I spent the morning before writing this in B&M on Kingsway looking for gifts that Santa can give to children at St Paul’s Christmas Fair. is a very strange time of year to be a vicar. Last Sunday was Remembrance Sunday, bringing to an end that season of remembering, of looking back that also includes all souls and all saints. In two weeks, time it will be Advent and there are only 6 Sundays before Christmas – and that’s including Christmas Eve! I’m spending a lot of time planning for Christmas. Having fun buying presents, thinking about Christmas crafts and carols. It’s the baby in manger that’s keeping me busy.
But the Church isn’t ready for Christmas yet. In the church calendar we are in what is sometimes called Kingdom Season which ends on Sunday 26th with the celebration of Christ the King. It’s the risen Christ we are focused on, the Christ who in the words of the Apostles Creed,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
The readings we get at this time of year are challenging ones, full of woes and warnings. Last week we had the strange story of the wise and foolish bridesmaids and this week we will hear the parable of the talents where the slave who is so frightened of his master that he buries his talents, his gifts, in the ground rather than using them. It used to frighten me too. But I think that was because no one had explained to me how parables work. They are not allegories. We can’t assume for example that the harsh master in the story is meant to be God. But we can think about what gifts God has given us and how we should use them for God’s glory. God has given us all talents and calls us all to use them to build the Kingdom. We are asked to join in, take risks even, not to hideaway refusing to get involved in case we make a mistake.
These aren’t gifts we can buy at B&M they are far more valuable than that. They’re God given.
I’d urge you all, in amongst the busyness to think about what you have been given and how you can participate in growing the kingdom of God.
And get involved! By all means reflect on the kingship of Christ, please spend time wrestling with difficult bible passages but don’t worry about jumping into Christmas. Use your gifts, at the Christingle Service, and the Christmas Marketplace, at the Foodbank or among friends and family. Use your talents to sing carols and to rejoice.
Remember the song of the angels, do not be afraid. And remember the words of St Paul in another of this Sunday’s readings:
For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
Do not be afraid, encourage each other and use those talents!
With love and prayers,
Our service on Sunday 19th November begins at 10.30 am. We look forward to welcoming back Rev. Jan Ainsworth to preside and preach at our service. Our organist and MD, Ollie Mills will accompany the hymns and lead the singing. Here are details of the readings and hymns for the service: