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The Parish of

St. Peter,

Bushey Heath

Lent 2017

 

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 youth.

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. 

 

PRAYER FOCUS

Pray for our ecumenical partners in Bushey and Oxhey

From the diary…

Wednesday 1st March               Ash Wednesday                                                                      

            10.00am          Mass with imposition of ashes (modern rite)

            8.00pm                        Mass with imposition of ashes (traditional rite with hymns)

            Stations of the Cross 

Thursdays in Lent at 12 noon 

beginning on 2nd March 

 

Tuesday 7th March, 11.00am               Service at Heath House

Wednesday 8th March, 8.00pm            Parochial Church Council in the Parish Hall

Tuesday 14th March                             Parish visit by the Bishop of Hertford

                                      7.00pm          Mass (Celebrant: Fr. Andrew)

                                      7.45pm          Meeting with the PCC

Friday 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 Sacrament

From the Registers –

Funerals

9th February                 Susan Honour (aged 78 years)

24th February               Florence Hudson (aged 102 years)

Songs of Praise

Work has begun to plan a ‘Songs of Praise’ service at St. Peter’s on Sunday 9th July at 6.30pm. The theme

of the service is ‘faith, hope and love’ to include favourite hymns, readings and personal contributions

based on 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.

Defibrillator

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. Lamburn, ed.).

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.

Contact details:

Vicar: Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off Monday.

Churchwarden: Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923)

 

Text a prayer request to our Prayer Line on 07939 379018. Private prayer will be offered for 2 weeks.

www.stpeterbusheyheath.org.uk