Newsletter 13th January 2019
Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
This completes the Christmas season and from Monday we begin the weeks in Ordinary Time. The green vestments come out once again for a few weeks until we begin Lent on Ash Wednesday, which this year comes on 6th March. This year the readings at the weekday Masses are taken from the first cycle and on Sundays from cycle C.
The Justice and Peace Group meets after the Masses on Sunday morning.
Next Sunday there will be a special coffee morning. As always I must remember to bake a cake. The lemon sponge seems to work quite well.
Back to work as normal this week with school visits on Monday and Thursday and to the Town Hall at Greenwich on Thursday evening.
The costumes for the mystery plays have been put away for another year. Steve and Marianne have run the plays for nine years and have asked if some others could now take his on. It has become a very popular part of the life of our parish and perhaps a couple of sets of parents could take it on for a few years. Not a lot of work – just a bit of admin putting up the parts and helping with a rehearsal on the Sunday before. I would be pleased to hear from you on this.
It is good to see that three of the former Eurostar Platforms at Waterloo station are now in use. The other two platforms are due to be brought into use in May. I remember journeys to Paris from Waterloo in the early days of Eurostar with the long slow trip over the old line down to the Tunnel and then the high speed section in France.
A note from the boy’s mother: anticipated a project for the day. Now we know he can build an age16+ super challenger Lego in 4 hours and just need to be creative about what we do next.
Just a small recipe this week for courgettes. The Bishop was at lunch recently and seemed to like them. You will need to boil them gently and drain them whilst they are still firm. Sprinkle them with some black pepper and some lemon juice before serving.
And our prayer:
Father, direct our ways and make us increase and abound in love for one another and to all: that we may be established in purity of heart and in holiness before you at the coming of Our Lord Jesus Chris and all the saints, through the same Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen
(This comes from the First Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians)
Pleased to report that the parish accounts came out to the penny at the first draft this year. I hope to report the details to the parish council and will arrange a meeting towards the end of the month.
A request: please remember to return the forms for baptisms promptly. I need the details before the baptism. Several have gone out in recent weeks but few have come back.
If I were Lord of Tartary,
I’d wear a robe of beads,
White and gold and green they’d be
And small and sick as seeds.
(This is Walter de La Mare – he died in 1956 – I seemed to remember that his poems used to be read on Children’s Hour on the wireless many years ago)
The income from the Myra fund will be arriving shortly. I am already thinking of a water slide for the garden for next summer.
Any other ideas? The fund is for the benefit of the children of the parish to buy things that they suggest.
Best wishes to you all,
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon
Feast of the baptism of the Lord
Today the feast of the Baptism of the Lord – at one time three events were commemorated on the one day – the visit of the three wise men, the first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee – as well as the Baptism of the Lord – this celebration is still remembered in some of the prayers and antiphons that are used at this time. – for the meaning – the significance of these three events is linked – on the feasts of the Epiphany – the Christ child – who is the king of kings is manifested to the nations of the world – but in contrast the events at Cana – a wedding at a village in the countryside of Galilee and to begin with at least – no more than a list of the guests – Mary the mother of Jesus was there – and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited – an everyday human event, repeated many times in the course of each year – not a world changing event, but rather the Son of God, in his human nature – sharing and enjoying the events of human life – what could be more pleasant than drinking fine wine on s spring evenings with friends and family – after the formal celebration of the marriage –
But today’s event, the baptism, links these two other moments – the human and the divine – the Word, the Son of God has been born into our world as the child of Mary – and he shares in human life in many ways – with many of the local people he can be a guest at a wedding – and today’s feast, in a special way, gathers these two themes together – the days of the hidden life are over, and symbolically the public life, the mission of the Lord begins at his baptism – Luke’s gospel takes care to explain that he is not on his own – the crowds have come to the banks of the river Jordan to be baptised by John – and Luke adds – when all the people had been baptised – the Lord does not come on his own – he shares the baptism of John with many others – but nevertheless, his baptism is not the same – it is far more than the symbolic cleansing from sin suggested by the baptism of John – for the Lord’s baptism is accompanied by a sign from heaven -the Holy Spirit appearing in the form of a dove- and the voice from heaven – confirming that this is indeed the Son of God – you are my Son – the beloved – my favour rests on him.
This then is the feast that we celebrate today – which in a special way manifests the human and the divine nature of the Lord – but it is also a day in which we recall and celebrate our own baptisms – week by week, throughout the year – on most Sundays there are baptisms in our Church here – for many of the families it is an opportunity to celebrate the birth of a new child – friends and families come to share in this – proud grandparents – friends from school, many now with their own babies and for some, brothers and sisters, possibly still slightly apprehensive at the arrival of a new family member – it is a natural and human celebration, something which in its own way takes place in all cultures and faith traditions – but for Christians it is more than this, it is one of the Sacraments of the Church – in which, through the rituals, the human and divine come together – during the ceremony we use a number of materials, oil for the anointings, the baptismal candle and of course the water for the baptism itself – but these are signs or symbols of the spiritual reality – of a new birth as the adopted child of God – the human and divine come together – your child, but also, the child of God, a new member of the family of the Church.
So celebrate today, particularly the children who have been baptised in the font in our Church here – give thanks for the grace of this Sacrament – and recognise that through baptism we are indeed the children of God.