Showing posts from May, 2014


"Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head." - from a sermon of the Ascension by St Augustine of Hippo (you can read the whole sermon at

This is the second Augustine I have encountered today, because in anticipation of tomorrow's dread advent and its corollary paternity leave, I am writing the parish e-mail a day earlier than usual; and today, Tuesday 27 May, marks the feast of the Carthaginian bishop's namesake, St Augustine of Canterbury. Dubbed the "Apostle to the English," this great man was sent in AD 595 by Pope Gregory the Great to lead a highly successful mission to ou…

Fr Anthony Lathe: Sermon for Easter 6

A wonderfully apophatic sermon from Canon Anthony Lathe:

You have already had one sermon this morning – St Paul in Athens – a sermon that gets theologians, if no one else, fairly excited.  This is the only account of a sermon preached by St Paul to non-Jewish people.  So we find him presenting the Christian message not in his usual Jewish kind of way but in a Greek philosophical kind of way. This way of thinking has had a huge influence on Christian theology.  Paul’s starting point is an altar he has seen dedicated to The or An unknown God. It is on this that I should like to reflect this morning.
But first of all back to a more recent past: One of the routines I had as a parish priest was to take Holy Communion to the house-bound.  At Easter time this was especially important.  At this busy time of year it meant doing a round with about twenty minutes allowed for each household.  Any interruption or delay was not welcome, casual chat could land me half an hour late by the end of the …

Easter 3: Is England a Christian country?

Is England a Christian country? A topic of some recent debate. Apparently, some people consider the very suggestion "offensive." Then, some people find the suggestion that England is a monarchy offensive, too, but like it or not, their sense of offence doesn't alter the fact that it is so. For my part, I don't quite recall when the British electorate voted to change our nation from a self-ruling Christian monarchy into the multicultural vassal state of a secular Europe, but then, my memory is notoriously poor. Of course, we have an established Christian church, but detractors say that it is so only in a "narrow, constitutional sense." Again, the parallel with the monarchy comes in: one might say we are a monarchy only in a narrow, constitutional sense. The reality of the Church is that only a minority associate themselves with it, and the reality of the state is that the monarchy is a figurehead with no real power. Power is of the people, and the people by…