We Have a Gospel to Proclaim – Walsingham Advent Retreat 2017

What made this year’s Advent retreat so unique was the experience on which the retreat master, Bishop Peter Ramsden, former Bishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea can draw. In an engaging and imaginative way, Bishop Peter brought together in his four Advent addresses the four mysteries of the Holy Rosary, the verses of the hymn ‘We have a gospel to proclaim’ and some Pidgin Melanesian phrases that illustrated the spiritual content of his addresses.

In the Joyful mysteries we meditate the coming of Christ in the flesh. The Angelus Bell, rung at the mission station in the jungle of Papua New Guinea on an old gas cylinder, stops us in our tracks. Whatever people do at the sound of the bell (3×3 +9) we stop and pray the Angelus Prayer, a prayer that remembers the moment when Mary willingly allowed God to chose her as the mother of his Son. We are encouraged to tell the world that: ‘Jesus won time yu me.’; that God is with us in Jesus. – Does your church ring the Angelus Prayer?

Tell of his birth at Bethlehem
not in a royal house or hall,
but in a stable dark and dim,
the word made flesh, a light for all.

The luminous mysteries of the rosary reflect on Christ’s earthly ministry. At the end of each Mass we are sent out with the words: ‘GO, the Mass is ended.’ We are to go and the church is entrusted with preaching, teaching and healing in the name of Jesus. This way the church acts with Jesus: ‘yu mi bilong Jesus’: we are of Jesus; and one with him in the Eucharist. This is true for the universal church as well as our local church communities. Does your church embrace a link with the world wide church?

We have a gospel to proclaim,
good news for men in all the earth,
the gospel of a Saviour’s name:
we sing his glory, tell his worth.

The sorrowful mysteries of the rosary take us to Good Friday. On Calvary, Jesus led the way for all who would follow his rule of love and peace. Take up your cross and follow me. The Anglican Communion remembers the Martyrs of Papua New Guinea on 2nd September. The sorrowful mysteries of the rosary guide our meditation in the footsteps of Jesus who through suffering and pain experienced the human condition to the full. As disciples we want to ‘behinim’ Jesus; we want to get behind him and follow – out of love. – Does your church support the persecuted Church?

Tell of his death at Calvary,
hated by those he came to save,
in lonely suffering on the cross,
For all he loved, his life he gave

The glorious mysteries of the rosary teach us that these hardships are not an end in themselves. All who follow Jesus will find life in eternity. And Mary, the Queen of heaven is the first one who is crowned and rewarded for her faithfulness to her son. The glorious mysteries of the rosary end with Mary’s Assumption and Coronation as Queen of heaven. She is the first to make way for her son, Jesus Christ, in this life, and she is the first to follow him into the next.

Tell of that glorious Easter morn,
empty the tomb, for he was free;
he broke the power of death and hell
that we might share his victory.