A Reflection for…
Sunday 3rd January 2021
2nd Sunday after Christmas
8am Holy Communion, St Catherine’s Church, Burbage
Almighty God who didst wonderfully create man in thine own image, and didst yet more wonderfully restore him: Grant, we beseech thee, that as thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ was made in the likeness of men, so we may be made partakers of the divine nature; through the same thy Son, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen
2 Corinthians 8:9
New Revised Standard Version
9 For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son,[a] full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son,[b]who is close to the Father’s heart,[c] who has made him known.
Here we are on the third day of a new year of 2021. We usually come to a new year resolutely. This year is different but the same. Good intentions are sometimes about particular concerns about over celebratory indulgence.
The collect and readings today for the Book of Common Prayer on 2nd Sunday of the ongoing Christmas season give us some indications about the foundations that we can build on for this momentous new year. In the vulnerability of the year past we contemplate on the words we hear that we are wonderfully and fearfully made in the image of God. And, in the shortest new testament reading, of any year, we see the generosity of Jesus. He emptied himself of self and became a servant of us all. Though rich, in being the unmistakable Son of God, in poverty we share in the richness of the grace of God by seeing the Word made flesh in Christ. We see the
unmistakable nature of God despite not seeing our Creator face to face in this limited life.
‘Grace upon grace’ is a lovely statement and does express the awesomeness of those moments when we experience the warmth of the presence of Christ. The Father’s son is full of grace and truth. We know what God is like because of what we see in the life of Jesus and his ministry, born, as each one of us in all its wonder of a new birth.
Wonder and grace upon grace describe for me the gift we have been aware is growing during this last year. That is the reliance on more willingly to abandon our anxieties and our heartfelt desires into our selfless prayers for others in need. To bring people and situations to mind is prayer. This is what Jesus did in his withdrawing, away from the clamour. Sometimes it led to actual acts of kindness in thought and deed. At other times it gave him insight into people and their need. Sometimes it challenged authority and individuals . To sincerely bring people and circumstances to mind is prayer. It is a wonder and grace upon grace...
Please accept this piece called ‘A little way of Prayer’ inspirationally given to Dorothy Kerin (1890 – 1963 the founder of Burrswood) which I have found to be so helpful in this approach to prayer generally.
‘Let us by an act of the will place ourselves in the presence of our Divine Lord, and with an act of faith ask that he will empty us of self and of all desire save that Hs most Blessed Will may be done, and that it may illumine our hearts and minds. We can then gather together all those for whom our prayers have been asked, and hold them silently up to Him, making no special request – neither asking or beseeching – but just resting, with them in Him, desiring nothing but that Our Lord may be glorified in them.
In this most simple way of approach He does make known His Most Blessed Will for us . “For so He gives Himself to His beloved in quietness.”
Canon Edward Pogmore