A Christmas message from Revd Beverley
I used to visit a retired midwife, and I loved her stories of delivering babies, sometimes in very interesting or challenging places. What a privilege it must have been for the first century woman, the village equivalent of a midwife, who would have come to help Mary through her labour and sobecame the first human to touch the Messiah as she delivered the precious child into the world. The child was named Jesus, which means ‘God saves’ and is sometimes translated as ‘the Saviour’ or ‘The Deliverer’. If we call Jesus ‘Deliverer’, we’re using the word in an old fashioned way, not suggesting that he was destined to bring us our parcels (we all know that’s St Nick’s job…).
No, Jesus is the deliverer in the sense that we say in the older translations of the Lord’s Prayer ‘deliver us from evil’ – when we pray that if we find ourselves facing evil in any form, Jesus will protect and save us from it. That was the point of his coming – to find those who are lost, and to bring them home to God the Father. To deliver us from evil. That doesn’t mean removing it completely, but being with us to guide us safely through it, helping us deal with the difficult and unexpected – perhaps in the same firm and gentle way that an expert midwife is there to bring a baby through the dangers of birth and deliver him safely into the world.
So here’s a thought. As we once again celebrate this Christmas that very special delivery, we can also trustingly look to Jesus and tell him our fears and anxieties, just as faithful people have done across time, and pray – just as the ancient Israelites prayed in Egypt – deliver us!
As we turn to the New Year, Living Brook will see change again. We say goodbye to Revd Deborah and Gary, as Deborah has completed her training here and is ready to become a vicar in her own right, and we all wish them both well in the next chapter of their lives. I’ll be away until after Easter, taking some sabbatical leave to rest and study, and will be back with you in the middle of April. So you’ll have the opportunity to meet clergy from around the area as they come to take services for you. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the refreshment of some new faces for a while!
May God bless you all this Christmas and be your deliverer in 2018.