Rev Chris update for 6th June
Sadly, the uncertainty of whether restrictions will be removed/eased on the 21st of June still hangs in the balance, but we carry on regardless and do our best in challenging circumstances, helped by a spell of good weather (excluding this Friday, although it has saved me watering my veg patch).
Over the last few weeks, we have had a string of post- Easter festivals in the church calendar;
ASCENSION – recognizing the event where Jesus returned to the heavenly realm and left the disciples to take up the work he had been preparing them for.
PENTECOST – celebrating the coming of God as Holy Spirit upon those disciples inspiring them to go out and do that work.
TRINITY – the time when we recall that we worship the ‘oneness’ of God in the three persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
AND, would you believe it, but there was another festival that slipped under the radar this week. This one goes by the following name, that trips easily off the tongue;
THE DAY OF THANKSGIVING FOR THE INSTITUTION OF THE HOLY COMMUNION
Also known as Corpus Christi (body of Christ)
This festival day remembers the act of communion (sharing bread and wine) that we celebrate in church on a regular basis, itself a remembrance of the last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples, the last supper, and of his sacrifice on the cross.
What I love about the sharing of communion, despite being surrounded by words that remain a mystery to many, is that in this act there is the sense of ‘brokenness’ – during communion I will break the bread, or wafer, to represent
the breaking of Jesus’ body. In doing so there is a very real connection with the ‘brokenness’ experienced in the world and, indeed, in our own lives.
I have been struck this week by the news surrounding the young tennis player Naomi Osaka and her refusal to engage with the media, and indeed by her subsequent withdrawal from the French Open. Opinions are divided about her stance, but it has opened a debate about mental well-being and the pressures that are brought to bear on those in the public eye. The media certainly have a responsibility in all of this but so do we when we show an appetite for insight into the lives of others, and then seek to make judgments with little knowledge of the ‘brokenness’ that they may live with.
I am taken back to a sign on a fence that I saw when walking the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage route across northern Spain – the sign said: “WE ARE ALL BROKEN, THAT’S WHAT LETS THE LIGHT IN”.
I am also reminded of something that I spoke about in church a couple of years ago, and again just a few weeks back, concerning the Japanese art of ‘Kintsugi’. The word literally means ‘golden repair’ and is an art form that is about repairing something that is broken with glue mixed with powdered gold.
Out of the ‘brokenness’ comes beauty in a way that is profound and of much value. Communion, sharing bread and wine in remembrance of Christ broken for us, is, to my mind, the same – out of the brokenness comes beauty beyond compare.
In the act of communion, we remember that Jesus Christ is alongside us in our brokenness and holds out his arms of love for us on a cross – why? This is why (heavily paraphrased!);
Jesus said “I come to set you free” LUKE 4:18
Jesus said “I come so that you can live a full life” JOHN 10:10
Jesus said “Come to me with the weight you carry, and I will hold you” MATTHEW 11:28
Jesus said “Stop worrying so much. Don’t you understand just how much God loves you” MATTHEW 6:28-34
Jesus said “You are forgiven” JOHN 8:11 and many other times
Jesus said “My house is your house” JOHN 14:2
Enough said! If you need more convincing go to the song Beauty for Brokenness, by Graham Kendrick
p.s. Please note the following from Services & Events at St Nicholas
• MORNING WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY – Service order attached (July service will be in church)
• SATURDAY 19th JUNE – MESSY CHURCH (outside) book with Fiona, 07951777854
• TUESDAY CAFÉ – to go weekly after 15th June
• MID-WEEK COMMUNION – Next one will be Wednesday 7th July including Mother’s Union