Something new, something different….
A sign I’m getting older is that time seems to get faster and faster! I’m sure there’s a Physics equation for it somewhere; but even if there is, I suspect there is still no solution for it. For it is, once again, the start of the Churches New Year – Advent. A new year, a new start, a new time to once more reflect and prepare within the season. Maybe to go beyond what one normally does at this time of year…..an opportunity given to us afresh to look for something new, something different.
Last Sunday’s gospel from Saint Matthew brought us again the character of John the Baptist – a character indeed by what he wore and ate, and the way he behaved; but nonetheless someone many were drawn to come and listen to. The forerunner crying out in the wilderness, preparing the way for Jesus; the one foretold by the voices of the past, to be the life and voice for all eternity.
Canon Leslie, in his material for preparing the Sunday gospel, leant us the image of Christmas Cards…as one to ponder over for how we should prepare and get ready once more at this time of the year. It took me back immediately to my childhood and the family home – when Christmas Cards started way back in September! My dearest parents, may they rest in peace, both came from large families; as immigrants, their friends and relatives were across the globe. So, the card list was vast, and complicated – and it needed to start early to send so many cards by surface mail to guarantee getting to them all in time for Christmas. And in return, we would receive cards with a rich variety of postage stamps from across the world; many with the unifying message of prayers for love and peace, through Jesus Christ.
And indeed, that should be a key message we proclaim afresh now, perhaps looking for new ways to do so – as a single humanity, with many things challenging us all across boundaries of countries, faiths and creeds. And it’s only by working together that we can truly progress, to something new and something different. Surely our experience of the past few years should have taught us that; and how, through our God-given gifts, so many came together to get through it all.
And that’s something I was able to mention recently – whilst giving a lovely primary school assembly in the village where I now live in Lancashire; the morning when the amazing Artemis rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft (see above) finally launched on November 16th – a modern feat only possible through scientists working together across the world for its flight, its design, for its mission – with the intention that when subsequent flights follow it, we will see the first woman and first person of colour walk on the moon’s surface.
So, in this time of preparation, may we look for something new, something different in our lives – perhaps inspired by the wonderful examples where we do work together for the good of humankind across nations. In the same way John the Baptist presented the opportunity to the people of Judea, Jesus presents himself to us once more, with the opportunity of changing our lives for the way we serve as Christians. The things new and different don’t need to be earth-shattering feats – our science shows us that; it takes the combination of all of us, in ways large and small, to achieve such things. Just the one Jesus, brought something new, something different that would bring about change for all eternity. As individuals, changing and evolving together – we can do so too…..in Jesus’ name.
Something new, something different could start in our own lives, families and communities, or with us within the cathedral community. Come along, any time, during Advent and Christmastide, and we can explore things together. Take a look on our website, for all of what’s happening; from the amazing current Son et Lumiere designed by Peter Walker, to all our Christmas events and services.
As always, whether with us, or in your own time and space, our prayers are with you…..with Christ’s love; go gently…..
Canon Mike 😊