Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Baptism of Christ: 13 January 2013: The Dean's Sermon

Main illustration: the windows in St Cyprian's Cathedral depicting the Baptism of Christ. These windows were given in memory of Sister Henrietta Stockdale of the Community of St Michael and All Angels, Anglican nun and nursing pioneer (died in Kimberley 6 Oct 1911). The banner held by St John the Baptist proclaims: “Ecce Agnus Dei” - “Behold the Lamb of God”.

A message from the Dean, the Very Revd Fr Simon Aiken, 13 January 2013:

As the world goes back to work and the so-called 'festive season' comes to an end, the Cathedral's Christmas tree and decorations may have returned to their box and storage space in the crypt, but the crib scene remains, a reminder that our celebration of the incarnation continues.

In recent years we have rediscovered elements of our Christian calendar that allow us to focus at length on the things that matter. Christmastide, punctuated by the arrival of the Magi at Epiphany, lasts for 40 days until we celebrate the feast of Candlemas, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple 40 days later on 2nd February (when we will bless all the candles to be used in the Cathedral during the coming year).

This mirrors the 40 days of preparation for Easter in Lent, and the 40 days of Easter itself culminating in Ascension Day. Ash Wednesday comes particularly early this year, so let us enjoy this extended time of celebrating the reality of Emmanuel, God-with-us in the
birth of his Son Jesus.

We must place on record, however, our sincerest thanks to all those who made our celebration of Christmas and Epiphany so special. The Cathedral Church was made most beautiful by the labours of our dedicated Flower Guild and the cathedral staff. Servers and choristers adorned our worship with their skills and devotion.

This year, it was our special pleasure to welcome the 49th Royal School of Church Music annual Summer School whose members enabled the Christmas message to be celebrated in glorious music and words from New Year's Day to the great feast of the Epiphany. The soaring sounds  of  Mozart  and  Mendelssohn  was
surely a marvellous way to mark "12th night'.

May God be with us and his Spirit inspire us as our hearts embrace the Babe of Bethlehem and ponder how he  will  become  the  Christ  of  Calvary.  My   seasonal  
good wishes to you all.
                                                                       Fr Simon

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