Sunday, 30 November 2014

Being Ready To Shine

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, Luke 12:35
This evening the great and the good gathered at St John's as our Pastor, Revd. Gary Noyes, was admitted to the priesthood.
In our diocese the Ordination to the Priesthood normally takes place at Petertide in the Cathedral, when a group are admitted.  As Gary is the only one being admitted to the priesthood on this occasion the Diocesan hierarchy, descended on us.  
Ahead of their arrival was a great deal of preparation. The chairs all were moved, and the carpet was thoroughly hoovered. Windows were cleaned the windows, noticeboards tidied and useful things like drawing pins and blue tack were hidden away.  The glass globes around the lights were carefully polished to allow the light to shine through. Seating capacity was increased by folding back the doors in the foyer, and the Foyer speaker, which hasn't worked for several years, was fixed!
Finally, we removed anything that wasn't essential for the service, which included the communion rails and cushions, the prayer desk, the computer stand, the table where the leaflets go, bibles, flower stands,  as we needed ALL the available space.  The last lot of furniture moving couldn't take place until after the morning service on the day, as the only place these items could go was in the back room of the hall, which is in use at other times.
As we begin Advent, I am reminded that preparation is not something that is ever completed.  We hoovered the church eight days before Gary's Ordination.  The next day we gave the children biscuits….We cleaned the windows, then bluetacked up notices about Messy Church, and then took them down again…We cleaned the kitchen and toilets until they were spotless, and then used them….
At the start of this season of waiting, let us not lose a sense of expectation.  In the approach to Christmas we can all feel under a lot of pressure to create the setting for 'the perfect day'.  As I look at my home, I know that work is needed before it is ready to be decorated and to welcome visitors.  As for my life, I know that it needs even more work, if I want to be ready to make the most of the opportunities God will provide, during Advent and beyond.

When the time came for the service, some of us wore visible robes, but all are called to serve.  Ecclesiastical garments are only an outward sign of the responsibility to share the gospel message which has been entrusted to all who are followers of Christ,  whether robed or otherwise.

As the gloom of November, turns to a December brightened by lights of celebration, let the light of Jesus continue to shine out through us in our communities and workplaces.  May we be people who bring hope and joy, not darkness and discord:-
To a world that struggles to hear the good news the angels brought two thousand years ago.
To a world that is largely unaware, that the miracle of Christmas was delivered by Mary, not Amazon!