Letter from the Priest in charge and Parish Notices

Dear All

The week ahead is full of textures and colours that inform our very being. Think of the many ways we use our bodies and the gifts of creation in the liturgies of Holy Week: We wave palm branches. We kneel at the proclamation of the Death of the Lord. We use water to wash one another’s feet. We touch or kiss the wood of the cross. The Easter Vigil alone offers us a symphony for our bodily senses—fire, incense, bells, water, oil, and of course, bread and wine. As we enter into the mysteries from Palm/Passion Sunday through the Resurrection joy of Easter, we can pray with the fullness of our own bodies. One poignant and tragic moment during the arrest of Jesus is Peter’s denial, a moment that is both heartbreaking and familiar.

Caravaggio’s The Denial of Saint Peter invites us into this moment with psychological intensity. We meet three characters standing together in the dark of night: a military guard, a maidservant, and Saint Peter himself. The visual narrative moves from left to right. The guard turns toward the maidservant, while she regards him with intensity. Her starkly-lit face symbolizes the harsh and condemning truth she is sharing about Peter’s denial. The guard’s face is in darkness, showing that he does not yet fully understand, but he is leaning in to hear and eyeing Peter carefully. His raised hand with an extended finger shows his understanding dawning. The maid’s hands right behind his are more clearly accusatory, pointing right at Peter.

Peter is at the right side of the scene, cast in a softer light. His hands point to his own chest, offering a self-condemning conclusion to the movement of hands in the scene. Though he did deny the Lord three times, it was his fear speaking, not his understanding. After the cock crowed, he realized the truth of what had happened. Jesus had foretold the scene, not condemning but plainly stating Peter’s need for healing, forgiveness, and faith. This truth casts Peter in the soft light of compassion, and he is able to turn his hands inward as if to accept the need for healing and forgiveness.

Caravaggio’s depiction of Peter also emphasizes the complexity of betrayal. We truly see Peter’s heartbreaking guilt, which will lead him to weep bitterly. Peter did contribute to the suffering brought on the Lord, sharing in the role of executioner, not physically but by his abandonment and denial. 

The story of the Passion is full of moments of violence, tragedy, heartache, and pain. May we stand with Peter around the fire in the soft light of healing truth.

The Reverend Anne Price

Parish Notices

  • Preparations for Easter: Donations for flowers to Jill Woodside or to the parish office; Working bee for brass cleaning etc: Saturday 10:00 am in the lounge; Floral Cross: please bring garden flowers next Sunday morning.
  • For Maundy Thursday: If you would like to take part in the foot washing during the Mass, please sign the list at the back of the church. After the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament remains on the Altar of Repose until the next day. Membersof the congregation keep watch for an hour during the night. If you can do this,please sign the list at the back of the church so that we can ensure that at least
    two people are present at all times. Details Stephen Woodside (338 9590).
  • Supper after the Easter Vigil on Saturday: please bring finger food to share.
  • Easter Raffle: tickets on sale today, $2 each or 3 for $5. To be drawn on 8 April.
  • Deadline Tuesday for material for Holy Week and Easter Trumpets.
  • Vestry meets on Tuesday, beginning with Mass at 6:00 pm.
  • Meditation Group meets in the Lady Ch apel on Wednesday at 12 noon.Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
  • Daylight saving ends next weekend: clocks go back one hour.
  • Lunch at Regatta on Avon: Easter Day 12 noon. Details Alice.
  • Palm Sunday to Easter 2017: if you would like to read Fr Andrew’s sermons(in print or by email) copies are available from the parish office.
  • The Women’s Fellowship thanks everyone who supported the soup and baking stall
    last Sunday. Your generosity is appreciated.
  • Parish AGM 15 April: reports to parish office please.
  • Book Swap: in the parish lounge. CDs also available. Koha to parish.
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your giftsof groceries and other household items.

Letter from the Priest in charge and Parish Notices

Dear All

This Sunday begins the fortnight of Passiontide. As summer fades into Autumn and the leaves begin to turn. So we turn our heads towards Holy Week and the Cross. Let this week be one where you pause, reflect and pray, before we journey together into Holy Week.

During his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh painted a number of works with the sower and with wheat fields. This particular image is one of the sower with the setting sun, and stands by the Japanese-style tree transecting the image. The use of colour is also remarkable: the yellow sun, green sky, pink clouds, purple fields, the black-blue tree and the blue-green figure give us a surreal colour palette. We feel it’s the end of a cold day, despite the large sun. The surreal colours also hint at an otherworldly reality. The image is deeply evocative of death and letting go, though the subject matter of sowing seeds also brings with it the themes of hope and anticipation of new life.

Three elements form the major parts of the image: the yellow sun, the dark tree branch, and the blue-green figure of the sower. For van Gogh, these were regular symbols; the sun evoked the divine and the sower anticipated the future. These two together give us a sense of the end times with hope for the Reign of God. Along these lines, the tree, especially in its stark darkness as it transects the image, is evocative of the cross. One does not get to experience the promise of future hope and fullness without grappling with the reality of the cross.

A beautiful gesture offered by the sower is one of letting go. Casting the golden seeds on the purple ground is more than just a perfunctory act—it is letting go, literally and figuratively, so that these seeds may find good soil and so that new life may emerge. Jesus’ words from the Gospel echo throughout the painting: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Death here pertains to the seed, to Jesus foreshadowing his own Passion, and to each of us facing finitude, both daily and at the end of our lives. Yet, the seeds which the sower drops are golden, reflecting the large sun dominating the back of the image and reflecting the eternal life of the divine. In the field, the sower carries on, even as he nears the tree, with determination, resolve, and hope.

Commentary is by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, assistant professor of liturgy, catechesis, and evangelization at Loyola University New Orleans.

 

Parish Notices

  • Vicarage Building Fund: home baking and pottles of soup provided by the Women’s Fellowship are available today in the hall after Mass. Please give generously.
  • Easter Raffle: wonderful prizes on offer. Tickets available today, $1 each or 3 for $5. To be drawn on Low Sunday.
  • Palm Sunday to Easter 2017: if you would like to read Fr Andrew’s sermons (in print or by email) please contact the parish office before Friday to receive your copy by Sunday.
  • Stations of the Cross: today at 5:00 pm.
  • Bible Study Group meets tomorrow, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Women’s Fellowship meets Tuesday 10:30 am in the parish lounge. Margaret Burrell will speak about the Rebirth of Drama in the Western World from its beginning within the Easter Mass. Please remember items for Walsh House. All welcome. Details Pat Evans (358 0127).
  • Meditation Group meets in the Lady Chapel on Wednesday at 12 noon. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
  • Lent Study Groups: Thursday at 11:00 am and 6:00 pm.
  • Palm Sunday ceremonies begin at 9:30 am in the school atrium.
  • Parish AGM 15 April: reports to parish office by next Sunday please.
  • Book Swap: in the parish lounge. CDs also available. Koha to parish.
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.

Letter from the Priest in charge and Parish Notices

Dear All

I am often thinking about the speed with which time seems to pass, but here we are more that half way through Lent. I was drawn into this weeks image where time seems to have stopped, and voices seem to be heard in whispers. Our lives seem to be led in exactly the opposite, in the brightest of lights and an ever turning travellator. So take a moment to reflect upon this image. What would you say if you had precious moments with Jesus?

From James Tissot’s famous Bible illustration series, the Interview between Jesus and Nicodemus strives to depict with careful attention to period detail the scene from John’s Gospel in which Nicodemus seeks out Jesus at night to learn more from him about his teaching.

Tissot researched his Bible series by traveling to the Holy Land, and the details in clothing, furnishings, and domestic life all help transport the viewer into the world of the Bible, or at least the Middle East at the turn of the 20th century. Even more compelling than the setting, though, is the intimacy between the figures of Jesus and Nicodemus. The image communicates the hospitality, warmth, and friendship that are available to us no matter who we are or when we arrive at Christ’s door.

Jesus and Nicodemus are seated close to one another. One can almost hear their hushed tones, their low voices so as not to disturb the sleeping world around them. Jesus embodies hospitality—he looks squarely yet kindly at Nicodemus as he explains to him what has become the most quoted passage of the New Testament: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” Jesus reaches over with one hand to reassure Nicodemus and invite his friendship. There is no sense in Christ that Nicodemus is intruding at this late hour, but he welcomes him and meets him where he is with kindness and truth. Nicodemus leans in and looks down; he is listening intently and seems deeply moved by the words.

With this understanding, the removed shoes in front of the mat, a sign of domestic tradition, here become symbols of something more: the holy ground of encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus, a holy ground for friendship and reconciliation, for healing and finding truth.

Commentary is by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, assistant professor of liturgy, catechesis, and evangelization at Loyola University New Orleans.

The Reverend Anne Price

 

Parish Notices

  • Communion at 3: is going to be a little different today. Meeting for a social get-together at 4:00 pm before going to the Cathedral at 5:00 pm to support Revd Anne who is preaching there at Evensong. Evensong at S. Michael’s as usual at 7:00 pm.
  • Stations of the Cross: Sundays at 5:00 pm during Lent.
  • Bible Study Group meets weekly during Lent, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Meditation Group meets in the Lady Chapel on Wednesdays at 12 noon. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
  • Parish Trust meets Wednesday 5:15 pm in the parish lounge.
  • Lent Study Groups: Thursdays at 11:00 am and 6:00 pm in the parish lounge.
  • Vicarage Building Fundraiser: the Women’s Fellowship will make available takeaway soup and home baking once a month in the hall after Mass, in return for a generous donation to the Vicarage Building Fund. This will begin next Sunday—please bring plenty of spare cash!
  • Donations for Easter flowers may be given to Jill Woodside or the Wardens on Sundays or left in the parish office during the week.
  • Parish AGM 15 April: reports to parish office by 25 March please.
  • Double knitting or 4 ply wool, any colour, needed to make hats for distribution through Walsh House. Please place in basket at the back of the church.
  • Book Swap: in the parish lounge. Koha to parish.
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.

Letter from the Priest in charge and Parish Notices

Dear All,

I am a visual person, I tend to think and remember far more accurately through images. This week’s painting is one that challenges and draws the eye into the raw emotions. Please do look at this on line and see for yourselves the detail.


Quentin Matsys, the Flemish master of the 16th century, was known for his caricature painting and satirical commentary. In his Jesus Chasing the Merchants from the Temple, we see his caricatural style shine. Each person in this image has a unique expression, even the lamb being carried away in the centre of the scene. Matsys was not one for flattery—the faces of some of the merchants border on grotesque, though not all. He is careful to maintain these as human faces, ones we can identify with and see ourselves in.
The scene includes the range of characters noted in the Gospel story. Christ is in the centre, driving out the merchants with his rope whip, three merchants receiving his blows. One of them, perhaps a money changer, lies on the ground, his table flipped, his coins scattered. Another merchant is just making his escape with a lamb on his back, while the most grotesque one on the left is trying to get away with his goods under his arms. In the back left, three distinguished-looking men observe—these are perhaps the Jewish leaders who debate with Christ about the Temple in John’s
Gospel. To the right of the scene are three additional onlookers: one more merchant partially concealed by a sack, a seated figure, and a Temple-goer, whom we see in profile.
The setting evokes the idea of the Temple, but in fact it is a high-Gothic church contemporary to the artist’s time, perhaps the Cathedral of Antwerp, the town where the artist was most active. Likewise, the colourful clothes each character wears tell us that Matsys set this scene not in the Temple of first-century Jerusalem, but in his own 16th century. This is a not-so-subtle satirical commentary suggesting that perhaps the Church at his time needed Jesus’ cleansing. Yet, through the use of thoroughly human faces, it is not just the people of Matsys’s time that needed repentance and
purification. The image invites us to see ourselves in it as well, to see and acknowledge honestly those areas of our lives needing a major cleaning. The variety of faces offer several entry points for us—the person on the ground, the one escaping, the one looking on, the one hiding, the one at a critical
distance—where do we find ourselves in this image?

Commentary is by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, assistant professor of liturgy, catechesis, and evangelisationat Loyola University New Orleans.

The Reverend Anne Price

Parish Notices

  • Lunch at Regatta on Avon: today at 12 noon. Details Alice.
  • Flowers for Mothering Sunday: please bring small posies for blessing and giving to mothers and caregivers next Sunday, when we will be joined by the school community.
  • Communion at 3: next Sunday at 3:00 pm.
  • Stations of the Cross: Sundays at 5:00 pm during Lent.
  • Bible Study Group meets weekly during Lent, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Climate Action Group meets in the parish lounge on Tuesday at 1:30 pm.
  • Needlework Group meets in the parish lounge on Tuesday at 7:15 pm. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Meditation Group meets in the Lady Chapel on Wednesdays at 12 noon. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
  • Lent Study Groups: Thursdays at 11:00 am and 6:00 pm in the parish lounge.
  • Saturday Breakfast: 10 March at 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Ros Calvert.
  • Parish AGM 15 April: reports to parish office by 25 March please.
  • Double knitting or 4 ply wool, any colour, needed to make hats for distribution through Walsh House. Please place in basket at the back of the church.
  • Book Swap: in the parish lounge. Koha to parish.
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.