No Strange Land!

From the Rector’s Desk…No Strange Land!Covid-19, Omicron and Delta are all beginning to bite at many of our ankles in all sorts of ways. There have been some really sad and tragic stories of families being split apart by the new travel restrictions this Christmas season. We are encouraged to return to our “laagers” and the safety of our “covid bubbles’. Carol services and even Christmas Day will not be anything like it has been before. After-Matric Raves have been cancelled. It is as if we have been put into a place of exile. Do you remember Psalm 137? Listen to some of the verses here: –Psalm 137 – By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?If you are an old-timer like me, you may remember a song set to that Psalm. For a blast from the past – listen to it here ….Boney-M no less.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYK9iCRb7S4The principal message from Psalm 137 is that the people of Israel found it really difficult to be filled with joy and happiness when they were in a strange land. They were weary and deeply homesick. After 624 days of lockdown we may well feel that we are in a strange land far away from the hustle and bustle of normal day to day lives. Our new reality is harsh and alien and just a little frightening for we have no idea how this will unravel.Faithful parishioners are coming back to me saying that they are feeling abandoned and frightened. As if to say: – “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land”.God is ever presentBut, my brothers and sisters, while you may well feel that you are in a strange land – or might even feel that God has left you and gone off to a far-off place….. the truth is – God is still the same and ever present. If we feel that God is far away, then guess who moved – we did!  Away from God’s protective covering and assuring embrace! It is so easy to feel that way when trouble strikes. Eddie Askew suggests that ‘we somehow wall ourselves in behind our misery and, because our vision has so narrowed, we can’t see or feel God’s presence.’Take heartThis is no strange land for God and his love and compassion are at work wherever we are.Here is a part of a poem from Eddies’ book ‘No Strange Land’:-Lord, it is so easy to give in.To let the clouds gatherDark and threatening,Whipped up be the winds of my own fearMists of my own makingBlotting out the light and warmth of your presence.So easy, in mouth dry anxiety,To feel alone.Abandoned. Unprotected.And yet, Lord, you are nearI hold on to your promise“For I am with you always.”Always, Unconditional.There are no strange lands to you!God is with us!!Hallelujah. The Incarnation of Christmas proved that!! God with us – the hope of glory!Be blessedRob

Return wrapped shoes & stationery by Friday, 17 December. Please contact the office if you would like us to take a tag for you and let you know the details.

Ordinations - 16 December Please pray for Michelle Werth, Andrew White & Nizam Kader and their families as they prepare for ordination.

During these 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women & children please pray for all vulnerable people.

Holiday Services
  • 26 December  – 8:30am Holy Communion
  • 2 January – 8:30am Holy Communion
  • 9 January – We welcome Archdeacon Claire Phelps on her first Sunday with us at 7:30 & 9:30am.

Christmas Food ParcelsWe are collecting the following treats for the Christmas food parcels:Biscuits, sweets, canned fruit & jelly.

Children & Teen Ministry This Sunday Children welcome in the Youth Centre after communion. Teens are encouraged to stay in church.

All sermons are available on our website.

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