She had a message from God, but she was alone in the room. And frankly, knowing that she had received a message from God set her apart from her neighbours from the start. So we have an example of being alone and yet being with God, of profound separateness, and yet confident trust in God. Because the thing that sings out from the Gospel account is Mary’s absolute trust in God. She trusts God, and she becomes his co-worker in the salvation of humankind. She is frightened (in many paintings she is recoiling) and she is alone, but she trusts God. So she’s a pretty good role model for all of us just now. 
      

Father Henry Everett’s blog


Sunday, 15 March 2020

IN THE PINK Lent 3 2020


               Issue 527
Virus Precautions
Further to last week’s notice - please do not kneel at the altar (the rail itself can be a reservoir for the virus). Blessings will be given without touching.

Diocesan Lent Appeal
We shall be having retiring collections this Sunday and next for the Diocesan Lent Appeal, which is aiming to buy 4-w-d vehicles for our partner dioceses in Angola and Mozambique, which have been badly affected by floods in recent years. Please give generously.

Stations of the Cross
As usual, we have stations of the Cross during Lent. The first time will be at St Mary Magdalene’s at 6.30pm on Tuesday 24th March

St Peter’s Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting at St Peter’s will be after church on Sunday 29th March. This is when we elect the Parochial Church Council, for which nomination lists are at the back of church. Please make sure people are nominated. Annual reports are available for inspection.

AllSing! Choir Concert
The AllSing! Harrow Road Community Choir are holding a concert at the Wigmore Hall to celebrate their 10th anniversary. The concert is free and is at 1pm on Saturday 21st March, at the Wigmore Hall, 36 Wigmore Street, W1

Book Club
The book club will meet next on Wednesday 22nd April, at 7.30pm in the Meeting Room at St Peter’s. Our book is “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Grand Junction Programme
Do take a copy of this quarter’s Grand Junction programme of events and activities.

Volunteers at Grand Junction
Grand Junction has lots of opportunities for volunteers. Do look at the website, or contact Sara: volunteering@grandjunction.org.uk
They are especially keen to recruit people to welcome people to the building.

Help the Organ
The organ at St Peter’s needs your help, having suffered damage from liquid entering some pipes. We need to spend £1150 on getting the work done. Please give your donations to Fr Henry or Richard.

Dates for the Diary

March

16th School Mass 9.10 SMM

17th Eucharist 10am St Peter’s

18th Mass 8.30am SMM

19th Tea and Toast

21st Lunch Club

22nd Mothering Sunday

23rd School Mass 9.10 SMM

24th Eucharist 10am St Peter’s
Stations of the Cross 6.30pm SMM

25th Mass 8.30am SMM
Women’s Group 7pm
Meeting Room

26th Tea and Toast

28th Lunch Club

Vicar:
Fr Henry Everett
The Vicarage,
Rowington Close W2 5TF.
Tel 7289 1818

Honorary Curate:
Fr. Frank Ward
Tel 8575 5515.

Organist
James Paget

Parish Office:
St. Peter’s House.
7289 2011.

Churchwardens
St. Peter’s

Jacqui Haynes
07377513174
Judith Silk
07825147006

St. Mary Magdalene’s

Lesley Chakravorty
07772677336
Virginia Ashton
020 7229 2577

Safeguarding Officers
Lorraine Singh (St.Peter’s)
Nicky Chakravorty (SMM)

SUNDAY SERVICES
9.30 St.Mary Magdalene
11.00 St.Peter


Father Henry Everett’s blog


Sunday, 1 March 2020

IN THE PINK Lent 1 2020


Issue 525
Music Society AGM and Concert
The St Mary Magdalene Music Society AGM is at 6pm on Thursday 5th March at Sussex House, 68 Cadogan Square. At 7pm follows the first concert of the year, “Victorian Voices” in the Ballroom. Do take a free ticket.

Women’s World Day of Prayer
Friday 6th March at St Luke’s, Fernhead Road. Services at 11pm and 8pm. Bring and share food. It is to be stressed that this service is open to all, though devised and led by women.

“Congregation” Exhibition
The Architecture Foundation are staging an exhibition of new sacred architecture in the Undercroft of St Mary Mags. Free. Open daily from 22nd February to 7th March. 10 – 5pm Monday to Saturday, 11 – 3pm on Sundays.

Lenten Quiet Day
We are organising an ecumenical Lent Quiet Day. This will be on Saturday 14th March from 10.45 to 2pm. The conductor will be Fr Neil Bunker. It will be held at Christchurch, Brondesbury, on Willesden Lane. No charge but a contribution of £3 per head would be welcome.

Book Club
The book club will meet next on Wednesday 22nd April, at 7.30pm in the Meeting Room at St Peter’s. Our book is “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

St Peter’s PCC
The March meeting of St Peter’s PCC will be at 7pm on Wednesday 11th March, in the Meeting Room.

Stations of the Cross
As usual, we have stations of the Cross during Lent. The first time will be at St Mary Magdalene’s at 6.30pm on Tuesday 10th March

Grand Junction Programme
Do take a copy of this quarter’s Grand Junction programme of events and activities.

Volunteers at Grand Junction
Grand Junction has lots of opportunities for volunteers. Do look at the website, or contact Sara: volunteering@grandjunction.org.uk
They are especially keen to recruit people to welcome people to the building.

Help the Organ
The organ at St Peter’s needs your help, having suffered damage from liquid entering some pipes. We need to spend £1150 on getting the work done. Please give your donations to Fr Henry or Richard.

Dates for the Diary

March

3rd Eucharist 10am St Peter’s

4th Mass 8.30am SMM

5th Tea and Toast
Music Society AGM

6th World Day of Prayer St Luke’s

7th Lunch Club

10th Eucharist 10am St Peter’s
Stations of the Cross 6.30pm SMM

11th Mass 8.30am SMM
St Peter’s PCC Meeting 7pm
Meeting Room

12th Tea and Toast

14th Lunch Club
Quiet Day 10.45 Christ Church, Brondesbury

Vicar:
Fr Henry Everett
The Vicarage,
Rowington Close W2 5TF.
Tel 7289 1818

Honorary Curate:
Fr. Frank Ward
Tel 8575 5515.

Organist
James Paget

Parish Office:
St. Peter’s House.
7289 2011.

Churchwardens
St. Peter’s

Jacqui Haynes
07377513174
Judith Silk
07825147006

St. Mary Magdalene’s

Lesley Chakravorty
07772677336
Virginia Ashton
020 7229 2577

Safeguarding Officers
Lorraine Singh (St.Peter’s)
Nicky Chakravorty (SMM)

SUNDAY SERVICES
9.30 St.Mary Magdalene
11.00 St.Peter


Father Henry Everett’s blog