The Parish of S Michael and All Angels
SUNDAY 29 March 2020
THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
Dear friends as you will have heard we cannot have any public services at S. Michaels during the current emergency. Mass and the Daily Office will continue to offered every day in the Vicarage. Even if you can’t be with us you will be in our prayers.
We hope to produce this sheet each week instead of our usual notice sheet, to keep everyone in touch and to provide some things to help you as you pray. Currently the only way for us to do this is to send it with an email. Please pass sheets or information on to those for whom we don’t have an email address.
THIS WEEKS GOSPEL READING.
I am the resurrection and the life
There was a man named Lazarus who lived in the village of Bethany with the two sisters, Mary and Martha, and he was ill. It was the same Mary, the sister of the sick man Lazarus, who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair. The sisters sent this message to Jesus, ‘Lord, the man you love is ill.’ On receiving the message, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will end not in death but in God’s glory, and through it the Son of God will be glorified.’
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, yet when he heard that Lazarus was ill he stayed where he was for two more days before saying to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judaea.’ The disciples said, ‘Rabbi, it is not long since the Jews wanted to stone you; are you going back again?’ Jesus replied:
‘Are there not twelve hours in the day?
A man can walk in the daytime without stumbling
because he has the light of this world to see by;
but if he walks at night he stumbles,
because there is no light to guide him.’
He said that and then added, ‘Our friend Lazarus is resting, I am going to wake him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he is able to rest he is sure to get better.’ The phrase Jesus used referred to the death of Lazarus, but they thought that by ‘rest’ he meant ‘sleep’, so Jesus put it plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead; and for your sake I am glad I was not there because now you will believe. But let us go to him.’ Then Thomas – known as the Twin – said to the other disciples, ‘Let us go too, and die with him.’
On arriving, Jesus found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days already. Bethany is only about two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to sympathise with them over their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:
‘I am the resurrection and the life.
If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live,
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?’
‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’
When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in a low voice, ‘The Master is here and wants to see you.’ Hearing this, Mary got up quickly and went to him. Jesus had not yet come into the village; he was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were in the house sympathising with Mary saw her get up so quickly and go out, they followed her, thinking that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
Mary went to Jesus, and as soon as she saw him she threw herself at his feet, saying, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ At the sight of her tears, and those of the Jews who followed her, Jesus said in great distress, with a sigh that came straight from the heart, ‘Where have you put him?’ They said, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept; and the Jews said, ‘See how much he loved him!’ But there were some who remarked, ‘He opened the eyes of the blind man, could he not have prevented this man’s death?’ Still sighing, Jesus reached the tomb: it was a cave with a stone to close the opening. Jesus said, ‘Take the stone away.’ Martha said to him, ‘Lord, by now he will smell; this is the fourth day.’ Jesus replied, ‘Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. Then Jesus lifted up his eyes and said:
‘Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer.
I knew indeed that you always hear me,
but I speak for the sake of all these who stand round me,
so that they may believe it was you who sent me.’
When he had said this, he cried in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, let him go free.’
Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him.
MAKING A SPIRITUAL COMMUNION.
Even if we cannot be at mass and receive Holy Communion, we can always make a Spiritual Communion. God will always fill our hearts with his grace if we ask.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE THIS SHEET BY EMAIL OR YOU KNOW SOMEONE ELSE WHO WOULD PLEASE TELL FR DAVID ON email@example.com
In 1849 there Cholera broke out in Plymouth. The Vicar of S. Peters, Fr George Rundle Prynne laboured night and day amongst the sick and the dying in his very poor Parish. He was assisted in this by one the very first Anglican sisterhoods, which had opened a house in Devonport, the nuns visited and cared for the distressed and the sick. One day they asked Fr Prynne for some help in this work, they didn’t ask for more medicine, more resources or better organisation – they asked him for the eucharist. To carry out this work in such horrid circumstances they asked to be able to receive Holy Communion every day. At the time that was revolutionary, in many Anglican churches the eucharist was celebrated only a few times a year, not even every Sunday. Fr Prynne responded to their request and so in S, Peters Plymouth, in the midst of a Cholera epidemic, Mass was said every day, for the time in the Church of England since the Reformation.
We too face an epidemic. One that is very different to Cholera and in a world very different to that of 1849, amongst other things we have much more knowledge of the nature and spread of infection. Painfully it means that most people are unable to attend Mass or receive Holy Communion. But I think the eucharist is just as important to us at this time, as was to those Christians in 1849. It calls us to be more faithful to it not less and to go deeper into its mystery. What matters is not making My Communion or Me attending a service, but what Christ does in the eucharist. The transformation of bread and wine into his body and blood, the transformation of the ordinary into the heavenly. The fact that it is done in every community, every day, is Christ offering the sacrifice of his love in that community. That is why even if you cannot be present and I must celebrate it without a congregation or even a minister, the first thing we must do is to be faithful to is its celebration.
As Christians our worship at this time will principally be one of private prayer. But what we must not do is to sink into a private pietism, but to realise the true nature of prayer. Prayer is not so much what we say or do before God, but rather God praying and working in us His Church. It is never a solitary activity, because by bring us into God, it brings us into a relationship with our brothers and sisters and with the saints. My hope is that as we pray individually but not alone, we will grow in our life of prayer and be able to bring it transforming power to the needs of this time. It is greatest thing that we can do.
In the 1866 Cholera broke out in Wapping. The church of S. Peters, London Docks had only been consecrated a few days before. Its priest Fr Lowder was of those who restored the beauty and centrality of the eucharist to the heart of the Anglican Church, but what won the hearts of the people of Wapping to him, was his ministry during that time. He was seen carrying sick children through the streets in his arms to the local hospital. One day near the hospital he was found having a nap in a doorway, he explained that he had just tended someone who had died and was having a slight rest before he was called back to tend someone else. For him those actions were the outward expression of his faith in the eucharist. Such a style of pastoral care is sadly probably not possible today, there are different demands on us as a church in this time, and in our witness to God. But the example of Fr Lowder reminds us that the outward expression of pray is always the active love we have for our neighbour, especially our neighbour in need. As Christians at this time much will be demanded of our love, but we must look to our neighbours and to our community, in whatever ways we can.
When we can properly gather together again as a congregation, how wonderful it would be if we have shown that even in our isolation that we are a community of faithfulness and love.
My prayers are with all of you, at this time and you are remembered daily at the altar. Please join in that by your prayers and by making a Spiritual Holy Communion.
© Fr D Sherratt March 2020. Fr David exerts his right as author of this piece and to its Intellectual Property
If you want us to bring someone or something to our Lord in prayer, please let Fr David know. Prayer is one of the most important things that we can do at this time.
Please remember these people in your prayers
MASS is at the moment said everyday by Fr David in the Vicarage. On most days he tries to say it around 9 am. He has set up the front room of the Vicarage as a chapel, so that Mass is visible from the road, the Blessed Sacrament is also reserved there (as well as in church). He tries to say his Offices in front of the Sacrament.
Currently the Bishop has forbidden us to say mass in the church building, even in private, and we are abiding to this.
OUR PARISH LIFE
HOW TO PRAY THE ROSARY. The Bishop of Fulham has gone on YouTube. He has put a very good video up how to Pray the Rosary. Lots of people have Rosaries and often they are unused. Why not dig them out, watch the video and pray. It can be found on youtube here
AGM & PCC, Our APCM which was scheduled for Divine Marcy Sunday is now cancelled. The necessary legal actions have been taken to extend the deadline for an APCM until much later in the year. Fr David will announce a new date in due course. Meanwhile the Church Wardens and the PCC members remain in office. As soon as we are able to we will meet as a PCC to lead our Parish in its way forward.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNIONS. We will start Preparation once we have resumed Sunday Services etc., If you are interested please email Fr David with names.
WALSINGHAM YOUTH PILGRIMAGE 2020. If you are aged 11‑18 and would like to come this year email Fr David for a form.
HOMELESS. The Church Housing Trust, which is one of the charities that we support at S. Michaels is raising emergency funds to help the homeless in London during this Crisis. You can donate at https://churchhomelesstrust.org.uk/donations
RESTORATION WORK. In the light of the latest government and diocesan advice, the start date for this has now been postponed.
FUNERALS. If sadly you know of anyone who has to arrange a Funeral over the coming weeks. please advise them that if they want a member of the clergy to take the service, they will have tell that to the undertaker, otherwise they will be given a Civil Celebrant. Fr David is happy to conduct funerals for anyone over the coming weeks. If people want this please tell the undertakers and give them the contact details on this sheet.
PASTORAL WORK If you need him for something or just want a chat, please phone or email Fr David, he is here for you. During the current situation either email him on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him on 0779432357
If you are self-isolating and need help getting shopping etc, please let him know and he will do his best to find someone to help you.
A kind person has donated a quantity of food etc. for a family or persons who may need it. Please contact Fr David if we could help you or someone you know of.
PARISH PRIEST. Fr David Sherratt. Tel. 0779432357
Baptisms, Weddings, forms etc. Please email Fr David.
Assistant Priest Fr Derek Robinson
Churchwardens Mr Peter Ludlow, Mr Christopher Harper