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25th Jun, 2021

Christmas 2020 message: Rev Paul Lawlor reminds people support is out there

WHAT a year this has been, and the New Year looks to be ‘interesting’ too.

Not easy times to be a church leader! New theological reflections (pandemic and suffering) and technological skills (online worship and meetings etc), plus, how to do pastoral stuff?

The same can be said for all of us. Not an easy time to be a …. Insert word here.

It has been a year when I believe we have needed to look more closely at what it is to be human.

What are our real needs, what are our real motivations? For me as a minister in the Church what is God doing or saying to us in all of this?

Two things have really struck me as we have moved through this year.

First came from a conversation with the manager of the Kingfisher Centre as we reflected that it feels as if we are in a rowing boat surrounded by fog.

You can put in lots of effort, but you don’t know if you are going in the right direction. The destination is not visible and so ceases to be as important. What does increase in importance is how we travel. How we behave towards those we travel with.

In Matthew 22, Jesus responds to the question, ‘what is the greatest commandment’, with ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

Three things, to love, God, Neighbour and Self!

To do this we need to know that we too are loved and that brings me to the second thing which has struck me.

As I walk through the lovely tree in the town centre and look at the Crib scene in the porch of St Stephen’s Church I am struck by how amazing it is that God was willing to come, as Jesus, to be with us in the messiness of life.

Willing to be born in the messiness of the straw of a manger. Jesus in His life, death and resurrection then points to the hope we can have, no matter how messy life is.

At the end of Matthew’s Gospel (28:18-20) Jesus telling his disciples to go and make disciples but accompanied by the promise, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

As we continue to travel through the fog surrounding us, can we know that God is with us and that he has a place for us and loves?

Can we seek to travel well with those alongside us and around us?

May you all finding blessing this Christmas and may you be a blessing to those around you.

Rev Paul Lawlor

Check out the following links: http://holytrinityredditch.org.uk/services/for services at St Stephen’s and http://holytrinityredditch.org.uk/courses to find out more on Alpha, a course to help us think about what Christian faith can mean for us.

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