Sunday 2nd August
Collect of the week
Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry
with the bread of his life and the word of his kingdom.
Renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread,
who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Genesis 32.3-31, Matthew 14.13-21
Our Gospel reading for this Sunday is Matthew’s version of the feeding of the 5,000: when by the lakeside, after a long day, Jesus took the bread and fish that were available, blessed them, broke the bread and shared the food among all the 5,000 people gathered there, and they discovered that there was more than enough for all.
Scholars have long debated the connections between this ‘miracle’ and the Last Supper itself, and thus our own practise of communion. Without getting caught up in the thickets of scholarly debate, I think the connections lie in the centrality of table fellowship to Jesus’ ministry: from this feeding, through the many meals Jesus shared with others, through to the Last Supper, the practise of gathering around food as a sign of the kingdom is key to Jesus’ embodiment of that kingdom. Such table fellowship cuts through the complex social and religious rules about who can eat with whom, who is welcome, who is ‘in’ and who ‘out’. Again and again, gathering around food is Jesus’ way of displaying the inclusive welcome of his ministry, and of finding ways to share what there is, so that ‘all are fed and satisfied.’ That practise reaches its peak in Jesus’ sharing of himself, his very body and blood, so that his disciples might be fed, satisfied, and discover afresh that there is enough for all.
It has been wonderful, even surrounded by strange new requirements, that once again we have been able to gather together these last two Sundays, and participate in that sharing of Jesus himself for the life of the world. Such sharing, and the transformation of hearts and minds it enables, is central to the kingdom that week by week the Church is called to proclaim.
We hope therefore that the necessary safeguards put in place to enable us to be in communion together, do slowly become less intrusive as we are enabled to focus on what really matters: that sharing in Christ’s body that we might be Christ’s body.
Those safeguards are important, however, to help us to be together in these times of pandemic. So if you haven’t had the chance to experience how we are currently doing things, here’s a reminder of the guidelines we are following as we open for congregational worship on Sunday afternoons:
- We are allowed a maximum congregation of 50 people. We will manage that requirement and, if necessary, offer a second service.
- The cathedral has a one-way entry and exit system at the West End. There is no other access. As you enter, please use the hand sanitiser which is on the wall on your right.
- A steward (who will be wearing a face covering) will show you to a seat. You will be given a form to complete for the NHS Test and Protect scheme; if possible, bring your own pen. Please leave the completed form on your seat when you leave (we will then know which seats have been used and need to be cleaned). The forms will be kept for 21 days and then destroyed.
- You may wish to bring a smartphone or tablet to access the liturgy, which can be found here: scottish-liturgy-1982.pdf
- Alternatively, we have copies of the liturgy which you may use. If you choose to do so, we request that you take away with you and save for future use or recycle at home.
- The service will last around 35 minutes. Please observe social distancing as you leave the building.
- Communion: You will be directed by a steward to a socially distanced queue in the middle aisle. As you approach the altar, please use the hand sanitiser which has been provided. The priest will have sanitised their hands and will be wearing a face covering and visor. The hosts which will be distributed will have been consecrated in a covered ciborium. Please stand to receive the bread only. Please extend your hands and the host will be dropped into your palm. Please then step to the side before consuming.
- There is no requirement to wear a face covering in the Cathedral, but you are welcome to do so.
- There are face masks and gloves available. Please ask a steward
- The Cathedral toilets are not available. However, a steward will be able to take you over to the Walpole Hall if necessary.
Services this week:
Online pre-recorded Sunday worship will continue to be available via the website and on Facebook: here
Monday – Friday 0800, Morning Prayer and Eucharist in the Lady Chapel and online using Zoom
Monday – Friday 1730, online Evening Prayer on Zoom
If you would like the Zoom link for Morning and/or Evening Prayer please email: email@example.com
Sunday 1530, said Eucharist in the Cathedral. Please note that this service will no longer be livestreamed.
This week, the Cathedral is open for personal prayer Sunday – Friday 9am – 3pm.
Next week we are delighted that we will be joined by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rev Dr Martin Fair, who will be offering the sermon within our pre-recorded Sunday worship for Pentecost 10th on August 9th. I am delighted that such ecumenical witness continues.
The Provincial media team continues to offer weekly online worship, hosted by each of our Bishops in turn. It is now possible to join that service at 11am on a Sunday via a freephone telephone call. This is particularly suitable for those who can’t access services online. If you would like details of the telephone service, then please do email or phone the Cathedral office and we can talk you through how to access that service. It is also possible to telephone in to our Morning and Evening Prayer services via a telephone line. Again, if you would like details please contact the office.
As previously mentioned, we are collecting material that might, in normal times, have been published in the summer edition of Magnificat and publishing it on our website You can find that online page, here. If you would like to contribute an article or news of any events of interest to the Cathedral congregation, please do email the office with your contribution, and we can post it there.
If you appreciate our worship and don’t already donate via standing order, then you might consider donating via the button on our website homepage www.cathedral.net This is a challenging time financially for many, including the Cathedral. If you are in a position to support us, we would be immensely grateful.
With every blessing,