We come now to a feast of Ends and Beginnings. This Sunday is the last Sunday in the cycle of the Christian year, which ends with the feast of Christ the King, and next Sunday we begin our journey through time to eternity once more, with the first Sunday of Advent.
We might expect the Feast of Christ the King to end the year with climactic images of Christ enthroned in Glory, seated high above all rule and authority, one before whom every knee shall bow, and of course those are powerful and important images, images of our humanity brought by him to the throne of the Heavens.
But alongside such images we must also set the passage in Matthew (25:31-46) in which Christ reveals that even as He is enthroned in Glory, the King who comes to judge at the end of the ages, he is also the hidden King, hidden beneath the rags and even in the flesh of his poor here on earth.
This passage in Matthew is especially challenging to us now in the midst of a major refugee crisis triggered by the dreadful violence in Syria and Iraq. It should be possible to be alert to and vet those malicious persons who might try to infiltrate themselves amongst genuine refugees. But it is clear that the huge numbers of widows and children in desperate need are no threat to anyone, but rather themselves threatened by the terrorists whom we oppose.
Malcolm Guite wrote this poem responding to the Gospel reading for the feast of Christ the King.
Mathew 25: 31-46
Our King is calling from the hungry furrows
Whilst we are cruising through the aisles of plenty,
Our hoardings screen us from the man of sorrows,
Our soundtracks drown his murmur: ‘I am thirsty’.
He stands in line to sign in as a stranger
And seek a welcome from the world he made,
We see him only as a threat, a danger,
He asks for clothes, we strip-search him instead.
And if he should fall sick then we take care
That he does not infect our private health,
We lock him in the prisons of our fear
Lest he unlock the prison of our wealth.
But still on Sunday we shall stand and sing
The praises of our hidden Lord and King.
Services throughout BTCP this weekend:
Sunday, 21st November, the Feast of Christ the King.
8am Communion St Peter’s
10am Communion St Peter’s: I shall preside and preach
10am Communion St Augustin’s: The Rev’d Dr David Wheeler.
10.45am Communion: St Stephen’s: The Rev’d David Lund.
4pm Choral Evensong: St Peter’s
The monthly Prayer Meeting wiil be held in the Keble Chapel at St Peter’s at 7.30 pm on Monday, 22nd November. All are welcome. The side door, opposite the Mary Shelley, will be open for five minutes before 7.30pm.
Amongst others, your prayers are asked for those who are approaching the end of their lives: particularly for Trevor Lambe.
Their many friends will be very sad to hear that Ann Baker suffered a stroke during this past week and died. Pray, please, for Steve and their children, Robert, Helen, James and Susan. Ann’s Funeral Service will be at St Peter’s on Monday, 29th November, at 1.30 pm. Join us in giving thanks for Ann.
Equally, with deep commiseration to Keith, the many friends of Betty and Keith Lomas will want to support Keith and his family at Betty’s Funeral Service at St Stephen’s at 11am on Thursday, 25th November.
Services next Sunday, 28th November: Advent Sunday
8am St Peter’s: Communion
10am St Peter’s: Communion: I shall preside and our good friend, the Rev’d Dr Gareth Sherwood, will preach.
10am St Augustin’s: Communion: The Rev’d Steve Parselle.
10.45am St Stephen’s: Communion: The Rev’d Stephen Holmes.
4pm St Peter’s: Advent Carol Service
Might we politely ask you to be just a little more conscious than we have been recently of the desirability of making and keeping church as a safe space? Please, let us refrain from leaning over others and from hugging them? Masks can be worn at worship in all three churches – although it is no longer a legal requirement. Sanitising remains a safe practice. If you don’t want to be next to folk who are singing robustly, just quietly and politely move away. Our churches are large enough to accommodate people with a variety of views and vulnerabilities.
Communion will continue to be offered in one kind (bread only, dipped lightly into the consecrated wine) to those who queue, one by one, distanced, in the main aisle.
Let me know, please, if you can help with teaching in Sunday School – it is an urgent and sharp need, to enable us to care properly for the many children who are brought to our churches.
Enjoy the week!
he Rev’d Dr Ian A. Terry
DTh, PhD, MA, FRSA
Visiting Research Fellow: Winchester University
Team Rector: Bournemouth Town Centre
Chair: Local Governing Body: Bournemouth Collegiate School
18 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 6NT
Registered Charity Number: 1186400