Many schools have been offering reflections and challenges
for young people (and staff) to do whilst at home.
Here is one such reflection from St Mary's College, Crosby.
Patrick Duffy writes ‘as we come to the closure of our school buildings for a period of time, I hope you do not mind if I share (as Head of Religious Studies) some thoughts.
We thrive as a community of people who are remarkable for the resilience and care we show on a daily basis for each other. We are challenged now in these days to go our separate ways for a little time, but to try and retain a sense of community throughout.
It resonates with me that we do this in the season of Lent. As Moses led his people through the wilderness, as Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert in preparation for his public ministry. Earlier this term we received ashes with the words “Repent and Believe the Gospel”. Now we too are called to believe in the strength of our community in the coming days.
The words ‘self-isolation’ have become common place in recent weeks. Words which for many people strike fear and worry. It is in these times I believe we are never isolated, but we are bound by our friendships, our collegiality and our different faith journeys. Whilst for the moment these ties may seem distant, we are taught in the prophet Isaiah “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
In his Sunday Angelus this week Pope Francis said “In this pandemic situation, in which we find ourselves living more or less isolated, we are invited to rediscover and deepen the value of the communion that unites all members of the Church. United with Christ we are never alone, but we form a single Body, of which He is the Head.”
For our pupils especially those in year 11 and Upper Sixth maybe our prayer for them might be from the Prophet Jeremiah “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
As we will not be able to gather for a reflection each morning in the coming weeks I will try to remember to post out a little thought or reflection (if you would indulge me) to help us start our day of working in a different way.
Keep in touch with each other, support each other. As the Principal reminded us on Wednesday, show patience with each other and through this new way of working for a little while we can become stronger in community.’
Thursday 21 May 2020
for The Feast of the Ascension
From my reflections, thus far, I am sure that you have gathered my interest in religious art and also in certain theologians, one of whom being Karl Barth. Sadly, for this Feast day the two really do not go together. He wasn’t the biggest fan of religious art and particularly art associated with the New Testament account of the ascension.
He said of these paintings
There is no sense in trying to visualize the ascension as a
literal event, like going up in a balloon. The achievements
of Christian art in this field are amongst its worst perpetrations.
Despite his criticism he wanted his readers not to then find reason why such painting should be used to make the whole account ridiculous. The point of the story is not that when Jesus left His disciples He visibly embarked upon a wonderful journey into space, but that when He left them He entered the side of the created world which was provisionally inaccessible and incomprehensible, that before their eyes He ceased to be. This does not mean, however, that He ceased to be a creature, man.
What we know of God is only apparent because of what we know of Jesus Christ. The ascension reminds us that God is, in appearance, “hid from our eyes” but that does not mean God ceases to be. What this event teaches is that the gift of faith becomes ever more significant to the life of those who follow Jesus. We often are told that we see Jesus in the face of others, we see Jesus in the actions of others. Yet faith is real when we are focused on Jesus Christ not what we might think are our individual experiences of Jesus Christ. The fact the Creed says “I believe in…” reminds us that we are not alone. If faith equates to trust, as Paul Tillich suggests, then it too is “trust in..” For the Christian it is “I believe in God…”, “I trust in Jesus Christ”.
Grant we pray, almighty God
That as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ
To have ascended into the heavens
Se we in heart and mind may also ascend
And with Him continually dwell;
Who is alive and reigns with you
In the unity of the Holy Spirit
One God, now and forever