From the Curate - February 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope the new decade has started well for you and I wonder if you got involved in the #10YearChallenge which experienced a revival on social media as the decade came to an end. In the challenge we were being encouraged to post pictures of ourselves ten years ago and now It had originally started much earlier in the year when celebrities took to social media to show how they had changed (or not) over a ten-year period. For those celebrities and for those who engaged with it for the end of the decade there was a lot of fun to be had. Some took the challenge seriously enough to ensure a similar pose in each picture and others took the opportunity to have fun with a more light-hearted approach. I was tempted to post something myself but resisted - mostly because up until I was ordained I would avoid having my photograph taken at any cost. Now I have to simply give in!

Whether we got involved with the ten-year challenge or not I imagine we all had a moment or two in the past couple of months when we have reflected on the past twelve months and indeed the past ten years. New Year is a natural time for this type of reflection. We may think of those decisions we made and wonder how things may have turned out if we chose differently. We think of those loved ones who have died and who we miss particularly at this time of year. We remember the good times with a smile and the sad times with a tear. We may take time to make a commitment to live or work differently as we look back and maybe rediscover our hopes and dreams. This doesn’t last long, however, as immediately Christmas is ‘over’ we are bombarded with advertisements for summer holidays or sales which we simply can’t miss. In the supermarket a week or so after Christmas Day I saw the range of small chocolate eggs increasing as we are encouraged to focus on the next big spend!

Christmas, however, is not over. In the Church’s Year we are still in the Epiphany Season which lasts up to the beginning of February. This season is where we continue to celebrate the wonderful gift of God becoming human, of God revealing Godself to us by becoming one of us. This gift shows us how much God loves us and wants us to know God as clearly as we can and it is one that brings the greatest thing we can ever hope for - the gift of eternal life. It is something for us to celebrate not just for one day but for a season.

In our fast-paced world we can sometimes forget the importance of recognising we live our lives through seasons. Not simply the seasons of the church year, calendar year, decade or century, but also our own lives. We are always engaging in a cycle which reminds us of periods of growth, plenty, decay, death, peace, activity, understanding and confusion.

Our life is not simply a linear thing but a cycle that offers us time to reflect as well as times to be active. In the Church Year we receive many opportunities to meet God face to face and to hear afresh God’s will for us. This is that we should be people of love, support and nurture and to realise that God sends us the people we need in our lives to help us through the good and bad experiences of life. In this cycle we are reassured that after any death there is new life and indeed that new life cannot come forth without a death.

The new life of love and care is born in us when we die to selfishness, envy and greed. Our eternal life begins when we accept the gift of life that God offers us to see God in the beauty of nature and others around us. Our new and eternal life begins when we say yes to love of God and neighbour and no to jealousy, selfishness and envy.