Jesus is the ‘healing balm’ and our answer in the face of the hardest of blows inflicted by poverty, racism and other suffering, the Church of England’s online service will hear this week, in a service broadcast by an east London church.
The Rector of St George-in-the East parish, Revd Richard Springer, will highlight the agony of the crucified Christ and draw parallels with the pain of those who suffer racism, hunger and homelessness.
The service, marking the feast of Corpus Christi (the body of Christ) will be available from 9am on Sunday on the Church’s website, Facebook page and on YouTube.
In his sermon, Revd Richard Springer will say that Jesus always meets us in our ‘darkest hour’. Knowing that he survived the ‘hardest of blows’ gives Christians the confidence to know that he is our ‘healing balm’, our justice and our answer, he will say.
He will highlight the death of George Floyd in the US and will also refer to the cases of London taxi driver Trevor Belle and transport worker Belly Mujinga who died with Covid-19 after reportedly being spat upon.
“I with many people I know, physically shook with anguish and anger when viewing the death of George Floyd and the countless others killed at the hands of the authorities,” he will add.
“Jesus’ body suffered in the same way, choking on the Cross.
“He was despised and spat upon in the same way as two Londoners, Trevor Belle, a taxi driver and Belly Mujinga, a railway station worker who both later died of the coronavirus after being terrorised in wicked acts by people who chose not to truly see them in their black, physical selves and in their beauty.”
Bethan Lant, churchwarden at nearby St Mary’s Church in Cable Street in the East End of London, will speak about the campaign in the neighbourhood to extend free school meal vouchers to help struggling families over the summer holidays. She will say: “Families are still struggling and we want to end holiday hunger. For me, it has been really important during theses time to be able to lift my faith through working closely with others to meet the needs of the local community.”
The service will hear prayers for the family of George Floyd said by congregation member Doris Vivienne Smith with the Gospel read by St George-in-the-East curate Revd Alannah Harris. Other contributors include Dumaeza and Janet-Marie Nhlapo with their sons, who will say the Creed.
The service will also hear a contribution from Tower Hamlets resident Jusna Begum, who works with the church on its Open Table initiative and outreach with homeless people.
The service will be interpreted into British Sign Language throughout and subtitles are also available, with music from the Choral Scholars of St Martin in the Fields.
All the contributions were recorded separately in accordance with the rules on physical distancing.