- The Lord’s Prayer
- A Prayer for Israel and Gaza
- A Prayer for Survivors of abuse
- A Prayer to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Windrush
- A Collect for Black History Month
- Contrast, connectedness and challenge – a reflection on our windows.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
A Prayer for Israel and Gaza
We look with horror upon the conflict in Israel and Gaza;
upon acts of terrorism; destruction; and death.
Hear the lamentations of all who suffer.
Heal the fear that begets violence.
Bind up wounds which are so deep
that peace seems unimaginable
except through your merciful intervention.
Grant peace. Grant justice. Grant hope.
We ask this for Jesus Christ’s sake
and in the power of his Holy Spirit;
A Prayer for Survivor’s of abuse
God of Love,
We pray for all who have suffered abuse.
Comfort them, and send them healing and justice.
Help your Church to care about survivors
and to show they matter.
Let this Church be a place of welcome,
security and compassion for all.
A Prayer to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Windrush
Faithful God, when the ship set sail and the waves were high, your love was with those whose hopes and dreams lay across the ocean deep. They came in search of new possibilities, to a strange and forbidding land. They came equipped, educated, and willing. All knowing God we remember those who came from so far to rebuild the motherland. In this service we commemorate their bravery, integrity and resilience as your people navigated a new path. Be with us now as we honour and celebrate the riches of your kingdom. The complexity of your creation, the rich tapestry of our modern culture, made richer by its diversity and the contributions of those who came in search of a better life.
Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.
God of our Redemption, the Empire Windrush carried a generation to a land that was not always kind. Rejected by church and state, denied access to accommodation, job opportunities, and equal pay. Labelled and abused, but you are an omnipotent God, and you strengthen the hands and hearts of those who put their trust in you. Bless those who struggle with your strength. Look with favour at all who strive to make your world a place of hospitality and welcome. Here the prayers of those who cry to you for mercy as we deal with everyday discrimination.
Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.
Life-giving God, you know that before we were formed in our mother’s womb, you asked us to embrace each other as brother and sister, yet so often we fail to see you in the faces of others. Yet, when we toil and sweat to build your kingdom. We are made one. Forgive us only for this short vision of your paradise. We pray for all those who have been victims of the Windrush scandal. Men and women who have spent their entire lives in this country only to be forced into a life of poverty, robbed of family, identity, and home. Give us eyes to see the injustice done in this world people are rejected, when justice is denied, and compassion is forgotten.
Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.
Holy God, God of our generations as those first pioneers, trod the streets of a foreign land and enjoyed much, we celebrate their invincible spirit, and we give you thanks that these men and women stayed and made this place their home. As they passed the baton of hope to those children and their children’s children, we gave you thanks and acknowledged that even in the darkest of times, you were with us. Help us to put our trust in you, the source of all our strength. Make people willing and able to invest time and energy in building up this nation. Recognising the contributions of all and striving for the equality promised by the coming of Christ. Look with favour on your people and bless all our works, that they may be to the glory of God.
Merciful Father, Accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
A Collect for Black History Month
who sent Jesus Christ
to deliver us from all manner of injustices and inequalities,
create in us new hearts and enlarged visions,
to see the image of God in every person
irrespective of background, race and ethnicity.
May we be generous in our love of others
as we work towards ending misunderstanding,
racism and injustice;
creating communities of human flourishing,
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
A sermon by Canon Andy Delmege
If you sit in just the right place in the nave, find just the right blue seat, you can see an angel peaking around the edge of the scaffolding cover. He’s having heavenly fun. He’s had enough of being covered up while the restoration happens. I will leave you to discover where he is for yourselves later.
It’s obviously disruptive for us having the works done on the windows. We can’t see one of the main beauties of our building, we’ve less room, there is noise. I wonder what it would have been like to have been here in the early 1880’s when the Chancel was being extended. Or in one of the cathedrals in the Middle Ages during the continual building and rebuilding.
We have a chance to use the disruption to think about our building. To think about our worshipping here – week by week, day by day, or as a welcome visitor. To reflect on how this forms and deepens us in our faith and in our discipleship. Where we worship God, what we see or hear or are made to feel by the place will have an effect on us and our faith.
The purpose of the windows
This was one of the reasons the Burne-Jones windows were commissioned and designed. When the restored windows are unveiled, we will notice again that you can’t see two of the windows from the Nave. They were designed so that you came up to the High Altar at the East End. As you received Communion, the story of faith was unveiled before you – The Nativity, The Crucifixion, The Ascension.
Then you turned around and were confronted by The Last Judgement. Here is a challenge to listen and respond to Jesus’ teaching in today’s Gospel on welcome and giving to those in need. We remember parables like the Sheep and the Goats, where the face of Jesus is revealed in those in need. A challenge to take our faith outside of the building and to live it out.
One of the reasons for the windows being so beautiful and so richly coloured is to show the contrast between what the world is now and what it is, can and will be in God’s Kingdom. They are a challenging foretaste of what is to come.
Burne-Jones wrote about the Last Judgement:
“If we believe that things as they are can be made better than they are, and in that faith set to work to help the betterment to the best of our ability however limited we are, and cannot help being children of the Kingdom … It is the ‘things as they are’ that is the touchstone -the trial – the Day of Judgement. ‘How do things as they are strike you?’ The question is as bald as an egg, but it is the egg out of which blessedness or unblessedness is everlastingly hatched for every living soul.
There’s a contrast. When we can see it again between the central dark ruined cityscape in the window and in all it represents. We can think of the world today, with it’s hunger, forced migration, climate disaster. This, alongside the intense beauty of Christ enthroned and the angels – what could be in the beauty of the kingdom.
How do we get there?
Today’s Gospel is clear. It offers us a map for our journey to the Kingdom. We should offer welcome and water to those in need, to the little ones of Christ. The windows are there to form us, to deepen and sharpen our discipleship.
They also make us look outside. We know this is a porous building – not (fortunately) in the sense of water pouring in, but light and sound. Sitting here, we will have a clear idea of what is happening in Cathedral Square, Pigeon Park, and the surrounding streets. When I sit in my stall, I’m treated to a view of the trees. I can see the shapes of branches and green of leaves through the South Aisle windows.
We are deeply connected to what goes on outside. We are challenged by this building and by our faith to relate, to connect ever more deeply. In the words of the novelist EM Forster “only connect”.
Connecting, but also living the values of love, of divine love outside in the world. We might think of the richness of feeding homeless and other hungry people under Burne-Jones’ Last Judgement Window. We think of the importance of our maintaining Cathedral Square for the people of our city. That with the privatisation of public space it is one of the few places you can spend time if you have no money to spend; that it is one of very few green spaces in the city centre – and we will be spending time on reflecting and working on the environment in a deeper and more focussed way in the next year as we continue to respond to the climate emergency.
We think of people coming into our building – for a warm in winter, to cool off in summer, as a place of peace and quiet – to reclaim that ancient Christian word – sanctuary.
We are formed and challenged by this building and it’s history. When you come to receive Communion in a few minutes, you will pause as you cross the Bishop Wilson Memorial in the floor next to me here. That memorial to remarkable forgiveness, reconciliation and healing after terrible torture and trauma. How does that affect our common life as the cathedral?
The challenges of becoming ever more deeply who we are and living out our vocation as a cathedral in this city centre. Time for welcome, time for the gentle offering of ourselves in love to others.
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