All Saints Parish Newsletter
Thursday 18 October 2012 at 18:07
Trinity XX – 19th October 2012
Last Monday, I was the speaker at a clergy lunch. My talk was based on Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead, whose principal character is the pastor of a small town church in the Iowa some 50 years ago. I took aspects of his ministry to shed light on ours. One was his life of prayer. He says, “I pray all the time.” On sleepless nights, he walks the streets , praying for those in the houses he passes; especially those whose lights are on. “I’d imagine peace they didn’t expect and couldn’t account for descending, on their illness or their quarrelling or their dreams. The I’d go into the church and pray some more and wait for daylight.”
When I turned to this Sunday’s readings, I found phrases echoing this theme: “He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for transgressors.” (Isaiah 53.12) “Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears.” ( Hebrews 5. 7)
In his Words on Spirituality, Enzo Bianchi, the prior of the ecumenical monastery at Bose in Italy, reminds us that to intercede means to “step between” or to “mediate between two parties.” This mediation involves a movement from humanity to God, being with God for the people as Archbishop Michael Ramsey said. It also involves a movement towards humankind in compassion. This two-way movement finds its full realization in Jesus, “the one mediator between God and humankind” (1 |Timothy 2.5). In him is fulfilled Job’s plea; “if only there were someone between us, Lord, who might lay his hand on us both, on my shoulder and on your shoulder” (Job 9.33).
Bianchi speaks of two iconic figures of intercession in Scripture.
The icon in the Old Testament is Moses, who stands on the hill with Aaron and Hur holding his arms up to heaven as he intercedes for the people below. The involvement of his whole person on behalf of others is seen even more clearly when he says: “Lord, if you will only forgive their sin – but if not, blot me out the book that you have written” (Exodus 32.32).
The icon in the New Testament is Jesus Christ, whose incarnation and passion are the most radical act of compassion and intercession. Isaiah’s Suffering Servant who intercedes for sinners by taking their sin upon himself, and bearing their infirmity and weakness is fulfilled in Christ. Christ, risen and ascended, continues to intercede for us as a merciful high priest. (Hebrews 7.25). His hand on our shoulder inspires trust and courage: “who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus who died for us, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God who indeed intercedes for us?” (Romans 8.34).
The Holy Spirit gives us part the intercession of Christ. The Spirit teaches us to pray according to the will of God, conforming our prayer and life to the prayer and life of Christ. The Spirit breaks open our closed individuality, so that we are able to pray for others. We even find it possible to pray for our enemies, which is an essential step if we are to learn to love them. There is a direct connection between prayer for others and love for them. “At times, there is nothing else we can do, when we want to preserve a relationship with another person, except preserve the relationship in our prayer and intercession.”
Intercession, says Bianchi, is not just a task or duty, or even something desirable, but the heart of a life consumed by love for God and others. “The Church should remember this: what is the Church if it is not intercession with God for all people? This is the truly powerful service the church is called to carry out in the world. It is a service that situates the Church in the world, not as the leader of crusades, but as a body that bears the marks of the cross!” Bianchi speaks of the Bible giving a special responsibility for intercession to leaders: prophets, priests and kings. But we all share through our baptism in the royal priesthood of the Church, so intercession should be part of all our Christian lives. Immediately below this you will find lists of people we are praying for at All Saints. At each of our services, intercession is offered for the Church and the world, our communities and families, the sick and the needy, the departed. This is at the heart of our life.
Yours in Christ,
Please pray for Christopher Ryan, Moe, Fr. David Jowitt OGS, Julia, Calum O’Connor, Daniel, Michael Harris, Sandra O’Brien, Linda Orme , Mary Barnet, Stephen Collingwood, Sian Evans, Jackie Ferriter, Joshua Levy, Audrey Patterson, Cecilia Shore, Michael Sullivan, Rachel Clayton, Heather Walker, Graham Hawkes, Richard Tann, Brian Sparkes, Ron Cayless, John Rogers, Mason Jacobson, Barbara Laws, Marguerite Crill, Ondina Brash, Anne Hamburger, David Day, Timothy Montgomery, Timothy Harding, Andrew Tillyard, Lise Cribbin, Finiola Robinson. The Recently Departed: Peter Vickers, Gwen Norman, Elvira Dibley, Sr. Jean Margaret ASSP, Maurice Keen, Marion Pidgeon, Sr. Elizabeth SSM, George Hurst, Mary Morrison, Nigel Bailey at the anniversary of their death: Dora Bull, Roy Prince, Eva Dean, Ron Keating, Peter Laister, Reginald Thompson, Gwendoline Freeman, Joseph Harding.
CONFIRMATION – Saturday 3rd November 2012 5pm at St Paul’s Cathedral. Please see Fr. John or Fr. Alan for further information.
Sunday 4 Nov: Festival Sunday.
At High Mass: Dedication of framed photograph of Bishop Ambrose Weekes.
Wednesday 7 Nov: 6:30pm Mass of Thanksgiving for the life of Sr. Jean Margaret ASSP.
One o’clock talks on the Church Building:
On Sunday’s at 1pm for 10mins there will be a series of talks given by Fr. Alan and Fr. John.
11th November – The Baptistry. 18th November – The Nave. 25th November – The Pulpit. 2nd December – The Jesse Window. 9th December – The North Wall, The Old Testament. 16th December – The North Wall – The Nativity. Please come along prior to lunch for 10 minutes and hear an historical and theological perspective on our church building.
Penny Mordaunt MP, (Portsmouth North) and friend to All Saints Margaret Street is arranging for the Parish a Tour of Parliament on 16th November 2012. A maximum number of 60 people can attend, so please book your place with Fr. John Pritchard as soon as possible. firstname.lastname@example.org The Tour Starts at 9:55am and will last 75mins. The Tours are free, but I am suggesting that we all make a £10 donation towards Phase IV – Restoration Appeal for All Saints Margaret Street. Please send Cheques to All Saints c/o Dennis Davis or Fr John Pritchard made payable to "All Saints PCC Restoration Appeal". Details of where to meet will follow. ONLY 6 Places left. Please book as soon as possible.
Saturday 24 Nov: 12 noon. Requiem Mass for Teresa Butler.
ADVENT COURSE 2012
There will be two courses running at All Saints Margaret Street this year.
DAYTIME ADVENT COURSE – Fr. Alan will lead a four week day-time course meeting at 11am on Thursday’s 29th November, 6th, 13th & 20th December at the Vicarage. This will be book based on Rowan William’s latest book, “The Lion’s World – A journey into the heart of Narnia.
EVENING ADVENT COURSE Fr. John will lead a four-week evening course, meeting at 7:00pm on Wednesday’s 28th November, 5th, 12th & 19th December at No.6 Margaret Street. This course will look at The Patriarchs, The Prophets, St John the Baptist and Our Lady each one will be explored through one of the following: Opera, Film (popcorn will be provided), prose and poetry.
Please indicate to Fr. Alan and Fr. John if you wish to attend.
Please indicate to Fr. Alan and Fr. John if you wish to attend.