Christmas 2017: Light and life to all He brings
‘What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’ – St John’s Gospel
Dear Parishioner in Lansdown, Charlcombe and Ensleigh
What a joy to be able to welcome all of you who’ve moved into the new development at Ensleigh this year. I do hope you’ve settled in and are looking forward to your first Christmas up on Lansdown.
Where has this year gone? Blink and you missed it. I wonder what you’re left with as we approach the end of 2017. There were the awful, cynical, cruel atrocities that seemed to merge into each other. And the endless stream of alleged violations against (mainly) women by men in power. I read an article about one alleged media sexual abuser which asked why it was that men with enormous power and phenomenal wealth risk it all so readily.
It comes down to what inner voice people listen to. The ego can say that it has a right to that woman’s body, or to dodge that tax bill, and that it has little concern for the consequences: lives shattered, a nation’s resources impoverished. This year we’ve begun a regular meditation community at St Mary’s in accordance with early Christian practice of contemplative prayer. The spiritual writer Thomas Merton talks about each person having a centre of being that is ‘… like a pure diamond blazing with the invisible light of heaven.’ In the space and silence of meditation we seek to change, and allow this centre to be the voice we hear and live by. To know we are loved, and that to live well means loving all people; that ‘if Christ is in me, he’s also in thee.’ It’s a journey of faith, I guess it’s a bit like when you eat a meal: the eating is great, but it’s in the digesting, which we’re not usually even aware of, that the goodness feeds us.
You may have other names for this centre, but ‘God’ is fine for me, and gives a wonderful resonance to the carol’s line, ‘be born in us today’. And the change is happening, slowly, in silent footfalls. As Mother Teresa said, ‘We can’t do great things, but we can do small things with great love.’
The light and life of heaven be with you, and all you love, pray for and remember this Christmas.
Mission is the living out of our faith in the world, bringing the love of god to humanity through prayer and action. We place great emphasis on three means of doing this: Hospitality, Generosity, Inclusion.
We are lucky enough to have an ancient and absolutely beautiful church which we wish as many as possible to enjoy, whether christian or not. We have strong links with ‘Living Springs’, the LGBT church in Bath, and are looking for ways to share our ministry.
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We are a small country church community in a vibrant city – and yet only 10 minute drive from the centre