Taste and See: Moving on…

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O God, from whom all good things come,
grant that we, who call on you in our need,
may at your prompting discern what is right,
and by your guidance do it.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

What a gap can be there between diserning the right and doing it!

We need God’s help for both – but even God needs us to cooperate with grace if anything is to happen, if anything is to change…

St Leo the Great observed God made us without us, but will not save us without us…

  • Where does the Lord make your life-sustaining, life-changing,  cooperation possible today?
  • How will you respond? Why?

Stained glass. Chester Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

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Taste and See: Homeward bound

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As we have the same spirit of faith that is mentioned in scripture – I believed, and therefore I spoke – we too believe and therefore we too speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us. You see, all this is for your benefit, so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.

That is why there is no weakening on our part, and instead, though this outer man of ours may be falling into decay, the inner man is renewed day by day. Yes, the troubles which are soon over, though they weigh little, train us for the carrying of a weight of eternal glory which is out of all proportion to them. And so we have no eyes for things that are visible, but only for things that are invisible; for visible things last only for a time, and the invisible things are eternal.

For we know that when the tent that we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens.

Second reading for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1

Paul, the tent-maker, the oft-time exhausted traveller, knows he lives and works in a testing but passing world. He knows the costs, and he pays them. And he knows the rewards, here, now, as he spends himself for the benefit of others.

And he looks forward – for himself, and them, and us – to the hospitality of God, our final goal, our final home.

Stained Glass. Chester Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Taste and See: At one (but mad?)

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Jesus went home with his disciples, and such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘Beelzebul is in him’ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.’ So he called them to him and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand. Now if Satan has rebelled against himself and is divided, he cannot stand either – it is the end of him. But no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house.

‘I tell you solemnly, all men’s sins will be forgiven, and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of an eternal sin.’ This was because they were saying, ‘An unclean spirit is in him.’

His mother and brothers now arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’

Gospel for the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 3:20-35

To be at one with Jesus, and to be actively seeking to do the will of God is to be so out of sync with the ways of this world is that we can seem to be mad.

  • How often does it seem that people mock people of faith for their views on a whole wide range of issues and for their belief? How easily Jesus seemed to sit with people’s misjudgments of him.
  • And what great company we keep, if we stick close to him, if we are his sisters and brothers.

Stained Glass. Kings Lynn Minster. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Prayer and meditation on the glory of God for us.

DSC07964Sing forth, O Zion, sweetly sing
The praises of thy Shepherd-King,
In hymns and canticles divine;
Dare all thou canst, thou hast no song
Worthy his praises to prolong,
So far surpassing powers like thine.

Today no theme of common praise
Forms the sweet burden of thy lays –
The living, life-dispensing food –
That food which at the sacred board
Unto the brethren twelve our Lord
His parting legacy bestowed.

Then be the anthem clear and strong,
Thy fullest note, thy sweetest song,
The very music of the breast:
For now shines forth the day sublime
That brings remembrance of the time
When Jesus first his table blessed.

Within our new King’s banquet-hall
They meet to keep the festival
That closed the ancient paschal rite:
The old is by the new replaced;
The substance hath the shadow chased;
And rising day dispels the night.

Christ willed what he himself had done
Should be renewed while time should run,
In memory of his parting hour:
Thus, tutored in his school divine,
We consecrate the bread and wine;
And lo – a Host of saving power.

This faith to Christian men is given –
Bread is made flesh by words from heaven:
Into his blood the wine is turned:
What though it baffles nature’s powers
Of sense and sight? This faith of ours
Proves more than nature e’er discerned.

Concealed beneath the two-fold sign,
Meet symbols of the gifts divine,
There lie the mysteries adored:
The living body is our food;
Our drink the ever-precious blood;
In each, one undivided Lord.

Not he that eateth it divides
The sacred food, which whole abides
Unbroken still, nor knows decay;
Be one, or be a thousand fed,
They eat alike that living bread
Which, still received, ne’er wastes away.

The good, the guilty share therein,
With sure increase of grace or sin,
The ghostly life, or ghostly death:
Death to the guilty; to the good
Immortal life. See how one food
Man’s joy or woe accomplisheth.

We break the Sacrament, but bold
And firm thy faith shall keep its hold,
Deem not the whole doth more enfold
Than in the fractured part resides
Deem not that Christ doth broken lie,
’Tis but the sign that meets the eye,
The hidden deep reality
In all its fullness still abides.

Behold the bread of angels, sent
For pilgrims in their banishment,
The bread for God’s true children meant,
That may not unto dogs be given:
Oft in the olden types foreshowed;
In Isaac on the altar bowed,
And in the ancient paschal food,
And in the manna sent from heaven.

Come then, good shepherd, bread divine,
Still show to us thy mercy sign;
Oh, feed us still, still keep us thine;
So may we see thy glories shine
In fields of immortality;

O thou, the wisest, mightiest, best,
Our present food, our future rest,
Come, make us each thy chosen guest,
Co-heirs of thine, and comrades blest
With saints whose dwelling is with thee.
Amen. Alleluia.

Sequence for Corpus Christi

The Sequence for Corpus Christi is one of the three such non-scriptural texts in the present Lectionary. It is optional and in the most recent edition of the Lectionary for use in England and Wales is printed only with the readings for Year A (as is the case with the obligatory Sequence for Pentecost).

My experience suggests that all the sequences are regularly omitted and if not omitted are most usually simply read (and when this is the case very tedious they can sound ).

There are all sorts of reasons for this – they are sung only once a year, they represent a real challenge for congregational singing, and for many choirs and cantors too.

However take a look and a listen to it being sung at St Peter’s Rome a few years ago…

  • What does your community do? Why?
  • Is there something better you might work to for next year?

Prayer at conclusion of Blessed Sacrament Procession. Lourdes. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Taste and See: A new life

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Now Christ has come, as the high priest of all the blessings which were to come. He has passed through the greater, the more perfect tent, which is better than the one made by men’s hands because it is not of this created order; and he has entered the sanctuary once and for all, taking with him not the blood of goats and bull calves, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption for us. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer are sprinkled on those who have incurred defilement and they restore the holiness of their outward lives; how much more effectively the blood of Christ, who offered himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, can purify our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God.

He brings a new covenant, as the mediator, only so that the people who were called to an eternal inheritance may actually receive what was promised: his death took place to cancel the sins that infringed the earlier covenant.

Second reading for Corpus Christi
Hebrews 9:11-15

All good things came to be through the Word of God. and now the betterment of all things comes through that same Word, made flesh in the Christ.

 

Detail of Ambo, Westminster Cathedral. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

 

Taste and See: Work to do

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The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them.

He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’

Gospel for Trinity Sunday
Matthew 28:16-20

Where will you go to seek to make disciples?

Galilee. (c) 2007, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Cherished and equal before God

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Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.

Second reading for Trinity Sunday
Romans 8:14-17

In our age we do right to be sensitive to the social baggage that language carries with it. The language of the New Testament regular reveals that it was coined in a society even more patriarchal and oppressive of women than our own.

Yet here Paul seems anxious to stress that all Christians are truly children of God, and all Christians share in the rights of the (first-born) son, who in Greco-Roman households would normally be the sole inheritor of a father’s estate. All people, everyone, moved by the Spirit is such a son of God – be they second-born sons, slaves, women, Greeks, Jews, children: all who are moved by the Spirit.

We receive the Tradition in language that creaks and strains in order to convey the wonder and beauty of the new creation and of salvation. We have the responsibility of attempting to express the Tradition afresh so that it speaks still more clearly, more effectively to the people of our age.

God the Father. Maître de Feligne. Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon. (c) 2014, Allen Morris