Thursday, April 26, 2012

READ: 1 Peter 5: 1-7

St Boniface was a great Englishman - yet hardly anyone in this country has heard of him, even though he was our Patron Saint for 300 years. It’s very different abroad where he is still the Patron Saint of both Germany and the Netherlands.

Boniface was born at Crediton in Devon in 675. He became a monk, but felt a calling to be a missionary, so at the age of 43 he left his monastery, never to return.

He embarked on 35 years of missionary work in various parts of Germany. In 722 he was consecrated by the Pope as Bishop of the whole of Germany to the east of the Rhine.

But being bishop didn’t give him a sense of self-importance. Like Peter in our reading, Boniface stressed the need for humility and service. When Boniface wrote to other bishops, he had a way of invariably reminding them that Christian authority meant service.

Christ’s washing of his disciples’ feet was the supreme example for him, and so, whenever another bishop sent him a present, back went a towel from Boniface.

Humility is a difficult quality to cultivate. We might think that it means being a door-mat, but that’s not so. Christian humility can include assertiveness (which is different from aggression, of course).

Above all though, humility means acknowledging that we are sinners, saved by grace.

Monday, April 2, 2012

John 13: 1-17, 31-35 and 1 Cor 11: 23-26

On Maundy Thursday we shall remember the last night Jesus spent with his disciples – his washing of the disciples' feet, the Last Supper, and his betrayal and arrest.

The word ‘Maundy’ is an old English variation of the Latin word ‘maundatum’, which means ‘commandment.’

And so on Thursday night Christians around the world will remember 3 commandments of Christ from the night before his death: "do this in remembrance of me," "love one another," and "wash one another's feet."

Communion, love, and service.

Being in the presence of God, loving our neighbour, and serving the world.

At the Last Supper Christ showed his disciples what it means to be a Christian, a disciple of his.

Communion, love, and service.

And then he went out from there, to show that love and service in practice, as he faced his death on the cross, for me, for you.