The Parish of
From the vicar
A couple of months ago I wrote down some thoughts about altars and their significance in Christian worship and ritual. In particular, I referred to ‘the altar of the living God’. The phrase serves both as a gentle reminder that the altar is more than a piece of furniture and also as a reminder that there is only one God and that he requires exclusive worship.
But who is this God? He can be described in many ways and an explanation of some of these are detailed here. How the descriptions are understood will be determined by the context in which they are found in the scriptures. It is possible to describe God in terms of the people who worship him, so he is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, this being the most profound revelation of God. He is also the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – of the Patriarchs. He is therefore the God of those who belong to the Abrahamic religions, Jews, Christians and Moslems. He is the God of Israel and his special concern for the Israelites is documented in the pages of the Old Testament. Often this is expressed in terms of his concern for the Israelites in their own land, but this is not exclusive because he is the God of the whole world, indeed of all that is.
God also has a name and titles which are expressions of his self-revelation. During the episode of the burning bush God’s name, YHWH, possibly pronounced Yahweh, is revealed to Moses. This name expresses the true and eternal nature of God, meaning, ‘I am who I am, I was who I was, I will be who I will be.’ It also expresses the understanding that all things past, present and future originate in God who is the creator of all. Sometimes the variant name ‘Yah’ is found.
The general semitic name for God is ‘El’ and it is found frequently in the Old Testament often combined with other words to form a more specific description. ‘El’ itself is associated with power and with the protection that the ancients desired from their gods. Combinations include, ‘El Shaddai’ which means God of the mountains (often translated into English as ‘God Almighty’); ‘El Elyon’ which means ‘God most high’; ‘El Olam’ (God everlasting); ‘El Roi’ (the God who sees me); El Berith (God of the Covenant).
An interesting name is ‘Elohim’ which although plural is used in relation to God in the singular. This expresses the developing understanding in Israel that there is only one god, the God of Abraham and the burning bush, but who encompasses all deity. This name is best understood as equivalent to ‘Godhead’. Another interesting appellation is ‘YHWH of Sabaoth (Hosts)’ which is a military title used to describe God fighting for Israel. It is also used to describe God in relation to the heavenly host or court.
The use of the divine name as revealed to Moses was gradually replaced in Israel by the word ‘LORD’ which is a practice routinely followed by English translations of the bible in order to show respect for the holiness of God. This type of approach is reflected to some degree by the use of ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ in St. Matthew’s Gospel as a periphrasis for ‘Kingdom of God’. Whereas Christians, believing in the incarnation and speaking easily of Jesus who brings a more intimate revelation of the deity, do not imitate Jewish scruples in this way, the practice is easily appreciated as a way of showing a proper respect to God. After all, he is the Living God, the Rock, the King, the Judge, the Shepherd, the First and the Last, the Ancient of Days. What a rich and wonderful revelation we are given in scripture!
Pray that the Church may receive a renewed vision for mission and service and that she may be properly resourced to carry out God’s work.
From the diary
Wednesday 4thSeptember, 10.00am Said Mass (Mothers’ Union corporate)
St. Peter’s Quiz Night
Saturday 7th September, 7.00pm
Cost £12 to include a fish or chicken and chips supper. Bring your own drink.
Please sign the sheet at the back of church.
Wednesday 11thSeptember, 10.00am Said Mass
The Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross
Vigil Mass for the Feast of Title
Friday 13thSeptember, 7.00pm at Holy Cross, Marsh Farm.
Preacher: Father Andrew Burton SSC
‘Lift High the Cross’
TheRichborough Family Festival
Festal Mass on Saturday 14thSeptember, 12 noon at Rochester Cathedral.
St. Mary the Virgin, Kenton
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Solemn Concelebrated Mass
Principal Celebrant and Preacher: Bishop Peter Wheatley
Sunday 15th September, 5.00pm
Wednesday 18thSeptember, 10.00am Said Mass
8.00pm Parochial Church Council in the Parish Hall
Friday 20thSeptember, 7.00pm Said Mass (St. Matthew the Apostle)
Wednesday 25thSeptember, 10.00am Said Mass
Quiet Day at Ascot Priory
Saturday 28thSeptember 2019
‘Aspects of the Beatitudes’
Addresses by Father Andrew Burton
The cost will be £20 per person. Please book with Fr. Andrew.
Sunday 29thSeptember St. Michael and All Angels
Thursday 17thOctober, 8.00pm Holy Hour with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Saturday 2ndNovember, 12 noon Requiem for All Souls’ Day
From the Registers
16thAugust Ivy Catt (aged 98 years)
Thank you to Peter Mould
Regular worshippers will be aware that Peter Mould has resigned as churchwarden on the grounds of ill-health. Everyone at St. Peter’s has been sad to hear this, but also grateful for the time and energy he has put into the role, both visibly by mowing the lawns and less obviously by managing the Health and Safety files so adeptly. We send our sincere thanks and wish Peter a full and speedy recovery.
Vicar: Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off Monday.
Churchwarden: Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923).