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Showing posts from May, 2020

The Spirit moves in mysterious ways

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Laude SpiritualeFifty days after Jesus' Resurrection, the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles and Mary in the Upper Room. There was much wind, fire, and speaking in tongues. According to the Book of Acts, the Apostles then proceeded to convert 3000 people. As such, it is often referred to as the birthday of the Church. 
Ever since then, the Church has been guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Throughout her two thousand year history, the Church has, on occasion, required a revitalizing, Pentecostal booster-shot. One example of such a shot is the musical genre of Laude Spirituale--vernacular sacred songs which flourished in Italy from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries. 
Laude first appear in the thirteenth century following the founding of the Mendicant Orders (e.g. the Dominicans and Franciscans). As Franciscan street preaching was often accompanied by the informal singing of sacred songs, it is perhaps no surprise that the first recorded Laude was written by none other than St F…

A Fiery Carriage

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''As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind as if into heaven.'' 2 Kings 2.11
Frequent readers of this blog may have noticed that I rather like talking about 'types'--that is, characters or events in the Old Testament pre-figuring those in the New. As we enter Ascension-tide, it is worth reflecting on the story of the conclusion of Elijah's early life and how it relates to the ascension of Jesus' in the Book of Acts. Parallels are often drawn between these two stories and rightly so--both Elijah and Jesus deliver farewell addresses to their follower(s) before before an skywards ascent. As is often the case with 'types', it is what is different that causes one to think and reflect. There are two that I would like to explore in detail. 

Let us first explore the question of destination. We know that Christ ascended into heaven--a unique occurrence in histor…

You're Invited - SPCS Virtual Day of Giving!

St Paul's Choir School is hosting a virtual Day of Giving on June 5th 2020.
Please see the above video for more information and have a look at the link below:
https://www.boostmyschool.com/orgs/saint-pauls-choir/campaigns/spcsgiving2020

I'll not leave you comfortless...

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The Farewell Discourse For the last week and a half, the Gospel readings at mass have all been taken from John 14-17. This will continue until Ascension Thursday. These four chapters follow on directly from John's Last Supper narrative (with Judas having just left) and contain Jesus' final teachings and 'goodbyes' to the remaining Apostles before his passion and death. As such, these chapters are collectively known as the Farewell Discourse. In it, Jesus offers his peace to the eleven, tells them that he is going away, announces of the coming of the Holy Spirit, reiterates the importance of the New Commandment ('love one another'), presents himself as the 'True Vine', and prepares the disciples to be hated in his name. Following this, Jesus prays the High Priestly Prayer [John 17] which serves as a theological prelude to the Passion narrative that is about to begin. 
Reading the Farewell Discourse during Eastertide serves several purposes. Firstly, it …

I am the way, the truth, and the life...

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No one comes to the Father except through meThe original Coventry Cathedral (a splendid, medieval building) was destroyed in 1940 as a result of a Luftwaffe raid. Rather than rebuilding and restoring it, the Cathedral's Provost, the Rev'd Richard Howard, was adamant that the ruined building should remain as such to act as a permanent reminder of our Christian duty to both forgive and seek forgiveness. Erecting a cross of charred timber beams on the scorched high altar, he inscribed the words: 'Father, Forgive' into the stone.  

Adjacent to the ruined cathedral, a new building was built between 1956 and 1962 to a design by Basil Spence. Provost Howard's intention was that the old cathedral would tell the story of the Crucifixion whilst the new told the story of the Resurrection. 
The vast, new cathedral is furnished accordingly. Jacob Epstein's 25ft high sculpture of St Michael's victory over the devil greets you at the porch. The huge, aisle-less nave is flo…