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St Andrew's News
This is a strange time of year to write for the magazine, December tends to be a time to look back at the year and remember what has happened. While January is more a looking forward and planing ahead time, with Christmas in the middle.
Both of these months involve change, which according to a radio programme I heard recently is very good for your brain! This time last year we were in our second lockdown, anticipating a Christmas that changed again at the last minute, before our third and I would say hardest lockdown.
Through the year, thanks to a swift vaccine roll out we have gradually found our way to near normality and during that time embraced many more events outside as well as inside, perhaps smaller, but much more personal, which included a host of weddings and baptisms.
Open The Book, where a team of us introduce stories from the Bible at Ombersley assemblies, has not been into school yet, but we have graduated to zooming from church. The roles of cast, director, sound and vision persons are pretty mixed, but we are getting better!
I know we will have had an uplifting evening listening to The Foden Brass Band at the end of November, just before Advent. The Posada ( Mary, Joseph….and the Donkey) will have started it’s journey around the village on the 28th, I am sorry we didn’t mention this in the last magazine but hope everyone who wanted to join in has had a chance.
Christmas is a bit of last year;
Carols in the CarPark on December 12th at 3pm (Memorial Hall)
but with refreshments this year, and as usual we will be collecting for a charity for the homeless,
and the more normal ‘Traditional Readings and Carols’ in church on December 19th at 4pm
with many thanks to Louise and the music team for agreeing to two!
The Midnight service is back at 11.30pm Christmas Eve and our Informal Christmas Morning service will be at 10.30 this year.
On December 26th and Jan 2nd Rev Stephen will Zoom us a service at 11am.
What will the New Year bring?
Can we try and restart Monday Morning Meeting for new mums? We had one meeting before Coronavirus stopped everything. We need to know if there are mums who would be interested in a place to meet and chat, and we need people willing to welcome them and make tea or coffee …are you there?
Please contact any member of the PCC
We wish you all health, happiness, and just a little bit of change.
The Readings for The Feast of Christ The King
Sunday 21st November 2021
Daniel 7.9-10 & 13-14; Revelation 1.4b-8; John 18.33-37
If you want to find all the readings for this Sunday and prayers and artwork from the website of the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University please either click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
The Collect for the Feast of Christ the King: Eternal Father, whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord and King: keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace, and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet...
“My kingdom is not from this world.” These are words that Jesus says at his trial before Pontius Pilate. And the way in which this is often understood is to say that what Jesus is saying here is that his kingdom is a spiritual one, that it is about private beliefs, about an inner life. And all this makes the decision to put Jesus to death seem really unfair. How unkind to put to death a decent, kindly chap who has never done any harm to anyone.
Of course, if the kingdom that Jesus is talking about is just about being decent and kindly then putting him to death is really unfair. But Jesus is talking about much more than decency and kindliness here.
All the kingdoms of this world are about security, status, pleasure and power. Now none of these things are bad in themselves. I would rather live in a country that was secure than insecure. I am perfectly happy to grant the Queen a status that settles the matter once and for all about who has the most important status in our country. And every day I pray for her and for her ministers in the words of The Book of Common Prayer that “she, knowing whose minister she is, may above all things seek thy honour and glory.” I find pleasure in many ways as I trust that those of you who have shared my company will have observed. And when power is used to protect the week against the strong so that women and children can feel safe in their own homes and the elderly and frail are treated with dignity and respect then power is very necessary.
But when security, status, pleasure and power become ends in themselves; when I give my life in order to gain these things for myself, then they become idols, false gods. It was a follower of St John, Iranaeus of Lyon, who said that “the glory of God is a human being who is fully alive” (Gloria Dei est Homo Vivens) and of course, St John records Jesus himself as saying “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10.10). Security, status, pleasure and power are for the sake of abundant life for all people and not just for a privileged few; and when we deny these things to anyone so that we can keep them just for ourselves then we have become worshippers of false gods.
So why were the religious and political establishment of Jesus's time threatened by him? It was because he was a threat to their security, status, pleasure and power. He said that our final loyalty is not to people like them but to a higher power. And I am confident that if I give my loyalty to Christ who, as the Collect says, rules over all things, that he lays down his life for all people, that they might live and live abundantly. And that seems like a pretty good definition of all good leadership to me. What do you think?