Pastoral letter 1st January 2021.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ
Can I cautiously, nervously, tentatively, wish you a Happy New Year? We are likely to remain in this state of lock down, I should think until Easter. A computer guestimates that I might be in the vaccine queue by mid-June. May you have yours sooner.
It is fitting that now we have the season of Epiphany: the Magi, the baptism of Christ, the conversion of St Paul. These Epiphanies gave the recipients, and us, a new way of seeing the world, life, our meaning and purpose in it.
So I’d like you to not quite put away your Nativity sets. Can you leave it out at least until the end of January when we celebrate Candlemas.
In this way whenever you see a Shepherd I would like you to pray for – what shall we say? Hard working people who don’t usually get thanked for their work? Social workers, Teachers, Farmers? And perhaps a prayer for those who were hard working but have found themselves without a job. The shepherds see baby Jesus and that gives them great joy and great hope – but nothing will change for quite some time – they will be back to work the next day, a little hung over, and the Oppressive Roman occupiers will still be taxing them to the bone, they may hear rumours of a miracle worker preaching peace and forgiveness, but for now they must live merely in the light of the hope that came from that one night.
And when you see a Magi – to pray for the scientists working on vaccines, to pray for people outside of the family of God to be guided to His peace. You’re getting the idea now aren’t you!
And when you see Joseph – to pray for refugees.
And when you see Mary to pray for parents struggling with a budget, struggling to be kind listening caring parents.
And when you see Baby Jesus to pray for His faith and hope and love and light to shine out through our lives. To pray for our faith to grow. So many gave up on Jesus because for them, he stayed a small baby as they grew up and they left babyish things behind and perhaps they didn’t realise that Jesus is more than just the baby in the manger.
Actually, this is going to be a good year. I’m not sure how happy it will be but I do know that Jesus will be with us through it all. I know that His angels will continue to ascend and descend on their journeys. I know that His Holy Spirit will continue to work its fruit inside of us giving us His … patience, … gentleness, and self-control. And that His gifts will continue to be poured out upon His Church so that we will be able to pray for healing and to live out the life of love that He calls us to.
We have a Confirmation service on February 14th so if you’re not confirmed can you give Derreck or myself a call so that we can have a chat? We have a little group who will be getting confirmed so do pray for them.
And pray for Stefan and the Youth Group. We had a couple of packed and messy Christingle services on Christmas Eve – so exciting to see young families in Church – pray for their faith to grow!
And let me know if seeing your Manger set causes you to pray in other directions. I’m always keen to learn!
May you have a peaceful and blessed New Year
James and Lucy