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 EPIPHANY 2020


We are now entering the church's season of Epiphany when we remember

the showing of Christ to the Gentiles, that is, people other than Jews. We

remember the wise-men who came seeking him.


    They were powerful men who studied astrology and the mystic powers of the universe.

They were magicians, or the Magi, to whom people would go for advice about the present

and the future. The people in those days, believed them to possess great wisdom and

knowledge and to have powers to control unseen forces in the world.


     We know that it was about two years before they found Jesus, that they first saw the star. Jesus would therefore have been about 2 years old when they found Him and that was the reason that Herod decreed the slaughter of all the Hebrew baby boys aged two years and under.

    

      These wise-men believed that the large unusual star was a sign that someone very powerful had been born and out to search for Him. Perhaps they thought they might be able to share in His power.


    Their reaction on finding the child, was to bow before Him, showing humility in acknowledging His superiority and offering Him symbolic gifts: gold for kingship, frankincense for priesthood, and myrrh for future suffering.

    (Some Theologians see the actions of the Magi as symbolic of all the other spiritual powers in the world bowing down in homage to the greater power of the Christ-child.)


             We may ask ourselves just how far we are willing to go to seek Jesus and at what cost to ourselves. What are our own motives for doing so and what is the quality of our worship? Have we responded to a call from God because our background knowledge has inspired us to know more and to know Jesus in our own lives?


              True discipleship demands discipline and self- sacrifice. The wise-men faced many dangers and there are people all over the world today whose lives are in danger simply because they seek Christ and to serve Him. Like the wise men they don't give up


               We don't know what happened to the wise-men or if their experience changed them in any way but we do know that any encounter we have with Jesus may well start changes in us that will continue for the rest of our lives. Our gifts to the Christ-child should be the offering of ourselves and everything we are to Him to use in His service. That may well even today mean a future of persecution and suffering of one kind or another. It does mean living in humility and seeking our status in life as simply children and servants of our God and in all things giving Him the glory. What have we to offer to Him today?


New year blessings,

          Sr. Marian.



    

 

 

              

LAST WORD

Sunday 19th. January 2020


This evening at 6 pm  we are invited to a united service for the churches in Sketty which will be held in the United Reformed church.

 

  Since the Cytun initiative seemed to have lost support we have not held such services. That is why I am very pleased that the churches in Sketty are now arranging different shared events in the area where people from all our denominations gather to worship as members of God’s family on Earth. The first was when we met together in the Parish Centre before Christmas to sing Carols.

   

   Unity is not about uniformity. It is about people from all denominations coming together and acknowledging that we are all individual children of God to whom He has revealed Himself in different ways. Everyone of us is unique and the way we express our love and devotion to the Father reflects this.

    

     Our differences are something to celebrate as we see how God reveals Himself in ways, we haven’t experienced ourselves. We learn that He is much bigger than you and I and what we know about Him. Sharing together and listening to one another helps us to see Him in new ways and may help us to understand more about our faith and God we hadn’t considered before and we may find alternative ways to express our love for Him.

   

   Sharing worship together shows respect for one another and that we accept that God loves us equally and has chosen for us the church in which we worship. The way we worship should be governed by why we do it that way, and what it means to us and not because our church does it that way.

  

    Many of us were brought to out denominations by our parents. Others have friends who have encouraged us. Some have been influenced by individuals or have been influenced by the mission work of the church. What we believe and how we worship is all about our backgrounds.

   

The wonderful thing to remember is that God Himself is there with us as our Father and not because we belong to a certain denomination. It is our duty to serve Him where we are and to thankfully take part in all events when we can put our differences aside and join as one family to praise Him.

    I pray that many of us will be in the congregating in Sketty United Reformed church this evening.


Blessings,

  Sister Marian.


    

LAST WORD


Dear friends,

One of the things that we love doing as a family when walking along the beach is looking for sea glass. Little jewels of sand blasted glass shining amongst the stones and pebbles. So much of our rubbish and waste ends up in the sea and clogging our beaches but the sharp and dangerous glass once smoothed by the action of the waves loses its edges and becomes something quite beautiful. We now have quite a collection of sea glass in a number of bowls.


The interesting thing is, as we look for the tiny pieces of glass amongst the pebbles and sand you can walk most of the beach without hardly looking up. Stopping and raising your head you can be quite surprised by how far you have travelled along the beach. In being concerned and distracted by the small things, as beautiful as they are, we have completely missed the great beauty around us. The vast expanse of sea, sky, sand, dunes and cliffs have been missed.


What we do on the beach we can easily do in our spiritual life as well. The small things are important, even beautiful, but we must not forget the beauty around us in our wider vision as well. It is so easy to continue focusing on the small and ignore all the potential around us.


It is good thing every now and then look up from our spiritual comfort zone and scan the horizon. We will be amazed at what beautiful opportunities we may have missed.


Yours in Christ


Vicar Robert

 

 

 LAST WORD

Sunday 26th. January 2020


Dear Friends,

Well I do hope you had a good week as last Monday was considered by some to be the most depressing day of the year and given the name ‘Blue Monday’. I guess it has something to do with January Blues and being in the depths of winter or as it would seem to be this year “the rainy season”.


    In our modern world however we have to put into the mix all the bills landing on the doormat after Christmas. It is about the time that the credit card bill arrives for so many. Having worked in a parish which had a great deal of low-income families this was a very common problem after the Christmas celebrations.


   Traditional and safe forms of credit are not available to some and they can so easily end up with huge interest rates. The expectations of what a good Christmas is fuelled by unpayable debt leaving families struggling in January and beyond trying to pay back what was owed.


    The unhappiness caused was awful to see with the local primary school, Faith in Families, the church and food bank attempting to picking up the pieces.


   So please think and pray of the families who are struggling at this time of year. The expectations our modern world inflicts are not easy to rationally deal with when incomes are so low for so many.


Yours in Christ


Vicar Robert