Monday, 3 December 2012

Cause for Good News…

This is the "View from the Vicarage" article which appears in our new Parish Magazine - now online:
We know how much we need news we can be glad about. In making notes for what I might put in this edition of the parish magazine, I found myself writing about the defeat of the Church’s attempt to bring forward the Consecration of Women as Bishops - and about Bishop Justin leaving us so soon to be Archbishop of Canterbury. That’s all rather depressing. You can read about it elsewhere in this magazine.

But here I need to remember that this is the edition of the magazine that covers Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. These are the seasons that tell us that there is Good News even when everything might seem dark. Don’t jump too quickly into Christmas mode… First there’s Advent, the time of waiting for Christ’s coming. It’s about knowing there is good news ahead, but we have to make sense of it in the here and now. Then there’s Christmas - God touching us as he comes in the fullness of our humanity as the Child of Bethlehem. And then Epiphany is about the recognition of what God has done - that his glory is there to be revealed in Jesus.

God calls us to trust him - and the sign of his trustworthiness and enduring love is revealed in Jesus.
Archbishop Rowan had more cause than most to be disappointed at the failure of the legislation on women bishops, but as ever he rose to respond with charity and deep wisdom. As he made his farewell speech to General Synod, he quoted St John of the Cross, who said: ‘Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.’ For the word “love” he suggested we could substitute the word “trust.” What can you say when someone tells you, ‘I don’t trust you anymore.’? ‘Where there is no trust, put trust, and you will find trust.’ ‘Where there is no love, put love, and you will harvest love.’I heard those words of John of the Cross preached by someone else a few days later. I asked her if she’d been inspired by hearing what Archbishop Rowan had said. In fact she hadn’t heard or read the speech at all. They were words which she already knew and which sustained her.

Where there is no love, put love, and you will harvest love.’ That’s our calling. And at Christmas we see that God has already done just that.

Martin Jackson

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