On a liturgical note: June 2021

By Canon Philip Gillespie

Are we nearly there yet?
Well, it depends what we mean by ‘there’ but if we mean a return to the gathering of the People of God in prayer and Liturgy, then almost!

For all good and understandable reasons we have been required to practise physical distancing over these past months but what we have truly missed is the possibility of gathering together, because the coming together of different age groups, backgrounds and vocations within the Christian family is at the very heart of what it is to be part of the worshipping communion.

The sacraments are not solitary exercises in devotion but a communal expression of what it is to be healed and saved and graced in Christ Jesus: we are loved by God the Father and strengthened by the Holy Spirit so that ‘you may have life and have it in abundance’ (John 10:10).

Reflecting on the theme of our Synod this year, ‘Together on the Road’, we are reminded that the Holy Eucharist is ‘food for the journey’ –  and it is not only the reception of the gift of Holy Communion which nourishes and strengthens us but also the very fact of gathering together, expressive of our communion, our common purpose, in Christ’s love and service.

Having just celebrated the great Solemnity of Pentecost we are reminded that all of this is the gift and working of the Holy Spirit, given ‘for a good purpose’ (I Corinthians 12:7). The sacraments, the Communion which is the Church, our loving and generous response to ‘the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties’ of the families and the society in which we live: all of this is the work and grace of the Holy Spirit whose presence will ‘renew the face of the earth’.

The month of June is richly blessed with solemn celebrations in the Liturgy: Corpus Christi (6th), the Sacred Heart of Jesus (11th) and Saint Peter and Saint Paul (29th). May they bring renewal, joy and encouragement to our Christian lives.

As you have blessed us
so may you make us a blessing to the people you call us to serve.
You have shown us your great mercy,
help us to bring your forgiveness and love into the world today.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.