To believe in God’s future…
Do you think there are times when Christmas all seems a bit over the top? December can seem a rather neurotic whirlwind of parties, presents, bright lights and enforced jollity. Yet amidst all this, there is the shortest day, darkness awaiting the dawn, hope in the darkness.
This is all good biblical stuff, half the Old Testament and a good part of the New is a meditation on the possibility of God in the midst of darkness and chaos, of God breaking through and ‘burning away the shadows’. And Advent…? It is a time of waiting, just as so many have done before; waiting for the final unveiling of God’s majesty and love. Advent reminds us that the veil, dividing God’s glory, his loving purpose, his vision from this world is very thin indeed. In the arrival of Jesus, Emmanuel, this division was punctured, giving us a glimpse of the glory and possibility of what it means to live in God’s new dawn, of the reality of God’s eternal and all consuming love, meeting the shallowness of our self understanding. Advent is a time of waiting in readiness, alert and willing to take action for here we celebrate the possibility of God’s future.
Please join us this Sunday evening for our candle lit Advent Carol Service, it is a beautiful way to begin our Advent pilgrimage. There’s also mulled wine and mince pies!
We have decided to offer two extra weekday masses on on Tuesday evening at 7 pm and also on Friday at 12.30 pm. These services last no longer than thirty minutes and are a quiet and meditative opportunity to worship God especially during the coming weeks. For information, our weekday service times are now as follows:-
Tuesday 9 am Morning Prayer
7 pm Mass
Wednesday 9 am Morning Prayer
Thursday 9 am Morning Prayer
9.30 am Mass
Friday 12.30 pm Mass
Our joyful celebration of Christ the King, Confirmation and Admission to Holy Communion on Sunday were a most welcome contrast to the busyness of secular activities last weekend. The growth of Black Friday, which now extends until at least Cyber Monday, seems determined to prove that ‘Consumer is King’.
I read in the Metro that: ‘A woman was knocked out cold and had to be taken to hospital after she was punched by another mum as they tried to get close to Peppa Pig at the Hamleys Parade’.
And at Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex a “fast lane” – sponsored by Mastercard – was opened for Black Friday, so customers in a hurry could dodge the mere mortals who like to take a breath while browsing the festive window displays.
For years grumpy people like me have complained about shops preparing too early for Christmas, but we seem to be going from bad to worse.
As we prepare for Advent Sunday, Bishop Pete, acting Bishop of London, has written to clergy in the London diocese to let us know that the Crown Nominations Commission for London meets on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Our continued prayers for their deliberations would be greatly appreciated, please.
Heavenly Father, send forth your Spirit and raise up for us a Bishop to serve and guide your Church in this Diocese;
give to us a person of wisdom and strength, compassion and grace,holiness and learning, vision and energy;
that through a Shepherd of your own choosing your Church might be built up and your faithful people united
in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I shall not be at St Nick’s on Advent Sunday morning as I have been invited to preach at St Paul’s, Grove Park, but I look forward to being back in church that evening for our Advent Carol Service.
With every blessing