Father Philip Writes...
‘If a man who was rich enough in this world’s goods saw that one of his brothers was in need, but closed his heart to him, how could the love of God be living in him? My children, our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active’
(1 John 3 v 17-19)
Harvest calls us to open our eyes to people in need. When we see people in need, our first reaction is often to judge them; we may say ‘it’s their fault’ or we may be sorry for them but turn away. A Christian who does not care is like a lamp that doesn’t give light. The passage from St John’s first Epistle above calls us to have loving, caring hearts.
John Henry Newman wrote the words:
St Teresa of Calcutta said that material poverty is often the only poverty which most
people are aware of, but there is a worse poverty than that and it is to be lonely, unloved or unwanted. It is possible to be materially well-off and yet be amongst the poorest of the poor.
At Harvest we shall be supporting the poorest of the poor by supporting St Martin’s Housing Trust in Norwich as we have done for many years.
I appeal to you all to be generous. St Martins is doing great work in helping some of the most vulnerable in our society to face life again.
From 8th October we begin Bible Study in the Old Schoolroom on Monday evenings, which is open to all, beginning with a bring & share supper. We invite you to come, irrespective of your religious convictions, to learn more about God’s Word, so that the light of Jesus in each of us may shine more deeply in our lives.
HNovember is a month of prayer for the dead, hence we have a number of Requiems in our calendar of prayer. At St Mary’s we pray for the dead in Christ and all the dead whose faith is known to God alone. Very few of us are ready for the intense joys of Heaven at the moment of death and so we are prepared for them in a state of enlightenment, growth and purification between earth and heaven which we call ‘Paradise’.
Paradise is a word for God’s garden of rest. It does not mean the same as Heaven, to which Jesus ascended 42 days after his death on the cross. Jesus promised the penitent thief that he would not leave him when he passed into Paradise, that state of preparation for Heaven which his belated act of faith had opened to him. One term for this state is commonly known as Purgatory, associated with the cleansing of a soul from the tendency to sin, but unfortunately the word has a lot of negative baggage associated with it from the Middle Ages.
‘Judas [Maccabeus]… having seen the effects of the sin of those who had fallen; after this he took a collection from them individually, amounting to nearly two thousand drachmae, and sent it to Jerusalem to have a sacrifice for sin offered, an altogether fine and noble action, in which he took full account of the resurrection. For if he had not expected the fallen to rise again it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.’