Sunday, 7 December 2008

Preparing the Way

We've had a cold start to December. Heavy snow on Thursday, though fortunately one of our churchwardens had gritted the road surface on our 1 in 5 hill. So I lost one visit to a residential home through failure to extract the car, but then the snow began to melt and everything else has carried on as usual. Thankfully a funeral cortege and mourners were able to reach us on Friday morning - vying for parking space with the Toddler Group in the Hall. And on Saturday we had an almost totally clear road for our (pre-) Christmas Fair - which was very successful both in terms of attendance and money made! Thanks to all who worked so hard and supported it.

And so to church this morning - I'm glad that numbers are recovering a bit after the weather worries of the last two weekends. I like Advent, though sometimes people worry about pre-emting Christmas a bit too much. This year, though, people's preparations for Christmas seem rather muted - a point I made in my homily this morning. Click here to find it. With all the talk of "Economic Downturn" (was it the government or the BBC who invented that term? - they've certainly got a logo for it on the News), I could do with a bit of glitz. I'm on the lookout for over-the-top Christmas decorations.

Anway, the homily marries questions about the punctuation of Isaiah and Mark in relation to John the Baptist's injunction to "Prepare the Way of the Lord" with reflections on the lives of Nicholas Ferrar and Thomas Merton. Both of them (400 years apart) were members of the college where I was an undergraduate - Clare College, Cambridge. Ferrar's commemoration in the Church of England's Calendar was last Thursday, 4th December. And next Wednesday sees the 40th anniversary of the death of Merton on 10th December 1968. Both continue to have much to teach us. The picture at the top of this post is of Little Gidding where Ferrar established his community - about which T S Eliot wrote in his Four Quartets. I try not to quote Eliot too much, but I've given in this time! Below the portrayal of Ferrar in Clare College Chapel.

And if all that's too serious there's some reference to Frankie goes to Hollywood. Here's to more "50 greatest Christmas hits" compilations which gave me the idea...

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