Greetings from Archdeacon Brian,
As of February 17th, our COVID-19 Guidelines from the Diocese are:
† Worship can be at 100 % capacity, provided proof of vaccination is provided;
† Worship at 50% ,if not requiring proof of vaccination;
† Hand sanitizing required;
† Coffee/social gatherings permitted;
(We can now have coffee fellowship, along with 'light' snacks, after church.)
† Wedding and Funeral receptions are permitted;
† Imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday;
† No Shrove Tuesday Pancake gathering;
† Coffee/fellowship RESUMES this Sunday, Feb 20th, following our Sunday worship service!
† AGM will be in the Parish Hall. Bring a bag lunch. .
"We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete."
1 John 1:4
On Monday, many around the world celebrated Valentine’s Day.
At the same time, through a CHEK News Poll, I learned a large percentage of people on this island do not. (At the last count, their poll suggested over 70% do not celebrate February 14th.)
Yet I noticed, as I circled past the flower kiosk at a local supermarket, people were lined up, out the door and around the corner.
Could it be there was a change of heart between Friday of last week and Monday of this?
The question, “What brings us joy?”
The Scriptures are filled with expressions of joy.
Our everyday lives are filled with joy.
The writer of 1 John speaks of writing about our Lord to bring joy to others.
John’s letter to the Church was written to reassure Christians in their faith.
When I was serving my Curacy, my mentor referenced John’s letters to the church as some of the most significant for our Christian journey. Of interest to myself today, and of interest to the church today, is that John’s letter is written at a time when Christianity had been around for about a generation.
In its infancy, the community had faced severe persecution, yet survived. History will also tell us: one of the issues a generation later was now facing, was a decline in commitment.
Many were more concerned with conforming to the world’s standards, rather than the standards of their faith, and the teachings on the early Christian community.
The Christian community appeared to be on a slippery slope spiralling downward.
John’s concern is the people turning from light to darkness.
This is addressed in 1:5-7.
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Light represents what is good, pure, holy, and reliable.
Darkness represents what is sinful and evil.
This is the joy John sets out to address as stated in his opening words, “so that our joy may be complete.”
History has a way of repeating.
As I stood in line for a medical appointment on Monday I listened--I did not participate in the shared opinions--to the opinions of those around me being shared. There were few words of happiness or joy.
Late last week, I had a tradesperson in our home. As he was leaving, he commented how he enjoyed working for someone who was only positive in the sense of life. (This is not about self-honour for my part.)
The writers of the commentary in my edition of NIV Translation of the Holy Scriptures write:
“In our dark world, God is light; in our cold world, God brings life.
When we lack confidence, these truths bring us certainty.”
When we celebrate joy, we grow inwardly and outwardly.
May you find joy in your life today.
Blessings, Archdeacon Brian+