From Sunday 14th January Wedding & Baptism Bookings will be taken between 12pm – 1pm each Sunday after the main service which is 10:30am, you are very welcome to come along to both.
I wonder if, like me, you are often startled by the speed of everything in our world today? Some of it is good, like a good internet connection for example, but much of it is so negative. I’m sat here typing this in my study and as I do so I can see the madness outside of my window; cars careering down Rocky Lane at stupidly high speeds, often on the wrong side of the road, just to end up sitting at a red light like everyone else! What is the point I ask!?
Life seems to inflict this urgency upon us and unwittingly we often accept it and even comply. But as always, there is good news. We are approaching my favourite time of the year. Advent, Christmas and Epiphany have always been very special to me, just as well I suppose me being a vicar & everything!
The good news I speak of is the season of Advent, God has provided us an opportunity to slow down and reflect on the true meaning of life in these four weeks preceding Christmas. We should remember that Advent is four weeks for a very good reason; we are blessed by four weeks of rest & reflection. Yes, it is a busy time, preparations for Christmas can be hectic, but only if we allow them to be. Parents and Grandparents are under particular pressure to get things right for their children and families because they want the very best for them. Quite right too but it doesn’t help anyone if you are burning yourself out in the process.
Patience seems to be in short supply right now. Just yesterday I witnessed an episode of road rage that was outrageously dangerous and totally unnecessary where a man was hurling abuse at a lady with a car full of kids as well as driving his car at her. Again what is the point? Patience can be re-learned. The Bible offers us several models of patience; in the story of creation God the Holy Trinity creates the world in six days but He does so patiently, completing each task calmly before moving onto the next and on the seventh day God takes time out to rest. (Genesis 1&2)
Mary the Mother of Jesus is a beacon of patience, she learns she is expecting her first child, Jesus. Mary knows this will take nine months and so she takes herself off to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant; the two women had three months of quality time together as they patiently awaited their respective sons’ arrival. (Luke 1: 26-56) God, our Father who wants the best for us His children, shows utmost patience with us. It is 2017 years since God sent His Son to be among us and to experience first-hand what it is to be fully human, we know that Jesus will come back among us and that will bring about the unification of a new heaven and earth. (Matthew 24:27) (Revelation 21:1-8) It may seem that God is taking His time before the second coming, to us humans 2017 years is a heck of a long time yet St Peter tells us that for God a thousand years are like one day. (2 Peter 3:8)
God is being patient with us, He is allowing us ample time to listen to Him, to respond and to take action to ensure our future in His coming Kingdom. He gives us Advent to reflect on His great gift to humanity, that of His Son on that first Christmas day. He gives us faith that whatever this world may throw in our way He has made us a promise. All we need to do is take time out and listen to that promise.
And so what can we do to help ourselves slow down & reflect? Well St David’s has plenty going on over the coming weeks, much of which is listed over-leaf. Why not make time in your busy-ness to come along, to enjoy and to prepare for the great Christmas feast?
I take this opportunity as your vicar to give you every blessing for a peaceful, reflective and God-filled Advent. For a Happy & Holy Christmas. For an Epiphany filled with the revelation of the great love of God, and of course for an extremely happy 2018.
Peter the vicar.
(This article was originally published as part of St David’s Messenger in December 2017)
Some may remember a favourite poem of mine. ‘Leisure‘ is a poem by Welsh poet W. H. Davies, where he writes…
“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”
and finishes with the words…
“A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”
When we look around us I’m sure that you, like me, see and feel the effects of life lived at a very fast pace with little time to just relax and be ourselves. Technology is a wonderful thing and where in the world would we be without it? It is especially valuable for those who rely on it to make their special needs easier to live with; and yet there is a downside. People seem to find it more and more difficult to live in the moment.
I have become more conscious that instead of just enjoying a walk, playing with children, looking at a beautiful garden, out comes the phone or camera to take a picture, send a message, tweet or post it on Facebook. Perhaps that is why I enjoy going to the cinema or a music concert because I can sit back and enjoy the film or appreciate the music with gadgets switched off.
We all need time to be ourselves, time to think and reflect and enjoy moments that strengthen and feed our inner being. This can’t happen if there is always a screen to claim our attention. For years I have kept some words written by a monk and I found them recently when I was clearing out my study. I think they can give us all food for thought.
“If I had to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time.
I would relax, I would limber up, I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take more holidays. I would be crazier.
I would climb mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets.
I would do more walking and looking.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who lives life sensibly hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments and if I had to do it over again I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments, one after the other, instead of living so many years ahead each day. I’ve been one of those people who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, aspirin and a parachute.
If I had to do it over again I would go places, do things and travel lighter than I have.
If I had my Life to live over I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the autumn.”
(Anonymous. A friar in a Nebraska monastery.)
Somewhere in those words is truth for us and our world. Maybe next time you reach for your phone, stop, look, enjoy the moment and let it feed your soul.
(This article by Rev’d. Jenny was originally published as part of St David’s Messenger in November 2017)
When I was a young child there was one film I watched that I remember to this day. It was called an Incredible Journey. The story was based on two dogs and a cat that go on a long journey to be re-united with their family. Along that journey they met so many good people and other animals that were willing to help them reach that goal. Their faith and knowledge that the family that cared for them; loved them deeply and this has touched me ever since.
Have you ever been on a journey in your life? Were you have met people and they have become good friends. Sometime you meet people on your holidays or get to know them through work.
Well I have been on a journey with Jesus, a journey that keeps churning out new friends; people who are willing to help me and accept me for the person I am. St David’s was that starting point where my family and I were welcomed. I have met so many kind and caring people all working towards that one goal in serving God.
In the New Testament in the Bible the Disciples go on a long journey with Jesus, they put their trust in him by leaving behind the life they knew. Along that journey they met so many people, who wanted to reach out, change their ways and become a follower of Jesus.
Mathew 4: 18-22 Jesus Calls the First Disciples
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Over the past year I have been on a reader ministry course, the biggest hurdle being going into a new place and meeting people I have never met before. Knowing God was opening those doors for me, helped with the initial apprehension. I have met so many amazing people, people who have become friends. Friends who have faith in me but more importantly faith in Jesus, just like the disciples who put their faith in Jesus and went on an incredible journey with him. My journey with Jesus is taking me out to other communities such as St Aidan’s the small café church I was on placement in or All Saints a fabulous church in the middle of Speke. Wherever I have been on my journey I have been welcomed with open arms and love.
I have met so many people all sharing in the faith that Jesus died and was resurrected to save us. Jesus lives and is with us every day, guiding us to share our love and faith with everyone we meet on our journey through life.
At St David’s we would like to take you on an incredible journey, one were you can meet and socialise with other people. There is something for all age groups from Sunday school, Community café’s, Messy church.
Why not come to one of our services and start your journey, a journey with Jesus, a journey that will fulfil you with so much love and joy. Take a leap of faith and follow in Jesus’s footsteps.
(This article by Wendy was originally published as part of St David’s Messenger in October 2017)
This question is used as the title of a television programme investigating the family tree of ‘famous’ people. The programme with all the resources of the BBC has found that some of the people are descendants of royalty, African chieftains or people who arrived in Australia on the convict ships!
An interesting fact is how often the people find they have similar characteristics and often occupation to their predecessors.
No doubt some of you will have investigated your family tree. My father’s family originated on St Kilda. Certainly, knowing our past can give us a sense of history.
In answering the question of who do you think you are? surely it is important not just to look to the past but to concentrate on the present with our hopes and dreams for the future.
In the Bible when Jesus asks his disciples ‘Who do people say that I am’ Mark 8. 27 They reply ‘John the Baptist, Elijah and other prophets’. Jesus was being identified by those who had gone before. Jesus then asks ‘But who do you say that I am’. To which Peter a disciple and a close friend replied ‘You are the Messiah’ The Messiah or Saviour who from the reading of the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament, Jews expected to come to earth to restore people’s relationship with God. It must be admitted that some Jews in the 1st century Palestine expected a political leader to overthrow the Roman occupation. They did not expect someone of lowly birth who preached love and social justice for all irrespective of status.
Perhaps to answer the question of who did Jesus think he was it is best to quote St John17:1-3.
‘Father the hour has come: glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this eternal life that they may know you and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.‘
How we personally answer the question, Who do you think you are? I am sure will reflect our relationship with God and each other. It will also be influenced by our hope for this world and life after death.
I invite you to come to a church service or join Sunday School to learn more about God and to discover your true self.
God Bless, Sheila.
PS: I would also like to take this opportunity to suggest that you join our Lunch Club, Babe and Toddler group or simply come along to the Friday Café and get to know us.
(This article was originally published as part of St David’s Messenger in September 2017)