4th December 2019

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Dear Friends

Hospitality is at the heart of this weeks Advent reflections. To be hospitable is to be deeply Christ like. Welcome and acceptance are integral to this concept of hospitality. It’s not just about a smile and a cup of tea, it is this, but it is also about how we welcome the stranger into our lives. How do we cope with difference, different ideas, different ways of understanding how the world works, or how we make decisions. I worry that too often much of our public discourse has stoked a fear of the other – the stranger in our midst.  Fear leads to closed minds and hearts, that to some extent is understandable, it is our survival instinct kicking in, the appalling events of last Friday don’t help. The question is how do we move on, how do we get beyond the fear, how do we create a better and safer place.? Perhaps it is the courage to be hospitable, but with an acute awareness of the human condition? After all, when Jesus sent his disciples out he said to them. ‘Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.’ Matthew 10:16.

Simon


Dear Friends

After a wonderfully reflective Advent Carol Service at St Nick’s on Sunday evening I thought I would share with you another Advent poem. This one, entitled ‘The Bridegroom Cometh’ is by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894). I hope you are all able to find a little quiet time for reflection in the busy run up to Christmas.  

BEHOLD, the Bridegroom cometh: go ye out
With lighted lamps and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.
It may be at the midnight, black as pitch,
Earth shall cast up her poor, cast up her rich.
It may be at the crowing of the cock
Earth shall upheave her depth, uproot her rock.
For lo, the Bridegroom fetcheth home the Bride:
His Hands are Hands she knows, she knows His Side.
Like pure Rebekah at the appointed place,
Veiled, she unveils her face to meet His Face.
Like great Queen Esther in her triumphing,
She triumphs in the Presence of her King.
His Eyes are as a Dove’s, and she’s Dove-eyed;
He knows His lovely mirror, sister, Bride.
He speaks with Dove-voice of exceeding love,
And she with love-voice of an answering Dove.
Behold, the Bridegroom cometh: go we out
With lamps ablaze and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.

With every blessing
Mother Eileen