Vicar's Viewpoint - February 2019
"To boldly go..."
The first Sunday of February marks the end of the whole journey through Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.
This year, on Sunday February 3rd, the Gospel reading records the arrival of Jesus in the Temple
in Jerusalem, a fulfilment of the prophecy of Malachi written long before.
Then, having ended celebration of the infancy of Christ, we are suddenly reminded that Lent is not far away, because Sunday February 10th is the "Fourth Sunday before Lent"!
Meanwhile, back at base, we are busy clearing out the loft and cupboards and drawers in an effort to prepare for our move to a new home. At the back of a cupboard I discovered a very large cardboard figure of the famous actor Patrick Stewart which was presented to me back in 2002 as a very unexpected Christmas present.
All those years ago, I remember unpacking a rather curious and large parcel, it was tall, wide and very, very thin. When it was unwrapped I was astounded to find that someone had bought me a life sized cardboard cutout
of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the Starship Enterprise!
I have kept it all these years in the vague hope that Jean-Luke Picard might be of help to me at a family service or school assembly but, to the best of my recollection, he has only appeared in that role once, many years ago.
All these years later, in our clear-out spring clean, I still can't make up my mind what to do with this memorable Christmas present but some visitors at Church House have thought it yet more evidence that the Vicar is slowly going out of his mind, or at least "boldly going where no one has gone before!"
Well, getting back to the seasonal theme, Lent will soon be with us and once again Christians everywhere
will be reminded of the importance of spring cleaning their spirituality in preparation for Easter.
However, the Christian calling is far more radical than just a spiritual spring clean once a year!
Rather startlingly, the scriptures remind us that every Christian is called to be a Saint!
The word means "holy", which in turn does not mean "perfect" but "set apart for the Lord's purpose".
Furthermore, there is a glorious variety in God's plans for his people - as many variations
on the theme of being a Christian as there are Christians in the world and in heaven.
Thankfully we are not called to be "lifesized cutouts" of some ideal prototype saint!
Nor are we called to be less than real "cardboard cutouts" of Jesus!
We are called to be set apart for the Lord's purpose in our lives and to respond to his gracious gifts
and his continual guidance. He is at work in us, day by day, in good times and in hard times,
in sunshine and in shade.
He blesses us with companions on the journey and he will never let us go until we are
the people he intends us to be - a process which will be completed in heaven.
Vicar of Hardwicke, Elmore and Longney Churches