11 October 2022
Praying in Ordinary Time with USPG:
Tuesday 11 October 2022
The Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship today (11 October 2022) remembers Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking (675), and James the Deacon, companion of Paulinus (7th century), with commemorations.
Before today gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.
During the last two weeks, I was reflecting each morning on a church, chapel, or place of worship in York, where I stayed in mid-September. This week I am reflecting on the windows in one of those churches: All Saints’ Church, North Street, York.
In my prayer diary this week I am reflecting in these ways:
1, One of the readings for the morning;
2, A reflection on the windows in All Saints’ Church, North Street, York;
3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’
Ethelburga was a sister of Erkenwald, Bishop of London, and was probably of royal blood. As Bede describes her, it seems she may well have owned, as well as been made Abbess of, the joint monastery at Barking. There was a tradition developing of monks and nuns sharing monasteries, often with a woman superior, for example Hilda at Whitby and Cuthburga at Wimborne.
Although they lived quite separate lives, often divided by high walls, they would occasionally celebrate the Daily Office or the Mass together. There was also probably an element of safety involved with the ever-present threat of marauding Danes. Bede relates many miracles occurring around Ethelburga but little else is known of her life. She died on this day in the year 675.
The details of the birth and death of James the Deacon are not known, although, since he accompanied Paulinus, he may well have been Italian. James seems to have been very active in assisting Paulinus on his mission in southern Northumbria and, when King Edwin was killed in battle and Paulinus had to flee south, James remained in the north.
At some risk to his life, he continued the work of preaching and baptising around the area that is now north Yorkshire. As an old man, he attended the Synod of Whitby in 664 and, though not a monk and therefore without a community to perpetuate his memory, he seems to have had enough popularity among ordinary Christians to have had a continuing cultus long after his death.
Luke 11: 37-41 (NRSVA):
37 While he was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. 38 The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.’
‘The Pricke of Conscience’ window, All Saints Church, York (Part 3):
All Saints’ Church, North Street, York, which I described in this prayer diary recently (28 September 2022), is said to be ‘York’s finest mediaeval church.’ It dates from the 11th century and stands near the River Ouse.
The church has an important collection of mediaeval stained glass, including ‘The Pricke of Conscience’ window, depicting the 15 signs of the End of the World; the window depicting the Corporal Works of Mercy (see Matthew 25: 31ff); the Great East Window, originally in the north wall; the Lady Chapel Window; the Saint James the Great Window; the Saint Thomas Window; and the Coats-of-Arms window.
All Saints’ Church, on North Street, York, is known particularly for the early 15th century window depicting ‘The Pricke Of Conscience’ or ‘The Fifteen Signs of Doom’ Window, which I am looking at on these three days (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday).
This remarkable stained-glass or painted window is near the east end of the north aisle in All Saints’ Church. It consists of three lights with six image panels in each light, totalling 18 panels. There is light tracery also above.
The window dates from ca 1410-1420 and is based on an anonymous 14th century Middle English poem, ‘The Pricke of Conscience.’ The poem describes the final 15 days of the world, each panel contributing to a paraphrase of the poem.
‘The Pricke of Conscience’ window consists of three lights with 18 panels arranged in six equal rows. I was looking yesterday at the bottom-most row of three panels that features the donors of the window. The other 15 panels depict the signs of the end of days – the countdown to the Apocalypse or Last Judgment of humanity.
These 15 panels in five rows illustrating the poem. Reading from left to right, and from bottom to top, the first nine panels illustrate the physical destruction of the earth, while the last six panels in the window are concerned with ‘The death of All Living Things and the Fate of Humanity.’
Yesterday, I was looking at the first nine panels depicting the physical destruction of the earth. This morning, I am reflecting on the last six panels in the window, concerned with ‘The death of All Living Things and the Fate of Humanity,’ and on the Upper Tracery Lights.
The last six panels in the window, concerned with ‘The death of All Living Things and the Fate of Humanity’ reading from left to right, and from bottom to top are:
Panel 1, the Tenth Sign: The Earth Becomes Level And Flat;
Panel 2, the Eleventh Sign: Traumatised People come out of the Caves where they have sought Refuge and Run About. This is the tenth sign in The Golden Legend which also says that men shall wander around like madmen, unable to converse with each other.
Panel 3, The Twelfth Sign: Dead Men’s Bones be set Together and Rise from their Graves. In the Pricke of Conscience text, the twelfth and thirteenth days are transposed in comparison with the inscriptions on this window.
Panel 1, the Thirteenth Sign: Day in Truth shall Stars fall from The Heaven;
Panel 2, the Fourteenth Sign: The Death of all Living Things. This panel has been partly reconstructed. When Henry Johnston drew the window in 1670, only the figure of the man in the bed was shown.
Panel 3, The Fifteenth Sign: The End of the World, Consumed by Fire.
The Upper Tracery:
The upper tracery lights above the main scenes continue the theme of the Last Judgment in the window. A figure of Christ once occupied the central upper tracery light.
Saint Peter, holding the Keys of the Kingdom, is welcoming the elect into Heaven on the west side, while on the east side demons are pushing the damned down towards Hell.
Today’s Prayer (Tuesday 11 October 2022):
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself,
and so bring us at last to your heavenly city
where we shall see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The Post Communion Prayer:
Lord, we pray that your grace
may always precede and follow us,
and make us continually to be given to all good works;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘Day of the Girl Child.’ This theme is introduced this morning by the Revd Benjamin Inbaraj, Director of the CSI-SEVA department, which runs the Church of South India’s social ministries.
The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today (International Day of the Girl Child) in these words:
Let us pray for the wellbeing of young girls across the world. May they be supported to pursue their dreams without fear of harm, prejudice or bias.
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
AB Barton, A Guide to the Church of All Saints, North Street, York (York, nd, post-2000).
Mary Chisholm, ‘All Saints’ Church, York: Pricke Of Conscience Window – Morality In Stained Glass 15th-C Style,’ Exploring Building History, <https://www.exploringbuildinghistory.co.uk/all-saints-york-pricke-of-conscience-window-morality-in-stained-glass-15th-c-style/> [Accessed 5 October 2022].
EA Gee, ‘The Painted Glass of All Saints’ Church, North Street, York’, Archaeologia 102 (1969), pp 158-162.
‘Pricke of Conscience Window’, The Stained Glass of All Saints, All Saints’ Church, North Street, York <https://www.allsaints-northstreet.org.uk/stainedglass.html> [accessed 5 October 2022].
Roger Rosewell, ‘The Pricke of Conscience of the Fifteen Signs of Doom Window in the Church of All Saints, North Street, York’, Vidimus, Issue 45 <https://vidimus.org/issues/issue-45/feature/> [accessed 5 October 2022].