From the Sanctuary
Whatever the literal truth of the Birth Narratives of Jesus, which we encountered over Christmas, they ooze spiritual truth! After the trauma of Advent, characterised by patient journeying, expectation and anticipation, comes ‘epiphany’: that realisation that God is among us, and is available for relationship to all people (symbolised in the Birth Narratives as the visit of the Wise Men who were rich, powerful, wise and Gentile. They stand in stark comparison to the Shepherds who symbolise the poor, uneducated and Jewish).
And that truth of the possibility of relationship with God, and encounter with the sacred, still exists – for all people; not just for religious or holy people, or even just Christian believers. It is the realisation that God is in everything and every situation – even the secular and profane, if only we can see it. Epiphany can mean a sudden, intuitive perception of, or insight into, the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience – such as the realisation that God is in all things, and in all encounters, if we can have the openness to that possibility within the way we view life. That idea of God being in all things may be particularly challenging at the moment, just when we have had our hopes dashed, and our expectations disappointed because of the resurgence of the pandemic. However, God is there if we can see him.
One small example of that is that, in the summer, I lost my cat, ‘Effie’, after she became too poorly to continue living. I had had her for 18 years, and there was a real sense of sadness at the loss of her, and of there being a void in our household as a result of her passing. We debated about whether to replace her, and my father’s wise words at the time were, ‘wait a bit and see what happens’. What happened after ‘a bit’ was that a little stray cat, whom we have now called ‘Maruscha’ has adopted us. She carries the name of another cat that was similarly coloured, which we had in Barbados. She has been a real blessing to us, and an epiphany in our lives, as God has encountered us through her. And she is only one of many examples of our lives being blessed during this time of disappointment – of light in the darkness.
May every day be an epiphany as we encounter God is everyone we meet, and every situation we find ourselves in. It’s a wonderful attitude to develop that will help us to to transform this New Year, and gives a different perspective on our ability to have a Happy New Year!
Wishing you every blessing,
It has been decided not to open the church for the first couple of weeks in January. This is because of the large increase in Covid rates in Tameside during Christmas. We will, therefore, be holding our Sunday morning services on 2nd and 9th on Zoom. A decision has not yet been made about the other Sundays in January. Please watch out for announcements coming to you as and when available.
Have you ever wondered where the name ‘Jesus’ comes from?
The name Jesus is a transliteration of a name that occurs in several languages. It is of Hebrew origin, ‘Yehosua’, or Joshua. There is also the Hebrew-Aramaic form, ‘Yesua’. In Greek, it became ‘Ἰησοῦς’ (Iēsoûs), and in Latin it became ‘Iesus’.
The meaning of the name is ‘Yahweh delivers’ or ‘Yahweh rescues’, or ‘Yahweh is salvation’. No wonder the angel Gabriel in Luke (1:26-33) told Mary to name her baby Jesus: “because He will save His people from their sins.”
New Year Prayer 2022
Lord of all creation, Lord of all the years,
Thank you for steering us through the fragmented landscape of two pandemic-riddled years. Here we stand at the beginning of a new year, not knowing what lies ahead. Our only security lies in you, Lord.
Please take our hands and guide us, day by day, into January and beyond. We will not be afraid, Lord because you have promised never to leave us, never to forsake us. And you keep your promises. We are safe.
2022, here we come… expectantly, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
By Daphne Kitching
|SUNDAY||2nd||FAMILY SERVICE WITH|
led by Br Peter on Zoom
|Wednesday||8th||M.W.A. Meeting on Zoom||7 pm|
|SUNDAY||9th||FAMILY SERVICE |
led by Br Peter on Zoom
|Monday||10th||Church Committee on Zoom||7 pm|
|SUNDAY||16th||**FAMILY SERVICE |
led by Br Peter
|SUNDAY||23rd||**FAMILY SERVICE |
led by Sr Gillian Taylor
|SUNDAY||30th||**FAMILY SERVICE |
led by Sr Penny Weir
**Depending on Covid rates within Tameside, these services may be held on Zoom