The Parish of
From the vicar
A meditation for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019
The vestry prayer at St. Peter’s often begins: ‘As watchmen wait for the morning so we wait for thee, O Christ.’ An essential characteristic of the Church is the practice of watching and waiting. It forms part of most Advent and Lenten disciplines and defines worship and prayer in Holy Week and at Easter and before many major festivals. Rooted in the prophetic expectation of God’s salvation and specifically the coming of the messiah it transfers naturally into the life of the Church as she awaits the coming of her Lord.
The hymn ‘The Church’s one foundation’ contains the words, "Yet saints their watch are keeping, Their cry goes up, ‘How long?’" St. Luke tells the story of the Presentation in which Simeon and Anna greet the infant Jesus. The patience of these two prophetic characters receives its consummation as after their faithful vigil they are rewarded with the sight of the Lord coming to his temple.
The Church continues the practice of watching and waiting, not least through the vocation of hermits and anchorites and many others who count watching for the Lord a significant aspect of their discipleship. For all Christians, the presence of Blessed Mary and the other disciples in the cenacle between the Ascension and the day of Pentecost provides a model for imitation.
Reflect upon the call to watch and wait…
From Luke 19
41 And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44 and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, over the fate of the holy city which will reject him. This is not the fatalism that sees an inevitable destruction at the hands of the occupying forces taking revenge for frequent rebellion, but the words of a prophet who sees the city and its people in relation to the God who has called them into being and whose coming to them they have rejected.
Jesus’ depth of feeling speaks of his commitment to his vocation expressed in the fullness of humanity. This reading should encourage us as Jesus’ disciples to reflect upon our own relationship with God and to recognise afresh his love for us in the light of this story.
Reflect upon our failure to watch and wait…
From Colossians 1
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…
In the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we would do well to reflect upon the suffering of Christ and that of his servant St. Paul for whom the proclamation of the Gospel and the unity of the Body of Christ were all-consuming passions. In particular we might reflect on the scandal of disunity and the part that we have played in it.
Those who have been given the care of a natural family inevitably fear for the future of its members, whether they be young or old. The fear comes both from love and duty and we know well from the media and our own pastoral concerns what terrible, sad things can happen when those things fail; the vulnerable suffer.
It ought to come as a shock that Christians are so ready to damage their own spiritual family; to break the Body of Christ. Or, at least, finding it damaged and broken to make only a minimal effort to put it right. This is the Church which our Lord entrusted to his Blessed Mother and empowered by his Spirit and which in the end will triumph, but which we are too often content to see limping along; a shadow of the family intended in God’s plan of salvation.
May we resolve afresh to maintain the hope of our common baptism into this family and together to live more consciously and openly the life of the Spirit which alone can sustain us in times of difficulty and fear. Let us be once again watchmen for the Lord within the Church he bought with his own precious blood.
Pray for Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith, for those who will be called to a martyrs death in 2019 and for the continuing work of the Barnabas Fund.
From the diary
Sunday 3rd February The Feast of the Presentation of Christ
Wednesday 6th February, 10.00am Mothers’ Union Corporate Communion
Wednesday 20th February, 8.00pm Parochial Church Council meeting in the Parish Hall
Wednesday 6thMarch Ash Wednesday
10.00am Mass with imposition of ashes (modern rite) 8.00pm Mass with imposition of ashes (traditional rite with hymns)
Sunday 24thMarch, 11.00am Annual Parochial Meetings in church
Advertisement in ‘Together’
If you have appreciated reading the ‘Together’ periodical published by the Church Union on behalf of the Catholic Societies of the Church of England you might like to make a donation towards the cost of St. Peter’s Easter advertisement. Contributions support the publication of the paper and make a statement about our corporate life as part of the Richborough family of parishes. Donations please to Fr. Andrew.
Ash Wednesday falls on 6thMarch. Please return last year’s palm crosses by Sunday 24thFebruary ready to be burnt for ash.
Flowers in Church
On entering St. Peter’s it is always a delight to be greeted by a pedestal of beautifully arranged flowers, often reflecting the liturgical season and always lifting the prayerful spirit heavenwards. If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of the flowers, perhaps to celebrate a special event or to remember a loved one, please pass it to Alan Hudson along with a brief dedication if you would like it included on the pew sheet (as donations towards the Aumbry Lamp are currently).
In the meantime, a very big ‘thank you’ to all our flower arrangers and to those who have contributed towards the cost.
Vicar: Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off Monday.
Churchwardens: Mr. Peter Mould (020 8428 8307); Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923).
Bushey Heath Parish Church