Reflection on Bible Sunday
Today is traditionally (now) Bible Sunday, though traditionally it used to be in Advent! Traditions do change.
One big book with two sections. 39 documents in the “Old” section and 27 in the “New”.
Those documents are a wonderful variety – there are letters, and poems, there is drama, there are the records of the prophets, there are various ways in which history is recorded and shared, there are “gospels”, rather like the ancient biographies, but focused on the life, work and death of Jesus.
We meet kings like David and resourceful women like Ruth, we meet Ethiopian enquirers and the Queen of Sheba. The action is centred around Jerusalem and its surrounds, but it spills over into Egypt, across to Babylon and the empires of Assyria and Persia, and in the New Testament heads west through what is now Turkey and Greece to include Rome.
There are songs of praise and poems of desolation and lament. Paul writes passionate theological arguments, and John of Revelation paints vivid word pictures. John’s gospel is like a jazz riff on key themes from the other gospels. The heroes are presented with their very human flaws, and through it, all God calls and invites and seeks – though too often the people do not respond.
Yet this fantastic book too often remains shut and unopened. Your word is a lamp to my path – but a torch is no great help if it is switched off! Let’s open this book and immerse ourselves in it.
So the clocks go back this weekend – we wake up and half of them have done it themselves and half need our help!
What if the calendar could go back? What if we could know a year ago what Covid would do and so how we might have prepared to make our world safer? What if we could have known how a politician would turn out, how a relationship would turn out, how a decision would turn out.
What about the things we regret, the things we wish we could have done, the things we did and which caused hurt?
We might change the clocks so that it is lighter in the morning, but it doesn’t put time backwards, though maybe twice as many babies are born in that “double-hour” – the hour in the middle of the night when it all happens.
There was a time, way back, when eternity came into time, at night, in the privacy of the dark, when Emmanuel was born, God with us, Jesus, who will save us from our sin.
We cannot go back, or undo what has been done, but in Jesus we have the chance for forgiveness.
We cannot go back and know, we can’t know what the future will bring, but in Jesus we have a sure promise.
We can feel anxious now about the past, and past choices, and about the future and its uncertainty, but in Jesus we have the offer of peace.
We will wake up to the “clocks having gone back”, to the gift and opportunity and challenge of the new day: May we know God’s guidance and seek his guidance in this day and each day.
We trust in God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, and in his strength, we face the day, and in his love, we can find good in each day, and in his grace, we can offer love and kindness to others.
Notices for Sunday
Sunday is our Annual Meeting, when we do the necessary business, electing and appointing to the necessary posts and roles. But the Annual Meeting is a time to give thanks for the past year, and to those who have done so much – and so many people do so much. And it is a time to look forward with hope and realism to the coming year, and it is a time to pray together, that we will be led by God, and listen to God.
If you can stay on for the APCM please do.
The boiler at St Anne’s is old and has broken; we are trying to source parts but they are proving difficult, without a time-machine.
We will look to fix it as soon as we can, but we know this makes church cold.
This is also a reminder that there will come a time when we have to renew the heating system. We cannot expect this boiler to last for ever.
Church for a Different World Awards:
The Turton Moorland Team have been highly commended by the diocese for our response to the Covid crisis, for the way we have – together – responded, both with new ideas, like the online service each week, with the provision of online resources – Worship-at-Home and Children’s resources each week, daily prayers both as a text and on Twitter and Facebook, and the posting of prayer resources and reflections to those who do not have internet, or use the internet and the phone calls that have been made by so many to others.
We are delighted that we have won this accolade (along with a number of other parishes). We have tried to make it a Team response, suitable and appropriate in each parish, and different people have contributed in different ways. A copy of our certificate is in church, and also on our websites.
This week we will elect a new Church Warden to replace Simon Maguire who is stepping down after 4 ½ years – We want to thank Simon for all he has done and for his commitment and involvement – not least in the last 18 months with a vacancy and then covid. Thank you, Simon, for all you have given and done.
Rev’d Peter Reiss: 23rd Oct 2020