Pew Sermon – 15th January

Hello again from Rutton! This is my first article of 2023, which is exciting! Because I love catching up with you all.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – as you will probably know – was a church service every few hours, and often two in parallel! All went well, and then after, I had a few days off to catch up with family and non-church things. Then back again for a pretty grey January, but with bursts of very welcome sunshine.

I have spoken to many people who are finding January very tough. There are complex reasons for this, not least the short, gray days, lack of sunlight, and quite a lot of rain. This is particularly hard on those with illness or infirmity, and on those recently bereaved. Please do keep in touch on all that, either with me, or with our excellent pastoral carers – we want to hear from you!

When I was running a small business, I used to say to staff that I only have one rule. If there’s a problem or an issue, or if you feel overlooked, don’t go off grumbling into the sunset – just tell me! I am unsure whether my staff ever followed that simple rule – but they did tend to stay for years. So that’s something… 

So – keep in touch on all matters, big and small – if you can!

Lots to pray for going forwards: 

We have a joint PCC meeting on the evening of Friday 27th – lots to discuss and agree. I would love to make outreach the main focus – what do you think?

We have a concert and cake event at the Winn Hall on Wednesday 25th at 2.30 pm. Although this is not a church event, the ‘dog-collar duo’ of Roy and Rutton would love to see you there, and have some good conversations with all  who might come – watch out for the flyers. No charge, no booking, just come!

And I am also in conversation with Cranleigh about the possibility of a joint Lent course. That would be an exciting opportunity for us if it works out as a joint enterprise. 

Small groups meeting together are SO rewarding! Or else we will run our own Lent course again. If you have not been on a short course before – please be aware how good they are – we want you to join in!

And finally – what comfort can we find in a grey January from our Christian faith and tradition? Well, I wonder how the Holy Family felt after their long journey, and adventures, and after the birth, and the shepherds and the bright lights?

And then after the Magi – those mysterious and not very Christian visitors, travelling indeed so far, with no certainty of success, to see the Christ-child. And being rewarded for their faith in finding him.

Reward for faith can sometimes be elusive. The next part of the story involves genocide and a dangerous refugee escape journey for Joseph and Mary to Egypt. Egypt of all places! That’s the place of slavery and tyranny that the Israelites had to escape from in the first place!

Don’t send us back to Egypt, Lord! They might have thought to themselves.

But that was the place of safety. For now. And so, they went.

God provides for us in unexpected ways; in our darkness and dangers and difficulties. Our job is to trust and obey what we feel God is saying, or guiding, or go where He might be leading. Easier said than done!

But we have each other. So let us encourage one another as we journey through winter to spring. It will come!