Christmas 2018 At All Saints

Join us this Christmas at All Saints.
Sunday 16th December:
6.30pm Carol Service
Thursday 20th  December:
6.30pm Leavesden Green Hub Carols
Christmas Eve: 3pm Crib Service 11.30pm Midnight Mass Christmas Day: 8.00am Holy Communion 10am Family Communion

Dear Friends: April - The Seed that Dies

Happy Easter! Together this lent we have travelled with Jesus through the wilderness and the road he walked to Jerusalem. We have watched and prayed as Christ suffered and was crucified. We have discovered the empty tomb and met Jesus on Easter Sunday. Now the journey goes on through the Easter season.

The wonder of that journey is one that we may struggle to fully understand. Yet we know the ending of the story, one of Resurrection and Ascension and Pentecost. The disciples did not, even though Jesus gave them plenty of clues in the time before the events of the first Easter.

Jesus said:
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”
If Jesus is the seed, then we here today are a part of the fruit. We may confess boldly that Jesus died and rose for us, and in the simplest sense, it means this: That unless Jesus as the seed had fallen into the ground and died then there would be no resurrection and no Church. The death of Jesus was not just a historical accident, tragic in its inevitability, but through the resurrection becomes the turning point of God’s plan in history.

That pattern of death and new life reaches out beyond that moment in history. It is seen in the blood of the martyrs, in the sacrifice of countless individuals. It stands in stark contrast to the obsession with self that sometimes dominates our culture.

Jesus says:
“Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
The world life does not just mean a biological process, but rather who we are. Today we might talk about our lifestyle, and Jesus says we must be willing to let it go to have the fullness of eternal life. Sacrifice and loss are essential in following Jesus.

That pattern of death and new life goes beyond us as individuals. It applies to whole movements in the church. Throughout history, different expressions of church have grown up and withered away. This is hard for all of us.

The catholic tradition, which originally established All Saints, that was so successful in the Church of England that many parishes that embraced it began to view themselves as Middle of the Road, is waning. Not the faith and spirituality, but rather the lifestyle. Not so much the what and why of what we do, but the how. As a movement we have to let go of some of the externals we cherished, allow them to fall into the ground and die so something new may be born.

For me the reality of this came home a few years ago, as I discovered that those who shared my passion for people falling in love with Jesus were people that worshipped in a very different way to me. I had to abandon some prejudices and anger. I went back to the spiritual desire of those who first longed for catholic renewal in the Church of England. Then to be catholic – or apostolical as they called it - meant personal daily prayer, a focus on the Eucharist and an openness to the work of God in peoples lives. It was a simpler time - much of the richness of our tradition at All Saints would have been considered far too ‘Continental’!

But that richness is one thing that still has much to offer people searching for Jesus today. That heart for God present among us in sign and symbol is as vital as ever. I am committed to both.

Yet the challenge remains. What that we do as a church needs to fall into the ground and die that we may bear much fruit? What within us as followers of Jesus has to fall into the ground and die that we may know the fullness of new life?

As we celebrate together the Easter season let our hearts be open to God to hear the answers that together we may be filled with resurrection life.

God Bless,

Fr. Eddie

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