The Curate writes for July

The Curate writes………

I write this note at the end of the week in which I was ordained to the priesthood at Chester Cathedral and then presided at my first Eucharist at St. Cross.


Part of what it means to be a priest is that one has a representational capacity: representing the people of God to God and God to the people. This function comes into sharp focus at the point the priest presides at the Eucharist. Presiding at the Eucharist is both a great privilege and an enormous responsibility and it was perhaps because of this that I approached my first presidency on the festival of Corpus Christi with  excitement and a good degree of trepidation!


Corpus Christi is the celebration of thanksgiving for the Eucharist and accordingly a very fitting time for me to preside for the first time. Our Vicar Paul also presided at his first Holy Communion (to give the sacrament one of its other names) on Corpus Christi five years ago. I prefer to use the expression ‘presiding’ at the Eucharist rather than ‘celebrating’ in order to emphasise that the whole congregation celebrates the sacrament together.


The Greek word from which the word Eucharist is derived literally means thanksgiving, so each Sunday when we celebrate Communion together we give thanks for the sacrifice that Jesus made for each one of us on the cross. I would describe St. Cross as a ‘Eucharistic Church’ because the Sacrament is of such central importance to our worship life.


Jesus said, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day” (John 6: 54). Accordingly, to my mind, the scriptures themselves are telling us how vitally important the sacrament is. Each Sunday we come to Church to be transformed by hearing the word of God and partaking in the sacrament he has given us. This feeding on word, bread and wine should make us a Eucharistic people, who are truly thankful to God and literally more often count our blessings, so we as Christians can be seen to be those whose “cup is half full” and not “half empty”!


Timothy Radcliffe, a Roman Catholic monk, wrote a book with the title Why go to Church? in which he says “Often enough the church will be cold, the sermon irritating, the music trite, and the pews hard. Nothing exciting may appear to happen. What is in it for me?”  And he goes on to explain “We are offered a gift, Christ’s body and blood. If one believes in Jesus, then it would be odd not to wish to accept what he offers us. But God’s gifts are given through slow transformations of who we are, God’s undramatic noiseless work, recreating us as people who have faith, hope and charity.”


Please accept the Blessings of a newly ordained Priest. The Lord be with you!


Revd. Simon