Archive for March 2014

First week of Lent   Leave a comment

The first week of Lent has coincided with the first week of Spring here in the UK. I did not go to church Sunday but spent the morning in the sunshine that bathed my garden – nature, all be it tended nature, was my temple. I have not started any of my Lent reading yet either; and I had collected at least 3 books I was going to use, and will use, in this period.  So I just want to leave you with today a beautiful piece of music, that I learnt as a teen from my father’s record collection, an extract from Beethoven’s 6th Symphony:

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Ash Wednesday 2014   Leave a comment

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, and I went to the traditional administering of ashes service at my church.  During the marking of a cross on everyone’s forehead the choir sang one of my favorite pieces of sacred music: “God so loved the world” from Stainer’s Crusifixion.

For this first blog post of my Lent 2014 Reflections I just refer you to a recording of it by the St Paul’s choir on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5Akz6J8Rw0.

Below is the artwork I stood in front of while it was being sung, you can read about it here: http://www.stmatthewsnorthampton.org.uk/art_history_the_crucifixion.shtml 

the_crucifixion

Lent 2014 Reflections – Introduction   Leave a comment

Today is the Sunday before Lent, which then starts with Ash Wednesday this week. I propose to try and do a blog post each day through Lent this year reflecting on what I read and think that day. This blog post is an introduction to that series.

Parish Mass Today

I went to the 10:15 Parish Mass today at my church: St. Matthew’s Northampton. The Anglican Lectionary set two readings about mountain top experiences; one from the Old and one from the New Testament – the giving of the Law and the Transfiguration.  The Vicar said in his introduction that we all know mountain top experiences but then have to come down to face everyday life again.

In Exodus we read the following:

Exodus 24:12-18

New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

12 The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.’

13 Then Moses set out with Joshua his assistant, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. 14 He said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.’

15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16 and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

I smiled at that reading because I had not remembered that Joshua accompanied Moses up the mountain in this story. A dear spiritual friend, Brother Nicholas of Alton Abbey, always used to call me Joshua because he thought I faced life bravely.

Then from the Gospel of St. Matthew we heard the following:

Matthew 17:1-9

New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

The transfiguration

17 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

4 Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’

6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. ‘Get up,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid.’ 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, ‘Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’

There was not a formal sermon but a question and answer session between Fr. Peter (retired priest) and the children and teens about the below icon.

Image

It is an Egyptian ancient icon rediscovered in the C19th see: http://stephintaize.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-icon-of-friendship.html. The key lesson for me from this icon was that Jesus puts his arm around us but gives us space.

So that summarises my preparation for Lent. I have a lot of reading lined up and if you wish you would be welcome to follow me on this blog as I journey through Lent towards Holy Week and Easter.