Rector’s Message

 

The Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross is open daily between 10am and 4.00pm for individual prayer in line with social distancing and  hand hygiene guidelines.

The Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross is open for worship  as listed under Services in line with social distancing and  hand hygiene guidelines.

ZOOM SERVICES

Zoom Services on Sundays will continue on a monthly basis  – the first Sunday of the month at 5pm.

To participate please telephone Ian Newton on 01328 830947 or email iannewton46@ gmail.com. You will be warmly welcomed.

Ian Whittle is very keen that we continue to offer services for any who are not able to come to church.

I have been delighted to take part in Divine Worship on Zoom, made possible by Mr. Ian & Canon Fiona Newton, with whom I’ve worked closely over these last months. Vast thanks to all.

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RECTOR’S LETTER

Dear Friends and Parishioners,
This time of year, late summer/early autumn is for me a reflection of the Glory of God. I wonder if you know the poem by

Gerard Manley Hopkins “Hurrahing in Harvest”? “Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks rise/ Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour/ Of silk-sack clouds!” The Glory of God, mirrored there in nature is of course one of the great themes of scripture.

In the Old Testament ‘glory’ is the visible and supernatural ‘showing’ of the majesty of God; and the Hebrew word for ‘glory’ (kabod) means ‘weight’ or ‘substance’’; and this making known of the presence of a personal Deity produces awe. Awe, as well as the presence of God is hard to explain to one who has never experienced it, but it is something to be experienced by the humble, devout believer. Adam and Eve felt no awe in the presence of God before the Fall, but surely did when they approached Him afterwards. But approach they did, because He beckoned; and He beckons us still to a restored relationship with Himself, to, in a sense, a life of glory.

There is a house in north Norfolk, which I have often visited which had, instead of the usual parapet (it’s quite a grand house), stone letters proclaiming to all the world, the allegiance, the prayer, and the experience of the family down the centuries: “Gloria Deo in excelsis”. It is God’s presence which bestows obvious favour and assurance on his people and marks them out as his own, for his glory. To be with, and bless His people is what God wants – hence His covenant with Israel, hence the sending of His Son for this contractual agreement was sealed everlastingly with the red blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What distinguishes God? His Glory. What motivates God? His love. To what end does He work? The restoration of all things, including our broken relationship with Him.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that everyone that believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life.” This is the heart of the Gospel. Not “God is love” – which is true but does not imply any action on His part. BUT “God so loved…” that He gave. He gave. In a place and at a time God in Christ took off His robes of glory and was lifted up only in shame and the Author of life died for what He had made. And that glorious degradation on behalf of the whole world is the only act that can save the world, or any individual. Only divine self-giving changes our destiny from one of punishment or a delightful walk in the garden in the cool of the day.

Like and unlike Adam of old we must come before the Lord of Glory, most often in private wearing nothing but our shame and holding only to the cross of Jesus Christ.

May this Autumn be for us a time of turning.
Yours truly,
Ian Whittle The Rectory, Langham 01328 830 246