Welcome to S. Michael’s today. The main theme of this morning’s reading from the letter to the Ephesians is the unity of the Church in one Spirit. The writer begs the Ephesians to live a life worthy of their calling with all humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with each other and making every effort to sustain the unity of the Church in the bond of peace.
We recall these sentiments when we come to the Peace in the Mass. In some places it can seem like an intermission, but that mistakes its intention. The sharing of the Peace is actually a very solemn part of the Mass. The words that follow draw us towards the intent of the action and they are inspired by this passage:
E te whanau, we are the Body of Christ. By one Spirit we were baptised into one body.
Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Amen. We are bound by the love of Christ.
By these words we recall who we are. We are not separate individuals, but rather we are part of a body and we got there through baptism in the Holy Spirit. The unity of the Church is not something that we have to strive for humanly, indeed it is beyond our striving anyway. The unity of the Church is a given and our choice is whether or not we live into it. Even in the microcosm of this congregation, we know how costly this can be. The sharing of the Peace should remind us of this cost every time.
Our unity, though, runs well beyond this congregation. We are part of a diocese, part of a worldwide communion, indeed part of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. During the last fifty years there have been substantial moves towards unity in the attitudes of Churches and Christians towards one another on the ground. Many of us remember the fraught issues that once divided families between denominations, and today we can scarcely imagine how that could happen.
However, this progress has not been matched by the resolution of historical and contemporary signs of division, and the pain of broken or impaired communion remains. In our own communion, for example, we still find that women’s ordained ministry is not fully recognised in many Anglican dioceses and parishes, and we continue to find ourselves, as a Church, unable to treat gay people with the dignity they deserve. These and other issues represent the current growing pains of the Church and call us to humility as we read the final challenging verses:
But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
Yours in Christ,
Fr Andrew Starky
• Christchurch City Mission: many are still struggling to cope in winter conditions. Please continue to bring food and other household items for the Inasmuch Basket. Clothing and larger items may be delivered directly to 276 Hereford St.
• Sales Table: in the hall after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• There is a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
• The Bible Study Group meets tomorrow, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
• The Needlework Group meets on Tuesday, 7:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
• Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• The Canterbury Shakespeare Society meets on Thursday, 7:30 pm in the lounge.
Celebration of the Festival of the Holy Name
Mass at CSN Retreat House with Bishop Victoria
Preacher: Fr Andrew Starky
Friday at 10:30 am, followed by morning tea.
• Saturday Breakfast: 8 August, 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Anne Ladd.
• Meet People of Differing Faiths: next Sunday 4:00 pm at Elmwood Bowling Club.
• Go Tell the Gospel: Jay Behan. 15 August, 10:15 am at S. Christopher’s.
• Book Swap/Donate/Share with a Friend/Give as a gift: Modern books that you have enjoyed. Fundraising koha to Anne at the sales table. Books available in parish lounge during the week and in the hall on Sundays.
• Box lots of books are welcome at any S. Christopher’s Dove Book Shop.
Organ Recital by Jeremy Woodside
Sunday 2nd August at 2:00 pm
Featuring works by Bach, Elgar, Widor
and the New Zealand première of
Fractures: In Memoriam by Matthew Everingham
first performed by Jeremy at Westminster Abbey 22 February 2015
Door Sales: Adults $20/ Students $10