From the vicar
A few weeks ago I suggested during a sermon that the congregation might
benefit from re-reading the letters to the seven churches in the Book of
Revelation (Chapters 2 and 3). Although there is much in the letters which may
sound strange to the modern reader they provide a wealth of information about
the life of the church in the places to which they refer. It is possible to
discover something of the strengths and weaknesses of those congregations and
from that gain insights into both the state of the church in our day and our
own spiritual lives. The letters have a prophetic character to them which may
apply to any congregation at any point in history. They re-pay a prayerful
reading, especially as Lent begins and we are invited to reflect upon our lives
and seek a restoration of our relationship with God.
One of the most well-known passages from the letters to the seven
churches is addressed to Ephesus.
‘Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee,
because thou hast left thy first love.’ (2: 1-7).
It is of great spiritual benefit to apply this passage to ourselves and
to attempt to rediscover the driving force behind our faith and renew the love
which we have for our Lord. Love may mature with age, but it may also grow cold
or be replaced by mere sentiment.
An analogy may help. If you use computers, or indeed one of the many
things that are computerised, you may be familiar with the practice of
re-setting a device which has become slow or is not working properly. Devices
often work slowly when the available memory is reduced because of significant use
over a long period. They may also cease to work because of changes that have
been made or new programmes which have been added. Returning the device to its
factory setting, whilst not always achieving the desired result, is one way of
restoring the original functions.
If you are feeling tired after many years labouring in the Lord’s
vineyard then take some time this Lent to read one of the gospels. What was it
that attracted you to Jesus all those years ago and why did you decide to
follow him? Ask that you might be given once again some of the enthusiasm of
If you are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems facing the
church and the world and no longer know which way to turn, ask for a clearer
vision so that you can see and understand what it is you should be doing and
which things you should be praying about. This should turn a seemingly endless
list into a very short, but manageable one. This should enable you to hear God
speaking more clearly and to obey his will more effectively.
If you are distressed by change and decay, reflect on the relative simplicity
of the gospel message and the life of the early church. Note all those things
which have not changed because they are at the heart of our Lord’s teaching.
Discover afresh the centrality of the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, the
compassion of our Lord and his obedience to the will of the Father. If you
strip away all the accretions you will find that the foundations of faith are
still the same.
This Lent we are all invited to start again. All we may need to do is to
seek forgiveness and put the past behind us, but then making our confession is
relatively easy. The harder part is to return to our first love – so much has
happened since – and to know once again the excitement and joy of the Lord’s
presence. Put in the effort because he needs you to be with him on the journey
that lies ahead.
Pray for our ecumenical
partners in Bushey and Oxhey
From the diary…
with imposition of ashes (modern rite)
with imposition of ashes (traditional
rite with hymns)
Stations of the
Lent at 12 noon
7th March, 11.00am Service
at Heath House
8th March, 8.00pm Parochial
Church Council in the Parish Hall
14th March Parish
visit by the Bishop of Hertford
7.00pm Mass (Celebrant: Fr. Andrew)
7.45pm Meeting with the PCC
24th March, 7.00pm Mass
for the Annunciation of Our Lord
Tuesday 28th March, 8.00pm
Holy Hour for Lent with exposition of the Blessed
From the Registers –
February Susan Honour
(aged 78 years)
February Florence Hudson
(aged 102 years)
Songs of Praise
begun to plan a ‘Songs of Praise’ service at St. Peter’s on Sunday 9th
July at 6.30pm. The theme
service is ‘faith, hope and love’ to include favourite hymns, readings and
the cardinal virtues.
If you would like to choose a
hymn and talk to the congregation about one of the virtues and how it has been
significant in your life please speak to Father Andrew.
A portable defibrillator is
now available at Crown Honda (020 8950 3311) during hours of business.
Notes about the Paschal Candle
The paschal candle is
solemnly blessed and lighted in the Easter Vigil rite on Holy Saturday, and is
used in Eastertide (from Holy Saturday until the gospel of the principal Mass
on Ascension day); it stands on the pavement at the gospel side, with the five grains
of incense pointing west. It is lighted for certain services during the Easter
season, and it may, in fact, be lit for any liturgical service, but its use is
not permissible at non-liturgical devotions, e.g. Benediction, unless such
devotion immediately follows a liturgical service without any break or going
out, for then the candle need not be extinguished. Its use is not allowed at
the Rogation procession or Mass, nor at any requiem Mass or office of the dead;
nor at a votive Mass or any other rite celebrated in purple or black colour.
(from ‘Ritual Notes’, E.C.R.
It should be noted that these
rules are now frequently relaxed and the paschal candle is commonly used at
funerals and almost invariably kept alight at Sunday masses until Pentecost
according to custom.
Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off
Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923)
Text a prayer
request to our Prayer Line on 07939 379018. Private prayer will be offered for