News from the Pews

 

Hello my brothers and sisters in Christ. In the coming months, in the Church liturgical year, we celebrate All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Remembrance Sunday, the beginning of Advent but most especially Christ the King.

A month when we remember all the people over the ages who have dedicated their lives to serving Christ, who have died, but remain alive in the presence of God. Our friends and families and those who have touched our lives one way or the other and as we draw near to the end of the liturgical year, we reflect on Christ as Lord and King before our focus shifts to Jesus as the infant in a manger. It is a good time to reflect on the contrast between worldly power that relies upon force of arms and spiritual power which draws from a relationship with Christ.

In December, we enter the season of Advent, the season of expectation and preparation, as the Church prepares to celebrate the coming of Christ in his incarnation, and also looks ahead to his final advent as judge at the end of time.

A time when we experience the spirit of Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This wonderful mystery of Gods dwelling among us in the fullness of humanity as Emmanuel, historically foretold by the Old Testament Prophets and born of Mary. Jesus, the light for people who walk in darkness, a light that shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. Jesus Christ bringing good tidings, peace, joy to the world and goodwill to all.

This time last year we were in the thick of Coronavirus restrictions when no one was allowed to travel home for Christmas. People dying in their thousands all over the world. The peace and joy we were hoping for seemed to be for many of us, a wishful thinking. Nevertheless, many of us were able to witness or/and experienced the light and love of Christ shining in our homes and community.

The Global Peace Index (GPI), developed by the Institute for Economics & Peace, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank dedicated to shifting the worlds focus to peace as a positive, achievable and tangible measure of human wellbeing and progress. The 2021 GPI reported that 87 countries were more peaceful in 2021 than in 2020 and 73 countries were less peaceful in 2021 than in 2020.

Coronavirus crisis is but only one of the factors causing conflicts in the world. Others factors include terrorist activity, economic and political situations in developing countries and increasing numbers of refugees and heightened political tensions in Europe and the United States of America. However, it seems we are over the worst. Things are getting better and we are looking forward to a much joyful, peaceful and happy Christmas celebration this year.

Jesus brought comfort and joy to his faithful followers in Israel, as he proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand, and that he, as the Messiah, fulfilled the Law of the Prophets, and taught a new message. To love one another as he loved us. For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son into our World, our Emmanuel. God with us.

That Message is still being preached today, it is timeless and underpins all our hope and belief in the comfort and joy that we can bring to others, as well as to ourselves, if we trust in Jesus. Psalm 4 invites us to trust in God to guide us through difficult times, as we lie on our beds, in the expectation and knowledge that God will not desert us and we can look forward to the comfort and joy with which He will reward us for our trust in him.

On behalf of our PCC, may I wish you and your families, peace, goodwill and joy this Christmas and a prosperous and rewarding New Year 2022.

 

Rev Olasupo Ogunyinka.

Team Vicar and Parish Priest of Bruntcliffe