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Richard on December 14th, 2017

To find Christmas service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 17 December 2017.

 

Richard on December 14th, 2017

Christmas Visitor

Last Christmas, June and I received a visit from a rather distant relative (in both senses!), whom we hadn’t seen for ages. She brought us a present, but the best present was herself – that she thought so much of us that she was willing to make the journey to come to us. We felt guilty for not having visited her, and for not visiting many people at all last Christmas. I may have the excuse of being quite busy, but don’t we all?

On the first Christmas, God showed his love for the world by sending His Son Jesus. God had promised hundreds of times in scripture that he would do that, and those who were waiting for Him expected that He would come as God and King – an earthly ruler. But they were certainly not expecting what actually happened! Jesus came as the most vulnerable of human beings – a baby – born not royally, but into a humble family, to a couple not yet married, in a minor outpost of the Roman empire, in a little town…. and was born in a barn. What a great come-down, you might say! What a powerful way of demonstrating His love for those who think they’re ‘the lowest of the low’ – and showing that absolutely everyone is worthy of a visit from him. And worth dying for, too.

I expect you’ll be planning to visit some friends or relatives over the festive season. They’ll no doubt be pleased to see you, and your presence will be worth more than your presents. Whatever you do, don’t feel guilty about leaving it so long since your last visit – just accept their thanks for making the journey, and have a good time whilst you’re there.

Christmas is also a good time for making the journey to God. There are lots of ways to do that, of course, including personal prayer at home; but determinedly making a physical journey to Church can make the point that it’s part of your spiritual journey – which shepherds, wise men and many millions of people have done for over two thousand years. If you do, to any or our many services, you know you’ll be welcomed; and don’t even think of feeling guilty about not having been with us for a while. But what should you bring? The Bible says that all things belong to God, so He certainly doesn’t need a present. You’re the one he loves, and loves to see. A reminder of the last verse of the carol ‘In the bleak midwinter’:

What shall I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.

If I were a wise man, I would do my part –

Yet what can I give Him? Give my heart.

 

May you have a happy and blessed Christmas, in the company of those whom you love and love you.

Yours in Jesus,

Richard on December 7th, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 10 December 2017.

Richard on November 27th, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 3 December 2017.

St. Andrew’s Church Wormingford, supported by the ‘Friends of St Andrew’s Church’ are pleased to announce a concert in the Church on Saturday 2nd December at 7.30 p.m.

We are delighted to welcome Melinda Blackman, Sam Plackett and Ray Sams for what promises to be a memorable evening of entertainment with drinks and canapes, and we hope that you will be able to join us.

Tickets are £10 each (including drinks and canapes) and can be purchased in advance from Mike Crisp, or at the door on the night.

If you know you will be coming in advance, please let Mike know how many tickets you require on 01787 227325, to help plan seating and catering. Thank you.

Richard on November 22nd, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 26 November 2017.

 

Richard on November 16th, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Sunday 19 November 2017.

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for Remembrance Sunday 12 November 2017.

Richard on November 11th, 2017

Are you ready for the er… festive season? OK, I can say it now it’s November – Christmas?

I’m certainly not ready, but I’ve done lots of preparation. In Church, we know when our services will be; we’ve done the rotas so I know where I’ll be each day;  and many events are already in the diary. But there’s lots still to do. That got me thinking about the importance of preparation.

Baden Powell chose the Scout motto (perhaps in part to match his initials?), calling scouts to be prepared ‘in both mind and body to do your duty’. But there’s a big difference between being prepared for eventualities and prepared for events. So a trained and ready chef still has to prep the food; a football team must train of course, and then needs to prepare to play specific opponents; I may be trained in preaching, but still need to prepare every sermon, and especially if given without notes! Preparation is hard work, but it pays off in (hopefully) an elegant way. My dad used to say that, whatever you do, ‘if it looks like hard work, you haven’t worked hard enough!’.

Let’s take a leaf out of God’s book. What a wonderful earth God has prepared over billions of years, that it is just right for productivity of every kind. And an even more wonderful heaven is already prepared too (Revelation 21:2). At the start of the Christmas story (Luke 3:4) we hear of John the Baptist preparing the way for the Lord Jesus, and calling us to prepare the way for Him in our own hearts. And Jesus by His life on earth prepared the way for us into the Kingdom of heaven.

But there’s a limit to how much we can prepare for eternal life in the Kingdom. It has to be more about general ‘Baden-Powell’ style preparedness than what we achieve, because our eternal future doesn’t depend on good works, but on God’s welcoming love. He’s done the preparation; we just need to accept that and be ready – and Jesus made that clear several times (Matthew 24:44; 25:10; Luke 121:35 etc). A key verse for me is from St. Peter’s 1st letter: ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have’. If I can do that, I reckon my heart’s prepared, even if the rest of me isn’t!

So as we make preparations for Christmas, making sure everything’s ready to welcome and honour our families and friends, let’s also prepare our hearts to welcome God who has prepared the kingdom of heaven to honour us.

Yours in Jesus

Richard on November 2nd, 2017

To find service times, readings, prayers and NEWS , click the image below to open the Benefice Bulletin for All Saints, Sunday 5 November 2017.