Caption suggestions to Simon by 5pm Wednesday 24th June. Simon and Peter will be the judges.
Caption suggestions to Simon by 5pm Wednesday 24th June. Simon and Peter will be the judges.
The Feast of the Thanksgiving for Holy Communion, commonly called, Corpus Christi was first celebrated in the 14th Century. It began as a local custom to celebrate the Mystery of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and slowly spread throughout the Church, finally being added to the Kalander in the 15th Century.
Perhaps the most famous aspect of Corpus Christi (literally the Body of Christ), that people associate with this feast day, is the great processions through cities, towns and villages. The Blessed Sacrament is held aloft by a priest, in a monstrance, as a public statement that the sacrifice of Christ was for the salvation of the whole world.
Monstrances are one of those liturgical curios that appear sometimes, but in our tradition not very regularly. This one belongs to Jamie (who drafted a substantial part of this piece for us).
The Host (the consecrated Bread) sits in the glass plate in the centre with ‘rays of glory streaming out from it‘. A reminder of the Glory of Christ, present in the Eucharist, and the glory of the Heavenly Banquet that we join when we take Communion together.
Traditionally, at the end of the Mass on Corpus Christi the Host (the consecrated Bread) is placed in a monstrance and the congregation spend some time reflecting on this Mystery of Christ made present in the bread and wine.
The officiating Priest would then take the monstrance and carry it aloft down through the church and out into the streets – with servers throwing rose petals down in front of it to make a carpet – a bit like confetti at a wedding – with bells ringing out to tell everyone that Christ was walking among them in the Eucharist.
It’ll be an irony not lost on many that the Feast of Corpus Christi has something of a hollow ring to it this year. It’s a feast when we give thanks for the gift and privilege of Holy Communion, which we normally share on a regular basis. So what does it mean to give thanks for something we can’t (at present) receive?
Corpus Christi represents more than just the Church giving thanks for the way that Christ remains, with us always – even unto the ends of the Earth. It’s a celebration that we, the Church, are united in and as the Body of Christ.
As Corpus Christi comes around this year, we have to do things differently. And perhaps this involves reflecting on what being unable to meet up and share Holy Communion together these past months has meant. It’s left a yawning gap in the lives of many members of our congregations. But of course, God’s not gone away, Christ is still very much with us. And of course when we do reunite to break the bread and pour the wine together, we can have a thanksgiving as never before!
O God, who called your servant Columba
from among the princes of Ireland
to be a herald and evangelist of your kingdom:
grant that your Church, remembering his faith and courage,
may so proclaim the gospel,
that people everywhere
will come to know your Son as their Saviour,
and serve him as their king;
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen
On this Trinity Sunday, Simon sings the words of John Henry Newman to an arrangement by Patrick Appleford.
NO CHANGE TO COLLEGE OF BISHOPS’ GUIDANCE AT PHASE 1 OF EASING LOCKDOWN
Following the announcement by the First Minister that Phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s route map will take effect tomorrow [Friday 29 May], the College of Bishops has confirmed that the minor easing of lockdown restrictions permitted under Phase 1 does not result in any change to existing guidance previously issued by the College of Bishops for the Scottish Episcopal Church. Church buildings therefore remain closed for the time being and the guidance issued on 23 and 26 March 2020 remains in place.
The Advisory Group established to provide guidance for SEC churches has had its first meeting and is working to address the respective phases of the Government’s route map. Initially, therefore, it is concentrating on guidance for Phase 2 which will be issued as soon as it is available.
When, in due course, the reopening of churches becomes permissible, as the College of Bishops has previously indicated, no church will be required to reopen against its will. The vestry of each church will be responsible for assessing, in the light of guidance produced, whether it wishes to reopen and is in a position to put in place the measures which will be necessary for any such reopening. It will then need to approach the Bishop for consent to reopen. Guidance will indicate the appropriate process to follow but, in substance, the intention is that both the vestry and Bishop will need to be content before any reopening can occur.
General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church Scottish Charity No SC015962
Today is Maundy Thursday, when Jesus met with His Disciples and shared a Last Supper with them. Normally on Maundy Thursday, we meet for a very moving service in one of our Churches and we do a number of things that commemorate that last evening together:
“During supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.” (John 13:3-5)
“While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)
“Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ … Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:36, 40-41)
The first two of these we can only do when we can be together, but the third is something that we can all do at home – watch and wait and pray with Jesus in His anguish. Normally some of the congregation would gather in St Andrew’s Hall and pray silently in front of the small altar on which the Sacrament is placed, surrounded by greenery and candles.
Tonight, Simon and I will both celebrate the Last Supper alone in one of our Churches, “with the people on our hearts”, but at 9pm, we invite each of you to join us sitting in a suitably prepared space with greenery and candles, to pray quietly for one hour. Praying for our families, our friends, our neighbours, our governments, those who work in the NHS and in other essential services and particularly those in our land and far away who are anxious, unwell or grieving. Pray also for yourselves.
This idea comes from the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in Oregon.
What if everyone on Sunday April 5 in the morning, puts a branch on the door of their house or on the window, to celebrate Palm Sunday.
It could be any green branch you can get. This would help, despite the social distancing, to be connected as we enter into the Holiest of Weeks.
We may be physically isolated, but not separated. We are united as the members of the body of Christ. We are the Church.
Scottish Christians* are encouraged to light a candle and place it in their window at 7pm** each Sunday in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
We are urged to “join in prayerful solidarity with this witness”, describing the candle as “a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, the source of hope in this life.”
The following prayer can be used when lighting the candle:
For all that is good in life, thank you,
For the love of family and friends, thank you,
For the kindness of good neighbour and Samaritan stranger, thank you.
May those who are vulnerable, hungry or homeless, experience support,
May those who are sick, know healing,
May those who are anxious or bereaved, sense comfort.
Bless and guide political leaders and decision-makers, with wisdom,
Bless and guide health workers and key workers, with strength and well-being,
Bless and guide each one of us, as we adapt to a new way of living.
And may the light shining from our windows,
across road and wynd, glen and ben, kyle and isle,
be reflected in our hearts and hands and hopes.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
* These include the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Scotland, the United Free Church, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the Society of Friends (Quakers), Congregational Federation in Scotland, the Salvation Army, the Church of the Nazarene, and Redeemed Christian Church of God.
** Please take all necessary fire precautions when using a lit candle. Ensure you remain with the lit candle at all times, and do not leave it to burn if you leave the room. Ensure there are no fabrics or materials such as curtains near the candle.
Following the directive from Boris Johnson this evening (23rd March) and updated guidance from the College of Bishops, our Churches will no longer be open to the public for either services or private prayer. So from now on we must all pray at home.
O ALMIGHTY and merciful God, with whom are the issues of life and death: Grant us, we beseech thee, help and deliverance in this time of grievous sickness and mortality, and sanctify to us this affliction, that in our sore distress we may turn our hearts unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
ALMIGHTY God, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ went about doing good, and healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people: Continue, we beseech thee, his gracious work among us in all hospitals and infirmaries; console and heal the sufferers; grant to the physicians, surgeons, and nurses, wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience; prosper their work, O Lord, with thy continual blessing; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen