Friday, 17 October 2014

Our Grand Days Out

To York Minster, at the heart of England's Northern capital, and the spiritual heart of the Northern Province, for the Consecration of the two new Area Bishops for our Diocese, Toby Howarth for Bradford, and Jonathan Gibbs, the first Bishop of Huddersfield, for our Episcopal Area.

Dire warnings before the Mass began over the use of mobiles, but I did manage to sneak, and Tweet, this picture of the Archbishop of Canterbury preaching. His words were based on Philippians 3.7 & 8, 'I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ my Lord.'

'A Bishop, he said, is not a senior manager in a convenient administrative unit for putting together administration, payroll and deployment of staff. A Bishop is above all a shepherd, carrying a cross, leading the sheep.'

Bishops Toby Bradford, (left), Jonathan Huddersfield (right)

Today's Liturgy reminded us of St Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr. Prayers were offered for the persecuted, and the challenge and commission given to our new Bishops, and to each one of us there, to die to self, and live for Christ alone. 

York Minster is one of my favourite buildings. Today was Fr Miguel's first ever visit to the City, as we entered the Minster in procession. 

The Great Heart of Yorkshire Window, at the Cathedral's West End. 

Last Sunday afternoon, we had another grand day out, as it was over to Dewsbury Minster, in the footsteps of St Paulinus, for the Licensing of new Readers, and a welcome to Lynn Lord, Diocesan Reader for the Parishes of St Mary's and All Saints, Elland, pictured here with Bishop Tony. 

Friday, 3 October 2014

October Reflections

Sometimes it’s good to have relatively simple, easily memorized words for prayer, that we can turn to if time is short, or if we are struggling to get heart and brain in gear! One such example is these words, prepared over a century ago by James Huntington, an American Anglican Monk. Originally intended for the use of a young person who said there was no time to pray in the morning, and easily memorized, in little more than twenty words, this prayer sums up our response to God in praise, in self-giving and in petition

I praise my God this day

I give myself to God this day

I ask God to help me this day

Now, if that is all we have to offer in our prayers, then perhaps our relationship with God will only be a fraction of what it could be, but it may give us all a good place to begin, and to return to. 

My second discovery, is rather a re-discovery, being a contemporary translation of a mediaeval text, which I knew and treasured a long time ago, and am delighted to have again. It seems to have been written originally to encourage Christians in time of difficulty, but I think could apply to each and every one of us, in summing up what it means to try and live out our Christian faith:

Remember, Christian soul,
that today and every day you have:

God to glorify,
Jesus to imitate,
The Angels and Saints to invoke,
Salvation to work out with fear and trembling.
A body to use rightly,
Sins to repent,
Virtues to acquire,
Hell to avoid,
Heaven to gain.
Eternity to hold in mind,
Time to profit by,
Neighbours to serve,
The world to enjoy,
Creation to use rightly.
Slights to endure patiently,
Kindnesses to offer willingly,
Justice to strive for,
Temptations to overcome.
Death perhaps to suffer,
In all things, God’s love to sustain you

Autumn is in many ways my favourite time of the year. There is often a benign quality about late September and early October, the light golden, and the air soft, the ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ as the poet Keats wrote, at least before November days begin to die down towards the end of the year. Our Church month begins with the Harvest Thanksgiving, and ends with the observance of our Churches’ Dedication Festivals, as we give thanks for the Love of God in Creation, and for that Love which inspired our forebears in the faith to build Living Stones to God’s praise and glory. In all things, may we know the Love of God, and be thankful,