Team Rector's Letter December 2019

rectorstroudwater@gmail.com                      The Rectory, Church Lane

07466 858 975                                                                           Leonard Stanley, GL10 3NP

                                                                                                  December 2019

CHRISTMAS, OUR HOPE

As many of you will know, I spent half of October and November in South Africa, accompanying my daughter to write her final school exams. It’s been a wonderful time, not least as I have had time to catch up with people I have ministered to over the last 20 odd years, some of them have been very odd indeed.

I am sure you are expecting some comment on the Springbok win over England in the Rugby World Cup, and I won’t disappoint. First of all, my condolences, I know it was a tough loss, and of course there are all the sports pundits writing now as to why England lost; before the match, it was all about why they should win.

For South Africa as a nation, and for the Springboks as a team, there is a very powerful undercurrent behind all the sport stuff. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been through the South African experience as a member of that beautiful nation can truly grasp the level of hope this win symbolises. This is a nation which has been battered and hammered over and over, and yet it defies the odds and flourishes in some weird ways. In the RWC win, we saw racial cohesion, we saw people coming from extremely impoverished backgrounds and succeeding on a world stage, we saw a South African coach outsmart one of the best coaches in the world, we had a nation which saw people like them on the field and in their hearts they were saying, ‘Maybe I too can make it’. Well done to Prince Harry for saving the day for England and graciously recognising that this was about more than just men chasing a funny ball; this was about hope.

The season we step into as a nation and as a church is one which has this deep current of hope running behind all the wonderful and exciting parts of Advent and Christmas time. Hope, because God deems us worthy enough to completely transform Himself to come and be one of us, because He risks Himself for us, because through Christmas, we can now see one of us as part of who God is. God decided that it was not enough to observe humanity but He had to become human in order to know what it is like to live as one of us. He knew we couldn’t simply behave our way out of sin and brokenness, so He came to share that burden and to lift us up. He came so that we wouldn’t just theorise about God, but that we would know Him intimately as friend and lover. He came that He would continue to live among us and in us.

This Christmas, let this hope of Jesus  - as one of us, making us one with God, drawing us into the very heart of the life of God; let this hope inspire in you a renewed love for God and a deeper desire to simply offer yourself to Him to be His friend and follower.

 

Rev Stephen Harrison