“The Light Shines in the Darkness
and the darkness has never put it out”
(1 John verse 5)
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love a decent candle as a Christmas Gift –the long-slow burning type made with good wax and aromatherapy oils are my favourite, Anyone who knows me even better, than that…knows that I really struggle with the initial on-set of Winter when the hour goes back, and we are plunged into solstice-shifting darkness for the foreseeable, which as I write this letter, has just descended.
But as much as we might complain about the darkness, we have to be aware that there are many more in this world, as we head into the Christmas Season whose life experiences over the last year most definitely eclipseour own minor ‘first world problems’ and if all we need to do is light some more candles to chase away the ‘winter blues’, we’re not doing so bad. For others it may be not that simple.
In our now ‘post-covid’ times, our churches have continued to
gather to pray for those who ‘walk in darkness’ and difficulties, and we
have been fortunate to find so many ways for our own congregations to make
God’s word a ‘lamp to our feet and a light to our path’ (Psalm 119: 105)
we have sung songs of hope to strengthen our spirits for the journey over the last
15 months since I joined you to serve as Associate Priest. It’s wonderful to
see how our church family has grown and generously given of their time and
talents to reach out to many others in our villages, and beyond. The Light should
never be kept to ourselves, of course : Christ is a gift for all, and the greatest
gift of all.
He is The Way for when we lose our sense of direction.
The Truth for when we doubt, or question our beliefs and need reassurance.
The Resurrection and the Life for when we complete of our earthly journey.
(John 14: 6)
What better present could we ask for this Christmas? What better gift could we give? Remember, it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness; and we have a light that never goes out, Jesus the Light of the world.
A Merry Christmas and a Bright New Year to all,
Vicar’s Letter September 2023
By the time you read this I will be starting my Extended Study Leave. Between September and November this year I will not be following my normal working pattern. Instead I will be spending three months on a few different things.
In mid-September I will be spending ten days on a silent retreat which may sound like heaven, hell, or something in between to you depending on your personality type and stage of life. Personally, I’m looking forward to pausing and waiting on God. My experience of silent retreats, whether 24 hours, or 6 days or more, is that God always shows up in some way.
I’ll also be having some conversations with individuals doing some interesting mission activities around the UK. These will be uploaded as part of an already existing podcast – the Mudlarks podcast – which can be found online at: https://anchor.fm/mudlark – the podcast started in the midst of the Covid pandemic and I’m looking forward to adding some more episodes.
I’ll also be doing some writing, I have a few writing projects on the go that don’t easily fit with the usual “6-day-a-week-vicaring-with-three-kids” schedule. I’m also planning to do some painting, a bit of gardening, Couch to 5K and if I’m lucky, a bit of sleeping too.
See you all in December, in the meantime, there will be a series of guest writers for the “vicar’s letter” page over the next three months.