The pandemic and resulting social isolation has created a culture of fear, loneliness and uncertainty, whilst at the same time in some places revealing the very best of humankind. Know above all that you are loved, valued and cherished by our Father God.
Nevertheless, I do understand that for some, carrying on with ‘church as usual’ in light of all these circumstances and when there is an uncertain future can feel a bit hollow. And yet, regardless of the world, or the church buildings, we are here for one man: Jesus Christ. Christina Rossetti wrote that ‘heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain’: so too can no pandemic limit him. He is faithful and true and he will never leave us.
As such, this Advent, perhaps more than ever before, gives us the opportunity to hold onto that truth of the coming Messiah – Emmanuel – God With Us. That does not mean we pretend all is well, indeed, far from it. Right now, we must remember that Biblical tradition of the Psalms of giving voice to our pain and lament.
But as we lament we encounter the contradictory, yet sustaining, promise of the hope of Emmanuel. This is not a vain and foolish hope, rather it is the ‘assurance of things unseen,’ the concrete and tangible hope of the embodied saviour. I would encourage you then to use these days to spiritually prepare and make space in your hearts and lives.
Of Advent, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
‘we prepare to witness a mystery. More to the point, we prepare to witness the Mystery, the God made flesh. While it is good that we seek to know the Holy One, it is probably not so good to presume that we ever complete the task, to suppose that we ever know anything about him except what he has made known to.....He cannot be comprehended, but he can be touched. His coming in the flesh – this Mystery we prepare to glimpse again – confirms that he is to be touched.’
I pray this Advent, as we are unable to touch, and embrace and be with one another, we may all look forward through our tears to the one who touches the world and our hearts.
We will be opening our church buildings again on the 13th!
13th December @ 10 am
Christ Church and St Andrew's Church - Eucharist Services
<span style="font-size: 1rem;">20th December @ 10 am</span>
<span style="font-size: 1rem;">St Catharine's , </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">St Mary's and </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">St Anne's - Eucharist Service</span>
Christmas Eve [to be confirmed] <span style="font-size: 1rem;">St Andrew's - E </span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">St Catharine's - E</span>
I will update you on Christmas Day, 27th Dec & 3rd Jan asap<span style="font-size: 1rem;">