News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th July 2021: The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
There's a football match on this Sunday evening (in case you hadn't noticed); just 3 miles south-east of our Parish in Wembley Stadium! Thankfully, it doesn't start until 8.00pm, so you will have plenty of time to get along to church on Sunday morning at 10.30am for the Parish Mass, or on Saturday evening for the Vigil Mass at 6.00pm. It's amazing how the euphoria around such an event can create a “buzz” that reverberates far beyond the stadium, spreading into so many peoples' lives.
The media, of course, are quick to focus on the likelihood of a win for England; on the personal lives of the players and their performance on the pitch. But it is rare to get a glimpse of their faith. Both Raheem Sterling (from Wembley) and Bukayo Saka (from Greenford) who grew up locally have been very clear about their upbringing and the importance of their Christian faith in bringing them to where they are today. Bukayo Saka wrote this in a letter to pupils at his former school:
“I grew up in a Christian family who believe strongly in God. This always made me curious to get to know God more and I have done so by reading my Bible a lot and going to church a lot over the years. My faith is constantly being exercised when I’m put in different situations or I play in big football matches such as my England debut.
I hold onto God’s promises such as the scripture “therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours”. So before every game I ask God to help me play well, help my team and try to score a goal or assist a goal and he answers my prayers so this is why I point to the sky to thank him.”
We may think that the 60,000 spectators who will pack into Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening will have a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, whatever the outcome may be. But it is unlikely that their testimony will be as “life-changing” as the 120,000 who packed into (the old) Wembley Stadium in 1955 to hear Billy Graham proclaim “Anyone who repents of their sins and accepts Jesus Christ will be saved.”
As Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians:
Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ. Thus he chose us in Christ before the world was made to be holy and faultless before him in love, marking us out for himself beforehand, to be adopted sons, through Jesus Christ. Such was his purpose and good pleasure, to the praise of the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved, in whom, through his blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.
Of course, we cannot end this week's news without a special mention for Father John Metivier who will be celebrating his 60th Anniversary of Ordination to the priestood tomorrow (Saturday) in a private service for family and close friends. For this, and all our other blessings, the words of the hymn that became synonymous with Billy Graham's Crusades.
To God be the glory, great things He has done
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son.
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord
Let the earth hear His voice.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord
Let the people rejoice.
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son
and give Him the glory, great things He has done.