From the Vicarage November 2020
I do hope you are all keeping well as winter approaches, personally I think the excitement of living through a dramatic time in history is beginning to wane a bit now isn't it!
This year has seen so many events pass by in muted colours and diminished numbers that it feels like we're under a cloud! But that isn't stopping us from making efforts to mark what matters. This year for example, Remembrance Sunday is, if anything, even more on people's minds as they seek to mark; in ways that do not risk further spreading the covid virus; the loss of so many service-people's lives in the world wars and since. Once again, after economic difficulties, we are currently facing the threat of rising nationalism, and hostility to apparent outsiders in many countries, like that which fuelled Hitler's rise to power a century ago; once again, populist leaders are swaying hordes of desperate people with hollow promises of better times under their hand
Back in the days of the Early Church, the populist leaders who would say or do anything were power-hungry aggressors like the emperors Nero and Diocletian, and the outsiders were not from a particular race, (as the Roman Empire covered many nations...) but were cultural outsiders, from the various groups of Jewish, Greek and North African Christians, who faced death to stand up for the truth of the One God's salvation for all humanity in Christ...
One of the healthiest and most humbling things about being a Christian disciple, is knowing that our membership of God's family transcends all imagined boundaries of race, status and nation... whether we are poor or rich, Norwegian or Nigerian, when we become a disciple of Christ, we are adopted into a family of people from 'every race and tribe and nation and language'... and that family means everything; what divides the children of light from the children of darkness, is not where they come from, but under whom they live:.. whether they have the courage to stand, as servants of God with the eternal truth of the forgiving love of Christ, even as they lose everything else; or whether they will chase fearfully after the Father of Lies who can use all the powers of this world to flatter them with a temporary sense of personal power and meaning
Personally, I hope I will always have courage to stick close to the truth when it's harder to hold onto – but, in the meantime, I will plan hopefully, to try and remind others of God's love, when they are beginning to feel afraid, to light a candle when it's looking dark... So with that in mind - please pray for the church's Christmas, that in this local community and all over the world, we are able to shine that all-changing light of Christ's love, from the out of the darkness of the humble stable
also published in Great Yarmouth Parish Life
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