Amma Sue - April 2013

posted 7 May 2013, 12:49 by Richard Jones   [ updated 7 May 2013, 12:49 ]

My dear friends,

May I begin with a huge THANK YOU for your welcome and to everyone who came to the Induction and Installation Service on the 12th March. It was a very special occasion made more so by being able to inaugurate the United Benefice at the same time.  The Churchwardens’ choral speaking was particularly impressive as they, in unison, read the Letter of Intent for the United Benefice before signing it; especially as they had had no time to rehearse before the service! Another thank you also goes to them for all their efforts in organising all the details over invitations, parking, and overseeing the catering. Thanks to Graham Tipper and Jim Saunders for sorting out the Order of Service which proved a particularly trying task (isn’t information technology wonderful – sometimes!) And if there’s one thing that can be said about this new United Benefice – they can really lay on a ‘cracking spread’! So thank you to all who made sandwiches, baked cakes, cooked pies, arranged flowers laid the table, sorted out the chairs and tables – and laboured long and hard making gallons of tea and coffee! (As I watched on the news broadcast the new Pope Francis give his inaugural Pontifical blessing from the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square  I couldn’t help wondering if he too would go on to enjoy a good ‘Jacob’s Join’ in the Vatican afterwards!) 

Celebrations are wonderful things – there’s a lot to be said for a good party; and of course Our Lord himself wasn’t averse to the odd “knees-up”, even one occasion providing enough wine to leave everyone with a headache the next morning! I remember attending a mission and outreach service in a pub many years ago where the worship leader opened proceedings by announcing “I like pubs – and God does too, after all, his Son was born at the back of one!” Whatever we may think about the historical veracity of that statement I think we can all understand the motivation behind it. And this time of year is for the Christian Church the greatest celebration of all as we give thanks to God for, and rejoice in, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Human joys and sorrows, weddings, parties, and wakes, beginnings and endings are at the very heart of God in Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, very God from very God. Not for us a God who sits on a cloud far above the strains and stresses and the “slings and arrows” of life for our God is a God who “risked an incarnation” and entered into creation for love, love of me and love of you. The heart of the good news of the Gospel is the fact that “in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself (2 Cor. 5,19).” Our Creator God saw all that God had made and saw that it was good (Genesis 1,31), and even after humankind had rejected God’s will in favour of their own conceit (Genesis 3. 21) continued to find it very good, continued to long for individual women and men to enter into relationship and partnership with God to bring about the kingdom.  And out of that yearning love the Word became flesh and lived among us (John 1, 14). Out of that yearning love the Holy Spirit came with rushing wind and tongues of fire (Acts 2, 2&3). And out of that yearning love God continues to call young and old, men and women, you and me to respond with joyful love and praise – and to go out and tell the good news to all (Matthew 28, 19). 

So this Eastertide let’s have a celebration! Let’s celebrate the good news of Christ who lived, and died and rose again for love. But let us also remember that Christ’s risen body still bears the scars of suffering and crucifixion. Let us remember that when the celebrations turn to tears our God knows and knows just what it’s like – in fact only God can say ‘I know - I know how you feel’ and it be nothing more than the literal truth. Whether we’re celebrating or weeping, God knows and God is there.

With every blessing

Amma Sue