The days seem to pass by so quickly at the moment. October has been a particularly active month and the fuller diary that I am experiencing is much greater than it has been for many, many months. I am finding it hard to keep up – its as if my brain and my body are working at different speeds and I have to stop every so often to catch up with myself again! Feeling tired and then extremely tired seem to be the result, so having to pace myself is definitely the order of the day, week or month.
I don’t know about you but I could do with a good dollop of hope!
October and November are traditionally times of remembering – looking back, not to wallow but to be realistic about what has happened and to give thanks too. We have done some of this with our two sessions on Reflections on the Pandemic when people really found it helpful to hear from one another. We also had a special service on 31st October in order to take these reflections to God.
November of course brings All Souls and Remembrance Sunday when we look back in a different way. After these the church year winds down – very quickly this year and Advent Sunday falls on 28th November.
As Christians we are a people of hope, we have hope in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us on the Cross – our faith in him leads us to know deep in our hearts that he is the way, the truth, and the life. As we continue to ‘re-awaken’ let’s be mindful of those who are still suffering or have health issues within our congregation and let us also be people of hope too – hope for a continuing journey with God as we sense the way forward for our church.
Some folks will be entirely fed up with looking back and waiting, I understand that; others will be quite happy to wait for a long time. Waiting time is not wasted, it grounds us, certainly teaches us patience and enables us to rest. As Christians we have to hold realism with the world that we are living in and hold that – whilst at the same time having a sense of hope and trust in God for the future.
One way we can move between these two different places is to celebrate! Advent and Christmas offer us a great opportunity to celebrate – we wait with hope during Advent and celebrate the incarnation in many different ways at Christmas. Is now the time to celebrate with a purpose? As far as we can, I think it is. Celebration doesn’t have to be huge big events, but it can be found in the smaller things too – the wonderful cakes we shared at someone’s birthday recently, a celebration of a life also took place recently. These things are important – they help us to come together of course and help us to give thanks and be thankful for life in all its fulness.
Each Sunday as we come to worship we are celebrating all that Jesus did – I hope that we look like we are celebrating too! Hebrews 13.15-16 say this: ‘Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.’ Here the Hebrew writer is reminding us that sometimes praise and celebration require a sacrifice as we are asked to praise Jesus in our prayers, in our worship and in our testimony too.
By choosing to celebrate despite the difficulties that we all face we are choosing to take God at his word – being people of hope, caring for one another and holding fast to the Lord as we navigate the future.
Revd Gerri Tetzlaff