Archbishop of Canterbury’s Christmas sermon

first_img Featured Events Rector Albany, NY Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ [Lambeth Palace] The Archbishop of Canterbury says Christmas challenges individuals and whole societies alike not to build lives based on selfishness and fear, but to be open to searching questions about identity and solidarity, stark questions that are more pressing in the wake of falling confidence in institutions and challenges to social order.In his Christmas Day sermon, delivered at Canterbury Cathedral this morning, Archbishop Rowan Williams says that the coming of Christ still poses immense challenges to the way people understand their lives and the times they live in. The Gospels are still full of questions to us about who we are and how we respond to God’s love – and early Christian writings are full of the faltering attempts to give voice in response.“Very near the heart of Christian faith and practice is this encounter with God’s questions, ‘who are you, where are you?’ Are you on the side of the life that lives in Jesus, the life of grace and truth, of unstinting generosity and unsparing honesty, the only life that gives life to others? Or are you on your own side, on the side of disconnection, rivalry, the hoarding of gifts, the obsession with control? … What we say or do in our response to Jesus is our way of discovering for ourselves and showing to one another what is real in and for us … the truth is still an uncompromising one: if you cannot or will not respond, you are walking away from reality into a realm of trackless fogbound falsehood.”The challenge, he says, is not simply to individuals but to society as a whole to find words to respond and he cites the Book of Common Prayer, which is this year celebrating its 350th anniversary, as providing an example of how a society’s response came to be articulated. It underlines, he says, notions of duty and common interest; speaking of and to a world in which the church, the state and the rich and powerful need continually to be aware of the immense obligations owed by those who have much to those who are poor and vulnerable. He says that, even though centuries old, the Prayer Book reflects far more than the social conventions of the day:” … much of this language feels dated – we don’t live in the unselfconscious world of social hierarchy that we meet here. But before we draw the easy and cynical conclusion that the Prayer Book is about social control by the ruling classes, we need to ponder the uncompromising way in which those same ruling classes are reminded of what their power is for, from the monarch downwards. And the almost forgotten words of the Long Exhortation in the Communion Service, telling people what questions they should ask themselves before coming to the Sacrament, show a keen critical awareness of the new economic order that, in the mid sixteenth century, was piling up assets of land and property in the hands of a smaller and smaller elite.’ The Prayer Book is a treasury of words and phrases that are still for countless English-speaking people the nearest you can come to an adequate language for the mysteries of faith.”He quotes from the communion service as a pointer to a developing understanding of mutual obligation:“If ye shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God but also against your neighbours; then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them; being ready to make restitution” (the Long Exhortation, Book of Common Prayer).The need to learn these lessons is all the more important, he argues, in the wake of the events of the past year:“The most pressing question we now face, we might well say, is who and where we are as a society. Bonds have been broken, trust abused and lost. Whether it is an urban rioter mindlessly burning down a small shop that serves his community, or a speculator turning his back on the question of who bears the ultimate cost for his acquisitive adventures in the virtual reality of today’s financial world, the picture is of atoms spinning apart in the dark.And into that dark the Word of God has entered, in love and judgment, and has not been overcome; in the darkness the question sounds as clear as ever, to each of us and to our church and our society: ‘Britain, where are you?’ Where are the words we can use to answer?”ENDSThe Full textWhen the first Christians read – or more probably heard – the opening words of John’s gospel, they would have understood straight away quite a lot more than we do.  They would have remembered, many of them, that in Hebrew ‘word’ and ‘thing’ are the same, and they would all have known that in Greek the word used has a huge range of meaning – at the simplest level, just something said; but also a pattern, a rationale, as we might say, even the entire structure of the universe seen as something that makes sense to us, the structure that holds things together and makes it possible for us to think.Against this background, we can get a glimpse of just what is being said about Jesus.  His life is what God says and what God does; it is the life in which things hold together; it is because of the life that lives in him that we can think.  Jesus is the place where all reality is focused, brought to a point.  Here is where we can see as nowhere else what connects all reality – all human experience and all natural laws.  Edward Elgar famously said about his Enigma Variations that they were all based on a tune that everyone knew – and no-one has ever worked out what he meant.  But John’s gospel declares that the almost infinite variety of the life we encounter is all variations on the theme that is stated in one single clear musical line, one melody, in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.  ‘In him was life, and the life was the light of men.’But this shouldn’t make us forget entirely the underlying image.  The life that lives in Jesus, the everlasting divine agency that is uniquely embodied in him, is like something that is said – a word addressed to us.  Because, like any word addressed to us, it demands a response.  And the gospel goes on at once to tell us that the expected response was not forthcoming.  Before we have even got to Christmas in the words of the gospel we are taken to Good Friday, and to the painful truth that the coming of Jesus splits the world into those who respond and those who don’t.   Once the word is spoken in the world, there is no way back.  Your response to it, says the gospel again and again, is what shows who and what you really are, what is deepest in you, what means most.  What we say or do in our response to Jesus is our way of discovering for ourselves and showing to one another what is real in and for us.  Like the other gospel writers, John hints very strongly that some people respond deeply and truthfully to Jesus without fully knowing who he is or what exactly they are doing in responding to him; this is not a recipe for tight religious exclusivism.  But the truth is still an uncompromising one: if you cannot or will not respond, you are walking away from reality into a realm of trackless fogbound falsehood.There is the question we cannot ignore.  It’s been well said that the first question we hear in the Bible is not humanity’s question to God but God’s question to us, God walking in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden, looking for Adam and Eve who are trying to hide from him.  ‘Adam, where are you?’ The life of Jesus is that question translated into an actual human life, into the conversations and encounters of a flesh and blood human being like all others – except that when people meet him they will say, like the woman who talks with him at the well of Samaria, ‘Here is a man who told me everything I ever did.’  Very near the heart of Christian faith and practice is this encounter with God’s questions, ‘who are you, where are you?’  Are you on the side of the life that lives in Jesus, the life of grace and truth, of unstinting generosity and unsparing honesty, the only life that gives life to others?  Or are you on your own side, on the side of disconnection, rivalry, the hoarding of gifts, the obsession with control?  To answer that you’re on the side of life doesn’t mean for a moment that you can now relax into a fuzzy philosophy of ‘life-affirming’ comfort.  On the contrary: it means you are willing to face everything within you that is cheap, fearful, untruthful and evasive, and let the light shine on it.  Like Peter in the very last chapter of John’s gospel, we can only say that we are trying to love the truth that is in Jesus, even as we acknowledge all we have done that is contrary to his spirit.  And we say this because we trust that we are loved by this unfathomable mystery who comes to us in the shape of a newborn child, ‘full of grace and truth’.Finding words to respond to the Word made flesh is and has always been one of the most demanding things human beings can do.  Don’t believe for a moment that religious language is easier or vaguer than the rest of our language.  It’s more like the exact opposite: think of St John writing his gospel, crafting the slow, sometimes repetitive pace of a narrative that allows Jesus to change the perspective inch by inch as a conversation unfolds.  Or of St Paul, losing his way in his sentences, floundering in metaphors as he struggles to find the words for something so new that there are no precedents for talking about it.  Or any number of the great poets and contemplatives of the Christian centuries.  It isn’t surprising if we need other people’s words a lot of the time; and it’s of great importance that we have words to hand that have been used by others in lives that obviously have depth and integrity.  That’s where the language of our shared worship becomes so important.This coming year we celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer.  It has shaped the minds and hearts of millions; and it has done so partly because it has never been a book for individuals alone.  It is common prayer, prayer that is shared.  In its origins, it was meant to be – and we may well be startled by the ambition of this – a book that defined what a whole society said to God together.  If the question ‘where are you?’ or ‘who are you?’ were being asked, not only individual citizens of Britain but the whole social order could have replied, ‘Here we are, speaking together – to recognize our failures and our ideals, to recognize that the story of the Bible is our story, to ask together for strength to live and act together in faithfulness, fairness, pity and generosity.’  If you thumb through the Prayer Book, you may be surprised at how much there is that takes for granted a very clear picture of how we behave with each other.  Yes, of course, much of this language feels dated – we don’t live in the unselfconscious world of social hierarchy that we meet here.  But before we draw the easy and cynical conclusion that the Prayer Book is about social control by the ruling classes, we need to ponder the uncompromising way in which those same ruling classes are reminded of what their power is for, from the monarch downwards.  And the almost forgotten words of the Long Exhortation in the Communion Service, telling people what questions they should ask themselves before coming to the Sacrament, show a keen critical awareness of the new economic order that, in the mid sixteenth century, was piling up assets of land and property in the hands of a smaller and smaller elite.The Prayer Book is a treasury of words and phrases that are still for countless English-speaking people the nearest you can come to an adequate language for the mysteries of faith.  It gives us words that say where and who we are before God: ‘we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep’, ‘we are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table’, but also, ‘we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs through hope of the everlasting kingdom’. It gives us words for God that hold on to the paradoxes we can’t avoid: ‘God… who art always more ready to hear than we to pray,’ ‘who declarest thy almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity, ‘whose property is always to have mercy.’  A treasury of words for God – but also a source of vision for an entire society: ‘Give us grace seriously to lay heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions’; ‘If ye shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God but also against your neighbours; then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them; being ready to make restitution’The world has changed, the very rhythms of our speech have changed, our society is irreversibly more plural, and we have – with varying degrees of reluctance – found other and usually less resonant ways of talking to God and identifying who we are in his presence.  If we used only the Prayer Book these days we’d risk confusing the strangeness of the mysteries of faith with the strangeness of antique and lovely language.  But we’re much the poorer for forgetting it and pushing it to the margins as much as we often do in the Church.  And it is crucial to remember the point about the Prayer Book as something for a whole society, binding together our obligations to God and to one another, in a dense interweaving of love and duty joyfully performed.The Prayer Book was once the way our society found words to respond to the Word, to say who and where they were in answer to God’s question.  Those who prayed the Prayer Book, remember, included those who abolished the slave trade and put an end to child labour, because of what they had learned in this book and in their Bibles about the honour of God and of God’s children.  They knew their story; they knew how to give an answer for themselves, how to join up the muddle of their experience in a coherent pattern by relating it to the unchanging truth and grace of God.  That’s why the coming year’s celebration is not about a museum piece.The most pressing question we now face, we might well say, is who and where we are as a society.  Bonds have been broken, trust abused and lost.  Whether it is an urban rioter mindlessly burning down a small shop that serves his community, or a speculator turning his back on the question of who bears the ultimate cost for his acquisitive adventures in the virtual reality of today’s financial world, the picture is of atoms spinning apart in the dark.And into that dark the Word of God has entered, in love and judgment, and has not been overcome; in the darkness the question sounds as clear as ever, to each of us and to our church and our society: ‘Britain, where are you?’  Where are the words we can use to answer?© Rowan Williams 2011 Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Anglican Communion, Press Release Service Rector Smithfield, NC Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Rector Tampa, FL Rector Washington, DC Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Tags Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Posted Dec 25, 2011 AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Featured Jobs & Calls Associate Rector Columbus, GA The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Rector Pittsburgh, PA Submit a Job Listing Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Submit an Event Listing Director of Music Morristown, NJ Rector Martinsville, VA Rector Collierville, TN Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Rector Bath, NC Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Rector Knoxville, TN Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Rector Shreveport, LA Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Curate Diocese of Nebraska Submit a Press Release Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Rector Hopkinsville, KY Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Archbishop of Canterbury’s Christmas sermon ‘Don’t build lives on selfishness and fear’ Youth Minister Lorton, VA Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Archbishop of Canterbury Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Rector Belleville, IL This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Rector and Chaplain Eugene, ORlast_img read more

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Garda Ken gets set to carry up Carrauntoohil

first_imgWhatsApp NewsCommunityGarda Ken gets set to carry up CarrauntoohilBy David Raleigh – February 22, 2020 972 Print Facebook Twitter A LIMERICK Garda is planning to carry a rowing machine to the summit of Ireland’s tallest mountain where he will row a distance of ten kilometres to raise funds for children battling terminal and serious illnesses.Ken McDonald from Ashbrook Gardens on the Ennis Road has set a €30,000 target for his “Carry up Carrauntoohill” fundraiser to cover the cost of repairs to the Share A Dream ‘Dreamland’ play area which was broken into a number of times last year.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The one of a kind fantasy play land on the Dublin Road allows for non-able bodied children to play with their able-bodied siblings and friends.A champion rower and training instructor at the Garda Training College in Templemore, Garda McDonald told the Limerick Post that he was determined to help the Share a Dream Foundation after meeting its founder Shay Kinsella last year.“To say I was blown away by the amazing work being done by the charity for seriously ill and disabled children all over Ireland for the last 27 years, would be an understatement.“Not only do Share a Dream make dreams come true for children fighting terrible life threatening illnesses but they have also built the very first ever all- inclusive magical indoor Fun Centre called Dreamland.”Garda McDonald said the charity relies solely on donations and the goodwill of the community and does not receive any government funding.“So, when the charity suffered two major break-ins last year causing thousands of euros worth of damages, I decided I had to do something to raise much needed funds for repairs and to make dreams come true for terminally ill children while raising more national awareness that the charity deserves.”“Rowing is my passion and I have been so fortunate in my career to have broken the World indoor record over 1000m last November at the Provincial rowing Championships; I won the Rhine marathon in Germany in a men’s coxed quad, and won two Gold medals at the World Masters rowing championships in Budapest.“So, whatever I decided to do, it had to be associated with rowing. After witnessing the amazing courage and determination that the children endure daily to find some quality in life, I decided I would challenge myself to the limit for Share a Dream.”He plans to carry out his ‘Carry up Carrauntoohill’ challenge on Saturday, March 28.“I will be attempting to carry my rowing machine, which weighs 26kgs up Carrauntoohill and then row 10 kilometres before bringing it back down.“My aim is to raise €30,000 rectify the damage caused by the break-ins and so that this wonderful organisation can continue making dreams come true for very sick children.”He is now encouraging people to take part in raising funds by organising a sponsored cycle on a stationary bike or rowing machine; a sponsored head shave/beard shave.“Or why not get out with the kids and go for a walk or a climb in your local area,” he suggests.Online donations can be made at on iDonate or contact 061-200080 to get a sponsor pack.center_img Email Linkedin Advertisement Previous articleCity’s churches will fill for Limerick Choral FestivalNext articleWATCH: Munster earn bonus point win over Zebre David Raleighlast_img read more

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College celebrates season with Madrigal dinner

first_imgSaint Mary’s Music Department will usher in the Christmas season this weekend with its 39th annual Madrigal dinner, a medieval-themed feast and musical performance. Junior Toni Marsteller, who scripted and directed the performance and is cast as the Wench, said the theatrics and music are interwoven in the meal rather than preceding or following it. “[The dinner features] Renaissance and medieval-style music, and there are actors who provide a little comedy throughout the dinner,” she said. Music professor Nancy Menk, who will direct the Madrigal for the 28th time, said the choir performances will include a combination of traditional songs with a few fresh selections. “Some songs are standards,” Menk said. “We always sing the Wassail Song when we bring out the Wassail bowl, we always sing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas,’ and each year I try to add one or two new songs.” First year Katie Corbett plays the role of the Jester, who taunts the other characters throughout the performance. “I’m an acting major, so I read for the Jester role, and it sounded really funny,” she said. “I’m really excited, but I’m also a little nervous. I hope everyone enjoys the show.” Corbett’s Jester conspires with junior Sophie Korson’s character, the Cook, to play tricks on the Wench. Korson, who has never participated in the Madrigal dinner before, said she decided to take part simply for the fun of it. “It sounded like fun, and I was open to trying it out,” she said. Sophomore Lauren Murphy, a member of the Women’s Choir performing at the dinner, said the performance helps spread the Christmas cheer around campus. “I like dressing up and getting into character,” she said. “The show really helps set the tone for the Christmas season.” Over her nearly three decades at the helm of the Madrigal, Wenk said the tradition has evolved significantly. “Before my time, they actually stopped the show and did an opera right in the middle of the show,” she said. “One of the major changes was to change from a co-ed to an all-women’s choir, about seven or eight years ago, to better represent Saint Mary’s College.” Menk said she is amazed by the transformative effect the show has on Regina Hall, where it is presented. “The girls look so beautiful in their dresses and the room looks amazing,” she said. “By the time we’re done with it, it’s amazing to think it’s just a dorm lounge.” The Madrigal dinner will be celebrated Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.last_img read more

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Battle Royale gamemode coming to Paladins

first_imgHi-Rez Studios has announced that Paladins will introduce a new Battle Royale game mode. The news was made public during the keynote address on the opening morning of the Hi-Rez Expo in Atlanta.The announcement at Hi-Rez Expo 2018Paladins: Battlegrounds will offer an unconventional twist on the increasingly popular battle royale genre. The genre mashup will create ability-driven combat, combined with survival gameplay and a fantasy setting to set it apart from the likes of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds which truly took 2017 by storm.Todd Harris, Hi-RezTodd Harris, Executive Producer of Paladins and Co-Founder of Hi-Rez Studios said of the news: “Riding on a mount through this massive fantasy-themed map, looking for gear and cooperating with your team, Paladins: Battlegrounds delivers some of the feel of open-world MMO PvP but all within a 20-minute match.”This mode is ‘designed from the ground-up to be played in teams’, meaning that players must work together to survive.In Paladins: Battlegrounds players spawn into a large map as per a typical battle royale map. They’ll have mounts just like in Paladins, and be able to explore and loot through various outposts as well as tracking zeppelins that drop legendary gear – much like the airdrops in PUBG. As expected, the last team standing will be the team that emerges victorious.Esports Insider says: We’re going to see a whole lot of battle royale type games appear this year trying to grab a slice of the pie that PUBG has beautifully baked this year. We have to say, a Paladins style battle royale game sounds both intriguing and exciting and we’ll definitely be trying it out.last_img read more

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