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Views from the Vicarage - June 2014

Dear Friends,

We celebrated Ascension Day on Thursday the 29th May with singing from the Tower and the Eucharist in church forty days after Easter. Christ is no longer physically present with his disciples here on earth, we do not have to go to Jerusalem to see him. He has ascended, and entered into the invisible but still real world of his Father's presence, there to intercede for us for ever. He is the sacrificial lamb, once slain as an expiation for our sins, and great High Priest, bringing Heaven and earth together.

Ten days after Ascension, the disciples were gathered together in the upper room with Mary and some women, when the Holy Spirit, like the wind and flames of fire descended upon the apostles. No longer were they frightened men, hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jews, but went out into the streets of Jerusalem to proclaim the risen Christ and some three thousand believed in Him that day and were baptised and so were the beginnings of the Church. Pentecost reminds us that God is not remote but his Spirit is within us, in our hearts and in our being. We have the Pascal (Easter) candle burning for the great fifty days between Easter and Pentecost, but now is taken away and used at baptisms and funerals. The liturgical colour for Pentecost (which means 50 days in Greek) is red, the colour of fire and flame representing the Holy Spirit. The Jews were in Jerusalem fifty days after Passover (Easter) to celebrate the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, and Peter and the other apostles were able to speak to them in their own languages. In England this feast of Pentecost has often been called White Sunday (Whitsun) after the baptisms of the first Christians and the birthday of the church and has been associated with a public holiday.

The Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday, a celebration of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Words are inadequate to express the three ways God reveals himself; as the loving Creator; in the life of Jesus; and through the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives. Yet there are not three Gods, but one God whom we encounter in three different ways. So we call this the Holy Trinity. This God, three persons of the same substance, is best expressed in the Athanasion Creed:

WHOSOEVER will be saved: before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith. Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholick Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son: and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate: and the Holy Ghost uncreate.

The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible: and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.

The Father eternal, the Son eternal: and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals: but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated: but one uncreated, and one Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty: and the Holy Ghost Almighty.And yet they are not three Almighties: but one Almighty.So the Father is God, the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is God.And yet they are not three Gods: but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord: and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords: but one Lord.

For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity: to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion: to say there be three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none: neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone: not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons: one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.

And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other: none is greater, or less than another; But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together: and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid: the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved: must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation: that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is that we believe and confess: that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds: and Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world; Perfect God, and Perfect Man: of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead: and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood. Who although he be God and Man: yet he is not two, but one Christ; One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh: but by taking of the Manhood into God; One altogether, not by confusion of Substance: but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man: so God and Man is one Christ.
Who suffered for our salvation: descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty: from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies: and shall give account for their own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting: and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
This is the Catholick Faith: which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

 

My prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar