“Queer Worship”: How Do We Do It?*

This post has moved to my new domain at http://queering-the-church.com/blog

This Joyful Season of Lent

At Mass this morning, these words from the preface leapt out at me – words I do not usually associate with Lent:

Each year you give us this joyful season

when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery

with mind and heart renewed.

This is entirely correct of course. Lent is indeed a time of solemnity, a time for austerity and preparation,, but that is the key. Above all, it is a time of preparation for that great season of Easter, and its culmination in the resurrection, which is what the Christian religion is all about.

ash2006

This perspective gives added meaning to the standard formula which opens the preface, as it does with only minor variations for every Mass:

Father, all-powerful and ever-loving God,

we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fishing for Souls: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 7th February.

Isaiah 6:1-8

Psalm 137: 1-5, 7-8

1 Corinthians 15: 1-11

Luke 15: 1-11

What does “apostle” mean to you?  For many people, there is an assumption that it ahs something to do with being of the elect, one of “the twelve”, or the inner circle.  But the word itself has nothing to do with this- and Scripture itself is not at all clear that there were just twelve apostles:  where the word is used, it refers in different contexts to different groups.  At times it is indeed used to refer to the twelve- at other times it is used interchangeably with “disciples”, to refer to a wider body of followers (and at least one woman, Junia, is described as an apostle).

The word itself simply means one who is sent – derived from “apostello” – I  send.  Today’s readings from Isaiah and from Luke remind us that in this sense we are all apostles. Isaiah tells how, seeing himself as unworthy, as a wretch, he nevertheless heard the Lord asking “Whom shall I send?”, to which he answered (to his own surprise, I suspect), “Here I am, end me.” Simon, on the lake shore after the miracle of the fishing boats, is overwhelmed by his own unworthiness, and pleads with the Lord to be left alone in his sinfulness. But the Lord will have none of it, and assures him that henceforth, he will be a fisher of men.

 

"Fishers for Souls", Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne (c. 1589, Delft – 1662, The Hague)

Now, being chosen does not mean that Isaiah and Simon were mistaken in their earlier self-assessments.  They believed they were wretched sinners – and so they were, just as we all are. Read the rest of this entry »

A Healing Church

(This comes as a guest post from Irene, a dear friend who is a committed regular at the Soho Masses – travelling long distance to get there.  This is her account of a recent experience attending Mass, on the night when Mass was followed by a musical concert presentd by our own “Schola Assumptionis”):

The REAL PRESENCE.

A few weeks ago a tendon in my left leg became taut and painful to match the one in the right leg that has been damaged. After walking for hours around London I arrived at church early so I could take the weight off my feet before going up to mass. Lying on the chairs was such a relief. I didn’t manage to stand through all the appropriate parts of the service but the pain was less when I was chatting downstairs over tea before the concert. After the concert I helped distribute the wine and walking to Bistro 1 afterwards, I noticed I had no more pain in my leg – and I have had none since. I must have had a spontaneous healing during mass. I am delighted.

Some of you may know that I work as a healer. Once healing was part of the Christian and Jewish ministry but the Enlightenment put a stop to that! Witchcraft!! Healers, however,  have kept going, secretly though, as it is a gift and one which works. In Sarajevo, where there is no NHS  to limit people’s minds, people are open to it and have amazing reactions.Openness to holistic medicine has made it more acceptable but when I talk about it to Christians they are more than a bit suspicious. Now, something has happened to me during Mass, a total spontaneous healing, something totally unexpected and which has never happened during my healing and meditation sessions. Why? A stronger presence of God? I don’t know. I do know that I am no longer in pain and I am absolutely delighted.

(And we are delighted with you, Irene.  Thank you for sharing this.  And may I remind the rest of you, that I am always open to posting guest contributions from any other readers who have something to say.)



Soho Masses: A Visitor’s View

I have written often enough about the Soho Masses.  For an independent perspective, you may wish to read the report of Sarah Whitmore, the American journalism student who visited and interviewed me a fortnight ago.  Sarah writes:

“LONDON — As the church bells chime 5 o’clock, the organ prelude begins. Late-comers hurry to take their seats. The congregation is mostly single men, with some couples and even a handful of families—all with the shared goal of unhindered worship.

Our Lady of the Assumption & St. Gregory’s Catholic Church capitalizes on the oxymoronic by offering mass for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community the first and third Sunday of each month.”

But also: Read the rest of this entry »