A Letter from our Priest-in-Charge, Chris
I have to confess I love the season of
Advent. The Sunday readings and daily
morning prayer revisit the great
prophets and we hear again their visions of
salvation recognised for us in the person of
Jesus. I love the evocative phrases that
whisper from the pages of Isaiah and Micah
that we read in the build up to Christmas. So
often with the build up to Christmas in full
swing Advent can become lost which is a great
pity as it has deep treasure to offer us
spiritually as we prepare to celebrate the birth
I sense with all that is going on in the world at
the moment, Advent may shine ever more
brightly as we recognise the longing it
expresses echoed powerfully in our world
where we are also longing deeply for an end to
the dark shadows the covid-19 pandemic is
casting. We long for a new start under a
different sky where we can rediscover what in
means to be free.
Christmas is the realisation of that freedom in
Christian thought and there is much hope that
a vaccine available at the end of the year may
enable a new and different walk into 2021, this
is our prayer, our longing. I invite you to
rediscover Advent this year. To allow its
glorious themes to resonate with our real world
events. In Advent, let us too dare to dream, let
us allow the longing so beautifully expressed
through the prophets speak to our own longing,
let us not fight the darkness but use it as a time
to watch for the light!
We are hearing lots about how our present
time is affecting the mental health of our
youngsters, so we are beginning a new
venture for children and families using zoom
called “Tales with Toast”. It will be a Sunday
tea time gathering to hear stories for us to
wonder about. You won’t have to do anything,
just come with a cup of tea and slice of toast
(or whatever you enjoy), turn the bright lights
off, wear your comfy clothes and listen to a
story; there will be a gentle prayer or two, and
we hope there will be lots of laughter and lots
of wondering. It’s another opportunity to step
away from all the bad news and just be.
The good news is that children can invite their
parents and grandparents to be part of this,
even if they are separated by miles, that’s the
wonder of zoom. Email the office for the
links if you would like to join in.
So in the gloom of shortening days and
increasing restrictions, let’s not lose heart, but
create more and more opportunities for
wonder, prayer, and deep joy!
Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the
darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our
preparations for Christmas. We who have so
much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your
voice each day. We who are anxious over
many things look forward to your coming
Tails from the Rectory
Basil is a four old crossbreed and Archie a three year old black lab. They both have wet cold noses, bright excited eyes and the waggiest tails you ever saw!
The afternoons were getting darker and although the dogs loved walking they also loved curling up by the fire and listening to the sounds of home as they dozed. It was just such an afternoon, when the rain was pouring down outside and the lamps were on and the boys were settled, that suddenly in the middle of thinking about Bonio biscuits Archie remembered. He sat up and padded off to find Basil who was curled up on his favourite chair looking out of the window.
When Basil heard the paws heading his way he closed his eyes tight and pretended to be asleep. Archie had already asked him a thousand questions today and he was in no mood to be quizzed anymore. “Why was the rain wet? Where did the sun go in winter? Why couldn’t dogs eat chocolate? Were just a few of this morning’s non-stop questions. The answers took lots of thinking about and Basil was so comfy that a snooze was the only thing he felt could rejuvenate him!
“Basil”, asked Archie excitedly, ”are you awake”? “No” replied Basil, “ I’m in a deep sleep.” Archie looked confused, but enjoying a doze himself he said cheerily, “That’s ok, I will wait until you wake up”. With that he lay down on the floor facing Basil’s chair and watched intently. After a moment or two Basil opened the fraction of an eyelid and saw Archie staring. He tried to snooze but being stared at is quite unconducive with sleeping. When he could stand it no longer he opened his eyes and saw Archie tail wag in anticipation. “What is it Archie”?
“Well”, began Archie, “do you remember a few weeks ago when you told me how God made everything in the world”? “yes”, replied Basil, genuinely impressed that Archie had remembered as thoughts usually floated in and out of Archie’s head like bees in a tulip, Basil wasn’t sure anything actually stayed in! “Well you said it was in the Bible”.
“That’s right” said Basil trying not to show he was amazed he remembered. “Mmmmmm”, Archie continued, “ it’s just that I was wondering what a Bible actually is”? Basil sat up, at last a sensible question for a Rectory dog to ask.
“The bible is a book, well lots of books actually, all in one volume which tell the story of God and the human beings he made. It tells how the people got lost, and how God helped them find their way again. It tells us about Jesus and how God sent him to help us find the right path again. It’s a very important book for Christians and for the whole world”. Basil was hoping Archie wouldn’t ask any more as that’s all he could remember from his talks with Chris.
Archie was thoughtful, the Bible sounded like a very important thing, especially if it told you about Jesus and though he thought he should ask some more his mind began to drift back to thoughts of Bonios so he left Basil to snooze and went off to hunt for treats as he thought he might have spied one by the filling cabinet in Chris’ study. When it turned out to be a stone, he headed to his bed, stretched out, yawned and was asleep before the yawn even ended!