RECTOR'S december pew LETTER
Advent Reflection. There is a T-shirt that says: “Jesus is Coming - look busy!”. I suppose it is quite funny (the ludicrous thought that we could deceive Jesus/God by pretending to be busy) but it actually presents a real and life-changing truth: Jesus is coming and when He comes His mission will be a far cry from that undertaken by the ‘babe wrapped in swaddling clothes’. Christmas is about that babe – the God incarnate, God-made-man – who came to save us from our sins, to die instead of us so that we could be reconciled with God and have eternal life. He first came as a saviour; our Lord and saviour. It is an enchanting story of the power of love over hate and of self-sacrifice and as a rescue plan is so audacious, so costly as to be almost unbelievable.
But what of Advent? As we all know we are now left in these ‘in-between times’ – death has been defeated but it persists; our sins have been paid for but still abound; Satan defeated but still active. As Christians struggle and are persecuted we can wonder when will it all end? The answer is that it will end but we don’t know when. We know that Satan will finally be vanquished, death itself be destroyed and sin and evil wiped out. Jesus will achieve all of this when He returns: not as a babe but as a conquering sword-wielding king destroying all evil. His return will I imagine be pretty frightening especially for those who don’t recognise Him. So I guess we do all need to look busy! Not as a deception but to actually live a life sacrificially devoted to serving God and proclaiming the gospel so as many people as possible get to recognise Jesus when He returns. This is what discipleship is all about – getting to know Jesus and getting to do the things that Jesus did when he lived in Palestine: proclaiming the Good News, healing the sick, making disciples and baptising them. The Advent season is about asking yourself: “am I ready for Christ’s return?”. Take time out to examine yourselves. How is your walk with the Lord? How is your prayer life? Are you serving Him or just along for the ride? Are you really ready to meet Him?
Waiting for Jesus. A good way to do this is at our Advent prayer event – ‘Waiting for Jesus’. It is on Wednesday 6th December 8-9pm. It will help us focus on Advent and prepare ourselves for Christmas. There will be music, readings, songs, reflections and quiet.
Christmas Services. We are fast approaching the second most important time in the Church calendar and the most important time as far as guest services are concerned. Over the next few weeks we can expect around 2000 people to visit the Parish Church and we must do our utmost to make their experience so good that they want to return!
As ever we’ll be pouring ourselves out to make our major services really good so I hope and pray you’ll be inviting friends and neighbours along. Details are on our website but this is the programme:
· Messy Church 10th December at 3pm – fun for families.
· Christmas jumper service at the 6pm on 10th December. Come wearing a …. you guessed it – the gaudier the better!
· Crib Service at the 9.30am on the 17th – children come dressed as angels, shepherds, cattle and wise men. Perfect to ask neighbours/friends with young families along to.
· Carols by Candlelight are also on the 17th at 6pm – with Buckingham Choral Society.
· Christmas Eve (Sunday morning) – Holy Communion at 9am.
· Christingle Services at 3pm and 5pm on Christmas Eve (free tickets available at www.bpchurch.uk/Christmas or from the Office)
· Christmas morning - Don’t forget that there is a combined service on Christmas morning at 10am (as well as an 8am BCP).
· New Year’s Eve - Morning. On Sunday 31st there is no 9.30am but an 11am traditional Communion service.
· New Year’s Eve - Evening. There is a praise party in the evening to see in the New Year (details to follow).
Help. We need lots of helpers at the Carols by Candlelight, Christingles and Midnight Communion services. If you can help, please sign-up on the boards at the rear of church. This is VITAL so that we can welcome and look after people really well.
Christingle Drama. If you’d like to take part please email Danny as soon as possible – we are still recruiting the cast.
Prayer & Praise. We meet as usual for an hour of ‘Prayer & Praise’ on Monday 4th 8-9pm. It is vital that as a church we pray fervently for God’s direction and blessing on our ministries and people.
Questionnaire. We will shortly be sending out an on-line survey asking for comment and feedback on what we are doing at BPC. I do hope that when you receive it (and we’ll try and get some paper copies created for those who don’t have internet access) you’ll take it seriously and complete it honestly and truthfully. If we don’t get feedback we cannot improve.
Alpha is over and has been a massive success. Please do pray for those who finished the course. We now have an annual cycle of 3 courses a year and the next one will start on 10th January. Do please now be thinking of who you can invite. If you’ve not done the course why not give it a go? I’ve done it many times and always learn something new.
Land Rover Restoration Project. If you’d like to be a part of a team that occasionally meets up to spend a few hours restoring a 1962 Land Rover, please let me know via email email@example.com.
Christmas Day Lunches. Sadly there is no Churches Together Christmas Day lunch at the Community Centre. Instead we are hoping that individuals in the churches will invite people to eat with them. A grant of £15 per guest is available to help with the cost of a present. If you’d like to host someone for lunch please let the Office know.
What exciting times we live in and what a privilege to be a part of this great and vibrant Church; thank you and may God bless you!
With every blessing,