*The below message is taken from the weekly Cathedral Record newsletter. The full Cathedral Record is available to pick up from the Cathedral or can be downloaded here*
Fourth Sunday of Lent
The shocking incident at Westminster on Wednesday afternoon will still be quite raw in people’s minds and this weekend we will all want to keep in our prayers those who were killed in this tragic terrorist incident – those who were walking along Westminster bridge and PC Palmer who was on duty at the entrance to Parliament. We also remember others who were injured and all who have been affected by this. I fail to understand how anyone can attach any semblance of religious motive to an act of such atrocity as this – just evil terrorist violence.
We offer our best wishes to all Mothers on this Mothering Sunday. This Sunday the Girls Cathedral Choir will perform the Stabat Mater by Pergolesi following a shortened service of Evening Prayer at 3pm. It is sung in honour of Our Lady of sorrows as a devotional prayer reflecting on all that Mary had to suffer in witnessing her sons suffering and death on the cross. By reflecting on Our Lady’s life in this way it points to the joys and sometimes the sorrows that all mothers have to face in caring for those they love.
Lenten Reflection; this is the Fourth Sunday in Lent. Traditionally, this day is known as Laetare Sunday, from the Latin word for the command “rejoice,” the first word in the introductory antiphon for today’s Liturgy, (based on the words of Isaiah). The antiphon and the readings both express the Church’s joy in anticipation of the Resurrection. Today’s readings both remind us that it is God who gives us proper vision in body as well as in soul, and instructus that we should be constantly on our guard against spiritual blindness. By describing the anointing of David as the second king of Israel, the first reading, from the book of Samuel, illustrates how blind we are in our judgments and how much we need God’s help. In the second reading, Paul reminds Christians of their new responsibility as children of light: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” Jesus’ giving of sight to a blind man, reported in today’s Gospel, teaches us the necessity of opening the eyes of the mind by faith and warns us that those who pretend to see the truth are often blind, while those who acknowledge their blindness are given clear vision. In this episode, the most unlikely person, namely the blind man, receives the light of faith in Jesus, while the religion- oriented, law-educated Pharisees remain spiritually blind. “There are none so blind, as those who will not see.” To live as a Christian is to see, to have clear vision about God, about ourselves and about others. Today’s Gospel reminds us that we are to live as children of the light, seeking what is good and right and true. Our Lenten prayers and sacrifices should serve to heal our blindness so that we can look into the hearts of others and love them as children of God, our own brothers and sisters.
On Wednesday afternoon BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting a live service of Choral Evening Prayer from our Cathedral. They were here previously around this time for the Feast of the Annunciation, however this year it will the Lenten office of the day with appropriate Lenten choral music.