Christmas 2011

In my correspondence this week I have received many Christmas blessings. The following quote was sent to me via the Reverend Ian McGrath (B.C.A.) – Please forgive me for my “political incorrectness” as I share this quote from philosopher and theologian, Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430). It is such a pithy summary and reminder of the wonder of Christmas.

He so loved us that, for our sake,

He was made man in time,

although through him all times were made.

He was made man, who made man.

He was created of a mother whom he created.

He was carried by hands that he formed.

He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, he the Word,

without whom all human eloquence is mute.

May you and all your loved ones, join the shepherds and the wise men in seeking after Jesus. May the presence of the Christ child be irrefutably evident to you this Christmas season and may you find in Him the greatest gift – and a treasure beyond imagining.

Merry Christmas

Love and Blessings to you all,

Rev Shan.

Advent 4A

In this final week of Advent, when we light the candle of love, we hear the story of Mary and God’s invitation to her to be part of God’s renewing love for the world through Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.

“God is With Us.” What on earth does this mean?

Patheos editors invited some of their favourite “theobloggers” to respond, in 100 words or less, to the question “How is God coming into the world this Advent?”

Bruce Epperly Replied –

For 15 months, I have seen the world through the eyes of my grandson. I have rediscovered flowers, trucks, airplanes, stars, and fireflies. For both of us, every morning is an adventure. Advent is about embracing the little child, and experiencing the world with fresh eyes and a beginner’s mind. This is the world of mustard seeds, growing imperceptibly to great trees, and seed sown in the fields, quietly multiplying one-hundred fold. There are no guarantees of success or survival for little seeds or toddlers. But, hope is in a new heart, love of this present moment, and commitment to ensuring that every baby experiences love, beauty, and abundance.

Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, healing companion, retreat leader and lecturer, and author of nineteen books. He is a regular blogger at Patheos’ Faith Forward.

In 100 words or less, what would be your response to: “What evidence have we that God is with us, today? “This is an important question… as it shapes the way we live out our lives.

Blessings

Rev Shan

Advent 3A – 11th December 2011

Remember, Remember….

Did you know that the word “remember” is the opposite of “dismember”? To “dis-member something is to tear it apart… and to “re – member” is to put it back together again.

The people of God, through the ages, have constantly re-membered their journey as a people in order to make sense of the past and to plan for, and make decisions about, the future. They passed on the stories by word of mouth… and later in scripture… so that they and their children’s, children’s children, would remember all that God had done for them.

They did not pass on the stories so much for history, as to record the actions of God who is intimately involved in their lives.

Christians do the same today. Year by year we journey through scripture, re-membering the coming of Christ as savior of all, as foretold long before his birth. We journey with Christ from Bethlehem to Jerusalem re-membering the steps along his journey… and gaining new insights with each retelling, in order to hold onto the reality of the power of God in the lives of everyday humans.

So too, in effect, when we re-member the events of our lives, we are putting them back together again, and, in doing so – with the wisdom and maturity of hindsight – we make sense of the past and learn for the future. As Christians, this remembering is not about holding on to the past… but about looking back in order to see the parts of our lives where the power of God is most evident… a little like that well known story of the footsteps in the sand!

We don’t stop talking about the people we love simply because they have died… we continue to be warmed and reassured of their love and impact on our lives by sharing memories. As children of God, we need to keep re-membering the love, the power, the impact of God on our lives so as to warm us and reassure us in times of difficulty, dryness and sorrow.

Love and Blessings

Rev Shan

Advent 2B – 4th December 2011

The crying out to God in the Isaiah passage (40:1-11) could well be the crying out of so many people in the world today. Not only do they cry with hunger, warfare and oppression, they also cry out in terrible distress after earthquakes and tornados and floods. And still others cry out in fear and anguish as so much of the world teeters on the verge of financial crisis. The 1st of December marked World AIDS Day and we were reminded that this pandemic continues to devastate the peoples of the world. I haven’t got exact figures but this disease has killed over 26 million people  while even more live with HIV. In the face of such circumstances it can be a very hard time to hold to faith and hope, especially if your despair is no longer of interest to the media.

As we wait for the coming of Christ in this Advent and listen to those who, like John the Baptist, invite us to hope, we are also free to cry out in response to what we see around us. We can ask for the comfort of God and reflect on our personal role in comforting the many people who need that. Comfort . . . comfort.

The 30th of November marked our remembrance of St Andrew… a Saint who is not known for mighty deeds but for introducing others to Jesus Christ. For those who trust and believe in Him as the Son of God, He is our hope. Perhaps our first action, in bringing comfort to others is to introduce them to Jesus. We all know that it can be hard to take our first step into a new place and experience… perhaps we could invite our neighbors along to church for Christmas… even offer to bring them along! Or simply drop an advertising flyer in a couple of letterboxes nearby! Comfort, comfort all my people!

Blessings

The Rev Shan