January Letter from The Ministry Team - Revd Philip Robinson
The second service we held in St Paul’s Over Tabley after it was re-opened following the reordering was Communion and Carols on 20 December. Sadly, of course the congregation couldn’t sing – just hum under their masks if they wished. At the conclusion of the service, we all went outside and, socially distanced, sang O Come All Ye Faithful. We found a way to sing which didn’t contravene the Covid-19 safety rules.
The year 2020 was hard for everyone, a long and difficult journey; but If there was a theme running through 2020 it was that determination, love and care enabled people to find a way through the changes, the suffering, the struggles. At the moment the year ahead may look rather depressing and dark but there is light at the end of the tunnel of the present situation and the restrictions we have been living under.
When we had sung that carol outside St Paul’s just before Christmas, I reminded those present that one of the names of Jesus we remember at that season is ‘Emmanuel’ which means God with us. The essence of the Christmas story is that God came to live with us and experienced human life in all is joy, all its sadness all its messiness. God in Jesus experienced everything that could be known about human existence. As we move on from Christmas into the New Year it is encouraging to know that just as the shepherds and Wise Men searched for the baby at Bethlehem, Jesus can still be found by those who look for him. God in Jesus can be our companion and guide through the days, weeks and months of the New Year.
Looking ahead to 2021 there are still many uncertainties although, with the Brexit deal having been achieved and, as I write this piece, the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine approved for use here, there is much to be hopeful about. If you keep a journal the first day of January provides a blank page where the story of your life begins a new chapter. Although we may still be feeling daunted about the weeks ahead, we can follow the advice of Martin Luther King, Junior - “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
As we take those first steps into the New Year, remember that Emmanuel (God with us) is here to light and guide our path and encourage us as we journey on.
With all good wishes for 2021. Patricia
If you are lonely or finding life difficult and would like to talk to someone please telephone one of the ministry team whose contact details are the contacts page of this website. All conversations are in strict confidence.