The Feast of St Peter & St Paul
29th June, is the Feast of St Peter & St Paul –
as Cranfield Church is named after them we celebrate it as our Patronal Festival Day.
whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul
glorified you in their death as in their life:
grant that your Church,
inspired by their teaching and example,
and made one by your Spirit,
may ever stand firm upon the one foundation,
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.
Text “We believe and are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus” Acts 15 v11
St Peter was the natural leader of Jesus’ Twelve chosen disciples and figured in many incidents recorded in the gospels. He walked on the water with Jesus, was present at the feeding of the five thousand, and to his own horror denied Jesus three times shortly before the crucifixion. Nevertheless, after the resurrection, he was foremost amongst the leaders of the early Church and proclaimed the Good News widely before being crucified upside down in Rome in old age.
He is symbolised by the “Cross Keys” because of Jesus words to him “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 16 v 18
St Paul, originally known as Saul of Tarsus, was initially opposed to Christian teaching and persecuted the early believers. But on the road to Damascus he encountered the living Lord Jesus, speaking to him in a blinding light, and was famously converted. His energy and scholarship were from then on used to spread the Good News of God’s grace among the gentiles. Through his writings, powerful preaching and courage in the face of opposition he was recognised as a leader in the missionary work of the church. He too was put on trial for his faith Rome – which later became the launch pad and administrative centre for European Christianity.
He is symbolised by a “Sword”, perhaps as according to some sources he was beheaded in Rome as a martyr, but quite appropriately due to the power of his writings included in the New Testament. In them he refers to “The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6 v17.
Many churches, like ours, have taken the double name of St Peter & St Paul, emphasising both their desire to be faithful to the teaching of the apostles and their desire to spread the knowledge of Jesus love to those around them.