Greetings and Happy New Year!
On this cold and frosty morning this comes with very best wishes for a healthy, blessed and peaceful New Year here in the Valley. Much to my own amusement there was an accidental yet fundamental mistake on the last Pews News – no prizes for spotting it were awarded!
Stop press to let you know that the West Berks Healthwatch team will be in St Michael & All Angels today from 12.30 – 3.30 for those wanting to learn more about testing, both LFT and PCR. They will be testing those who wish to be tested and will have some Lateral Flow Tests to distribute. They are hoping to reach those who are especially vulnerable at this time so please do spread the word!
Thanks to Sandra and Brian for completing the mammoth task of making 50 Christingles – all covid safe for the service in St Michael & All Angels which was a great joy and delight! It was held on the feast of Epiphany and seemed very fitting as our candles were lit as symbols of God’s presence as the light of the world.
Epiphany, meaning revelation, is a short season which ends on the 2nd February with Candlemas. It focusses on the early revelation of Jesus to the world not only to the Wise Men, but also at his baptism, through his first miracle at the wedding at Cana, and when his parents take him as an infant to the temple. It is a season when we reflect upon how God reveals himself to us. This begs the question how does God reveal himself to us? Answers on a postcard please or simply email me!
God may be revealed in worship, in the Eucharist and in reading the Bible. That’s probably what you would expect me to write! But God is also present and being revealed through creation, through the love of family and friends, in the kindness of strangers and in the valuing of those who are most vulnerable. For some it is the very fact that God is in the eyes of the most in need, for others God’s revelation is in art, poetry or sublime music for yet others in the wise words of a friend.
On Sunday we reflected upon our own ‘epiphnanies’. It’s a lifelong question … where is revelation in my life? And in the life to come, as our mortal lives draw to a close we will see God ‘face to face’.
This coming Sunday the Baptism of Christ is celebrated when we will be baptizing Eli Miles at St Michael & All Angels as the clock strikes midday!
It was a great joy to lead Collective Worship in school on Tuesday as we welcomed everyone back for a new term – we celebrated the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus and joined in with the surprise that this ‘King’ had no castle or palace, his parents were in peasant clothes and they didn’t even have a palatial bedroom. Jesus, the light of the world, a King who would turn the world upside down was born in a stable! As Rachel (the principal) and I kept reminding the children, take care, keep safe and keep washing your hands … the numbers of cases in the Valley are rising so do please keep testing, get boosted and wear a mask inside the shops. . . for the sake of one another as well as yourself.
Finally, if you are interested to know more about the science of viruses and have iPlayer etc you may like to watch the Royal Institution lectures – with Jonathan Van Tam and friends … on the other hand, you may feel you have had quite enough, and I completely understand!
With very best wishes and God bless