OUR CHURCH IS AN ‘OPEN CHURCH’ AND IS USUALLY OPEN BETWEEN 0930 AND DUSK.
UPDATED MONTHLY NOVEMBER 2017
The content of this website is compiled so that all sources are acknowledged where
required. Photographs are only included with the permission of the appropriate gatekeepers.
Inevitably mistakes and omissions will occur and for these we apologise. If there
are any issues with website content, please contact the parish office in the first
November is something of a Month of Memories. We look back on the quickly fading
traces of summer: are there going to be any leaves left on the trees this November?
In the church year, we commemorate the faithful departed, while nationally we gather
solemnly to remember: Remembrance Day, Remembrance Sunday, the poppies, The Silence,
the poignant trumpet calls and those well-known words of rememberance. There is much
to look back upon, for sure. Earlier this year, many of us gathered together (on
a lovely sunny August day as it turned out) to remember the terrible conflict that
was the Battle of Passchendaele, 100 years ago this year.
But what about looking forward? Is that something you find yourself doing? Perhaps
you say, Well, actually, I haven’t much to look forward to in my life. I only look
back: on what has been. Nothing wrong with that. We all have plenty of really happy
memories which we love to share.
As we go through the month of November, we approach the season of Advent. Far from
being a time of countdown to Christmas (liberally laced with any excuse for chocolate
these days!), Advent is The Season of Looking Forward: looking forward to the coming
of Jesus as the tiny baby of the Christmas story but also, and in fact far more,
looking forward to his coming again to this world of ours. For me, this is perhaps
the greatest challenge of all to my faith: believing that one day Jesus Chris will
come again. It’s a challenge because it is a promise made by him which is as yet
unfulfilled. It still lies ahead: in the future.
Christians look forward to the return of Jesus. But this wonderful hope is only one
part, a big part, of even bigger story. Actually, we could rename ourselves “the
people who look forward”. So much of the Bible is not about the past, or even the
present. It’s about the future. For example, it may surprise you to learn that a
great deal of Jesus’ teaching was about the future. He spoke of what lies ahead on
Currently, at St. Peter’s, we are reading the Book of Revelation, the last book of
the Bible. It’s a book which many people have never read; which others find disturbing,
even frightening. Much of it seems the stuff of Hollywood horror not the usual church
stained glass windows! This is a great pity. To me, it’s a wonderful book, written
in amazing language which speaks about things which are unspeakable and inexpressible.
It’s all about the Real World now and as it will be: the world which we cannot see
with our eyes or experience through our bodily senses. But it’s a very real world
nevertheless. Revelation describes what is really going on: we get to peep behind
the scenes. Most of all, we learn about what is going to happen and it is truly wonderful
and awesome. We have so much to look forward to. In short, the message is this: God
Revelation tells the story of life with the ultimate Happy Ending! We all like stories
with happy endings but too often our experience of life is that things don’t seem
to end happily. This always makes us sad which, I believe, is because you and I are
‘hard-wired’ to look for that happy ending which God has planned not only for each
of us but for the whole of his creation.
For Christians, to look forward in this way is not as some cynics have said all about
‘pie in the sky when you die’. However good life has been, however dear our memories
of the past, however much we are enjoying the present moment, there is something
much better ahead of us.
Let me leave you with one of my favourite hymns:
One the object of our journey, one the faith which never tires, one the earnest looking
forward, one the hope our God inspires:
One the gladness of rejoicing on the far eternal shore, where the one almighty Father reigns
in love for evermore.