A very Happy New Year to you all! Any New Year’s resolutions made??
As I sit and write to you we are very much in the heart of winter. It certainly feels like January out there, and we are very much huddled up in multiple layers as we wait in the coming months for the first signs of spring to appear, and an enormous thank you goes to those who donated to our parish gift day in Mundford, we have raised in excess of £1,000, thank you so much to your gift to your parish church!
In the church calendar we have celebrated the Christmas Season, receiving afresh the Good News of Jesus coming among us and had the joy of many people celebrating His birth in many of our church communities, with record breaking numbers of people of all ages at our Christingle service in Mundford on Christmas Eve. It was such a joy to share in this special service, along with some wonderful Nativity plays performed by the children of Gooderstone and Mundford schools.
Following on from the Christmas season comes the season of Epiphany, which literally means ‘enlightenment’.
During the season of Epiphany we explore God revealing Himself to us in new ways, what was once hidden is now revealed, and many of the readings we hear in this season reflect this, as we lead on into a new season of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday and eventually leading to Easter.
When we are very busy in our lives it is very easy to blot out a lot of what surrounds us, because we are immersed in so many of the demands of what life has to hold, and perhaps miss the signs and changes that are happening all around us in our villages and the wider world.
On New Year’s Day this year I decided to take a walk in the heart of the forest. It never fails to amaze me how beautiful the area in which we live truly is, or the diversity of the countryside surrounding us, and I made a decision that as part of my new year’s resolution was to take more time out to just be immersed in the gift that God has given around us.
However, I am also aware that there are areas of the world that are not so beautiful due to the greed and destruction of humanity, or natural disasters that occur across the world and sometimes we question how God speaks into this, along with the things that happen where we are left utterly speechless with endless questions that appear to have no logical answer.
It is these times when perhaps the ‘big’ questions of life are asked, and where God’s revealing to us is at its most powerful.
The gift of God Himself, who came as a vulnerable babe into the world, who experienced what it was to be truly human. God who in Jesus was nailed to the cross to take on all of the hurt, rejection, and pain of the world, and in love would reveal the most powerful emotion of all – forgiveness.
As we discover God’s revealing to us this year, in new ways, the greatest Epiphany of all is that the promise of Christmas and indeed Easter is that we are never truly alone, and that forgiveness is the route to all freedom. Even in the most desperate times there is an opportunity of hope, because the One who was born at Christmas-time, is the same One who leads us into a new way of living, a new way of looking at the world around us, and a new way of hearing the needs of the world, and a new way of learning how to forgive.
With every love and blessing,
Your parish priest, Zoe
Revd. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge Mundford Group Benefice & Assistant Priest to Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.
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