Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Newsletter January 2012

All the festivities are over for another year. Some of us will be hoping that the winter
won’t be too long, and that soon the daffodils will peep through giving us a
glimpse of the coming spring. I foundthis poem that I would like to share with you. It’s based on the magi that travelled so far to worship the Christ Child. They are warned in a dream not to return to King Herod, and to go home another way.

After the star, the dim day.
After the gifts, the empty hands.
And now we take our secret way
back to far lands

After the cave, the bleak plain.
After the joy, the weary ride.
But journey we, three new-made men,
side by side.

Came we by old paths by the sands.
Go we by new ones this new day,
homewards to rule our lives and lands
by another way.
Author unknown

January is a time when we remember the old, and look forward
to the new. What will this New Year bring? You may not see me as much during January and February as I am working a placement at Madron and Gulval Parishes as part of my training towards Ordination. It will be interesting to see how life and worship goes on in these places and to take an active part in the services.

In the light of all the celebrations and worship we have shared together this last Christmas, I hope that the Christ Child has inspired us to live ‘another way’, just like the magi. May God be with us as we face all the challenges that 2012 may bring.


Friday, 2 December 2011

December Newsletter

Holding onto the Divinity of Jesus

Now it is truly winter, our season of celebration is about to begin. We have lots of great events to look forward to: ‘Christingle Services’ at Ludgvan & Perranuthnoe, the lighting of many Christmas trees and ‘The Christmas Tree Festival’ at Marazion, many, many Carol Services and Nativity Presentations in churches, school halls and pubs to enjoy, as well as our own preparations, card, food and present-buying to accomplish by December 25th.

In recent years much stress has been placed in theological circles on the ‘humanity’ of Jesus: ‘He was just an ‘ordinary’ baby, born to an unmarried teenage mother, in a cold, out-house stable’. Indeed, the birth of the Christ-child prefigures and sanctifies the coming of all new human life into the world (in whatever circumstances – however ‘poor’ or ‘mean’ or ‘lowly’) and the Nativity Story provides us with a template for our own private ‘nativities’: how many grandparents have not made long journeys bearing gifts to welcome a new child into a family?

However, all our ‘coo-ing’ and ‘aaah-ing’ at Nativity plays and Children’s Services of Light should not lull us into a feeling that we are just welcoming ‘another’ baby into the world: Jesus is not an ‘ordinary’ baby: he is the Divine ‘Son of God’, the ‘True Light’, ‘The Word made Flesh’ as the opening Chapter of St John’s Gospel informs us. John, Chapter One will surprise us once again as it is read out at many Carol Services in the Christmas Season and as it elucidates the sheer scale, grandeur and poetic vision of Who it is we are celebrating coming to us at Christmastime: the Christ-child is the pre-existent ‘Word of God’, who has been with us since the dawn of time, he is our God made human, come amongst us.

The wonder of God trapping himself in human form is enough to behold, but Jesus comes into the world not only with a need to be loved and cuddled and provided with a ‘baby-grow’ (he gets ‘swaddling bands instead!): the Christ-child comes to us with a challenge. As we read the predictions of the prophets Isaiah, Zephaniah and Malachi in the Advent lead-up to Christmas we learn how Jesus comes with ‘the zeal of the Lord of Hosts’ to challenge rulers and to judge the world, ‘to bring down the Mighty from their seat’ (Luke 1:52) and bring in and establish his reign of justice, righteousness and peace: the prophet Isaiah tells us the Messiah is ‘Mighty Counsellor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6).

In all our joyful Christmas celebrations let us keep hold of the majesty of the Event we are celebrating: God coming to be made with us in the Christ-child, to bring challenge and Light to ‘the principalities and powers’ of this ‘present darkness’ and this ‘passing age’ (Ephesians 6:12), to establish his rule of justice, mercy and peace forever.

I very much hope to see you over the Christmas period, (and, not forgetting, our celebrations in the Benefice continue in January, with the Celebration of St Hilary Feast on 15 January, Ludgvan Feast on 22 January and Candlemass on 29 January).

May all your own preparations and celebrations go well and may your hearts be made ready this Advent to welcome Jesus, the Divine Son of God.

Revd Nigel Marns

Rector, The United Benefice of Mounts Bay

(Ludgvan, Marazion, St Hilary & Perranuthnoe)