Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tis the Season to be …..? Jolly!


The familiar words of the song echo through the shops  Deck the halls with boughs of holly!!!  Historians tell us that the holly was a Pagan symbol adapted  by Christians…the spiky leaves remind us of the thorns used to make a crown for Christ, the berries are as red as his blood and so on, we hear it year after year.  The next line is perhaps not so thought about, Tis the season to be jolly!  Is it? Are we jolly in the Christmas Season?  What is the Christmas season?  In the Church calendar it is quite clear, we have 4 weeks of Advent and 12 days of Christmas, easy.  Not so in the secular calendar.

Christmas starts sometime in the middle of summer. The supermarkets clear their shelves of BBQ things, have a small section for Halloween, but all the time slowly introducing the puddings and crackers.

Not so many years ago Christmas was a very special time, not just because Jesus was born, but because it was the time when people spent ages choosing a single gift to give to somebody, when children looked forward to a new penny and a tangerine in their stocking….when meat was eaten even though it wasn’t Sunday and it wasn’t stewed or minced from Sunday!  Various treats were carefully saved for…such things as the Co-op 4d club meant that mothers would spend ages deciding which little luxury would be on the Christmas day tea table. …..the one big theme of Christmas  (other than Jesus birthday ) was anticipation and unusual little treats.

Where is the anticipation today?  We are told that as much as a third of the food we buy is wasted…if this is the case in the average week then what must the figure be at Christmas?  As we walk round supermarkets we see trolleys groaning with the weight of food, groans that are almost as loud as those of the credit card holder in January when they realise that perhaps Scrooge had the right idea…bah humbug!

The posters that have been up in and around church tell us that however we dress it up Christmas begins with Christ.  Does it? ~Sadly for most people no it doesn’t, yes   the odd hour for a carol service, a Christingle, and of course the Midnight Mass but only if it fits in with the other Christmas stuff.

So this year my question is “How Jolly are you?” How happy, how at one with the our family and friends and neighbours?  How Christ filled is your life…how Christ filled is MY life?  The Christmas story happened a long time ago but much of the situation is still real today, the homeless teenage mum, the refugee, the people persecuted for their faith in some cases even to death…as we know there is nothing new in this world, we just get better at trying to pretend it is not there and to blank out the horror and misery by applying a layer of bling and glitz…Let’s stop, let’s try to regain some of the loveliness of the season that does not cost money…perhaps it is too late for this year, the rollercoaster is already on the move…perhaps next year? What will the season be? Jolly, less materialistic? Less wasteful?  If Christ is at the beginning of it then it will automatically be all of these things….Just put the humbugs away, even Scrooge saw the good in Christmas.

From all at the Vicarage

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Memmories and Remembrance


November is the month of remembering. All Saints’ Day celebrates men and women in whose lives we have seen the grace of God powerfully at work.  It is an opportunity to give thanks for that grace, and for the wonderful ends to which it shapes a human life; it is a time to be encouraged by the example of the saints; and it is a chance to recall that sanctity may grow in the ordinary circumstances, as well as the extraordinary crises, of human living. We celebrate with Communion at St Katherines at 7pm on 1st November.
There are many countries in the world today where Christians are martyred for their faith. Believers in Afghanistan are facing death threats; Christians in Uzbekistan, Nigeria and many other countries all around the world face violence, imprisonment and even death.  There are other places in the world such as North Korea where acts of persecution take place, but we don’t see or hear of it.
On the first Sunday, 6th November, it is the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians and we will mark the day with a special service in the morning at Wadworth and the All Age Sunday School at St Katherine’s at 3pm will look sensitively at the lives of Christian Children throughout the world. This is a time set apart for us to remember thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who suffer persecution, simply because they confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

The following Sunday is of course Remembrance Sunday and we shall be altering the service times for this day. There will a Holy Communion Service at 9am at Wadworth followed by an Act of Remembrance starting at 10:55 at Wadworth memorial. In the afternoon at St Katherines we have our annual memorial service for those loved one who have died. We will also remember those who have died in the service of their country at this service.

Sunday 20th marks the start of Prison Week when we have several services focused on Prisons and the Justice system. We have 4 Prisons in Doncaster and a large population of ex-offenders. One of the most serious aspects of being in prison can be the sense of isolation and even abandonment; and one of the most effective witnesses that can be given to prisoners is the assurance that they are not forgotten. ‘When I was in prison, you visited me’, says Jesus and this tells us two things – that Jesus is already with those in prison, as he is with all who live in loneliness (including the loneliness of self-reproach or self-hatred); and that he is waiting for us there.

St Katherine spent considerable time in prison before being executed. St Katherine’s day also falls during Prison week on 25th November. So we are having all evening Prison Week service at St Katherine’s. On Friday the Church will be open from 10-12 in the morning for those who wish to come and look around. Refreshments will be served. In the evening at 7pm there will a service of Holy Communion with liturgy rich in reference to St Katherine. There will be drinks and refreshments afterwards.

November 27th is the first Sunday of Advent was we start our preparations for Christmas. All Age Sunday School Christingle will take place at 3pm at St Katherine’s.

Come and remember with us!

Alun

Sunday, October 2, 2011

“Giving Poverty the Boot”


Some of you have asked for more information about “Giving Poverty the Boot” campaign by FARM-Africa which we are making central to Harvest Celebrations this year.

Well during the last 20 years there has been a chronic lack of investment in agriculture.  Yet over 80% of people living in remote or rural areas of Africa rely on the food they grow and the animals they keep to survive. Faced with harsh conditions and poor access to essential resources, subsistence agriculture can be a constant struggle.

FARM-Africa provides the training and support that poor rural communities need, to identify and implement appropriate solutions to many of the key problems they face.  Families are directly supported to help work themselves out of poverty through improved ways to manage their crops, livestock, forests and access to water.
"FARM-Africa can play an important role by being able to work at the local level, but with an eye on impacts at national or regional level. We need more of this kind of innovation and learning - finding out what works well and where. FARM-Africa is more strategic in their thinking that most small development organisations, in terms of how to get the maximum impact from a limited budget" Derek Byerlee, co-director of the World Development Report 2008.
FARM-Africa work with a wide range of small-scale farmers and herders through our country programmes in eastern Africa.

In Ethiopia, FARM-Africa is working to reduce poverty and raise the living standards of the country’s small-scale farmers and herders through improved management of their natural resources.

FARM-Africa helps rural Kenyans develop innovative ways to manage their natural resources and ensure they have a role in shaping the policies that affect their lives.

FARM-Africa is helping communities living in Southern Sudan to develop sustainable ways to earn a living based on livestock and agriculture.
Working with pastoralist and forest communities in northern Tanzania, FARM-Africa is helping to change policy and increase productivity.
FARM-Africa’s goal is to reduce poverty by helping rural Ugandans develop innovative ways of managing their natural resources.

FARM-Africa’s  work specialises in support for three groups of people:

1          More than 80% of rural Africans are smallholder farmers and most rely on less than an acre of land to support their families.
However, with access to the right tools, training and services such as animal healthcare, farmers can dramatically improve their economic position.
2          Many pastoralists live in harsh environments, reliant on rearing livestock to sell for food and other essentials. Frequent droughts and disease outbreaks make this way of life ever harder to sustain.
FARM-Africa helps pastoralist communities to form their own plans to improve their livelihoods, and access the finances to realise them.
3          Eastern Africa's natural forests are fast disappearing.  FARM-Africa is working with forest communities helping them to reduce their reliance on timber products to earn money and develop sustainable forest management plans.
So please come along and support our Harvest celebrations this year.

Alun

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Vicar is Leaving his Day Job


I always get asked the question why I have not left my day job and become a full time vicar. I have always said that God had never called me to leave work but had called me to be a vicar. I have always loved being a scientist in the NHS and if God wanted me to stop working the NHS then he would need to stop me liking it so much. Well this has finally happened.

I remember going on a careers tour of the local hospital labs and just loved it and knew that’s what I wanted to do. So as 16 year old I went to work in the NHS. That was in 1976. For 34 years I enjoyed it, loved my job but in the last year or so I stopped enjoying a job I had always loved. It was almost like God was loosening the ties so I could be free to be a full time Vicar. Through mine and others prayers,  I soon came to realise that was what God wanted. So from January 2012 I will be a full time vicar, staying in this Parish but also working in Balby Parish.

Some of you will know that Balby church has a different style of worship than Wadworth or Loversall. Some would describe it as “Bells and Smells” a phrase that refers to the extensive use of incense and the ringing of bells during the service. That does not mean that I will be introducing this style of worship at Wadworth or Loversall. Neither will I be seeking to change Balby church and remove the “bells and Smells” I see beauty in diversity, and hope that through very different services at the three churches we will have something for everyone.

Of course some of you will also know that Mary the mother of Jesus also has a higher  prominence in the way the Christian faith is expressed at Balby church. I also know this will worry some of you.

I recently went with Balby church to Walsingham, where there is a shrine to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Although Mary is held in very high esteem, a more Christ centred place you would not wish for!  Mary always points to Jesus, every story in the Bible that mentions Mary, focuses our thoughts on Jesus. It is important to realise we do not pray to Mary but ask Mary to pray on our behalf. The church does not consist purely of those alive now but also of those who have died and are in heaven. Just as we ask a friend to pray for us, we to can ask Mary to pray for us.

Likewise it is important to realise that statues of Marys although much-loved are simply a focus for devotion - a visual aid - and not something to be worshipped in itself.

I enjoyed the 4 days immensely made new friends but also had an intensely spiritual time. Balby church go to Walsingham every year, perhaps you would like to join us in July 2012 and see for yourself.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

War then and now


I am indebted to Russell Eastham for much of the information in this months article. Russell is currently training as a lay minister in the Church but has a keen interest in history. He has recently been researching the archives to find out more about the war memorial at Wadworth but has found a number of interesting facts.

Russell noted how one family had all their children baptised before daddy went off to war. Daddy did not return. Despite all the years in between, a different War, different circumstances, some wishes do not change and I have baptised several babies in the last few years before daddy has gone off to War in Iraq or Afghanistan; thankfully all these daddies returned. But the comfort daddies receive from the knowledge their children are baptised does not change.

Russell has also found the magazine from when War broke out in 1914. Revd  Blumhardt, wrote:

“The Great War cloud that for years past has hung over Europe has burst, and the whole world stands aghast at the horror and infamy of it all.  This is not a time for words, except for those addressed to God in prayer. Every Wednesday a short service will be held at 2pm, this hour has been fixed as most suitable for the women. The men must work in the fields and in the pits, the women must pray, the women must work too and they have begun in earnest.”
A latter magazine gave the following Church announcements:
1.      Role of Honour with list of names
2.      Injured with List of names
3.      The Ladies Knitting circle will meet in the vicarage on Wednesday night at 7 o clock.

What ever happened the knitting circle continued to meet, (actually they were knitting socks for the war effort).
Russell also went this year out to France for the 95th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme to participate in the remembrance events. At one service 2000 people joined hands and the Lord’s prayer was said in three languages. Russell said:
“The many French were first, then those from the UK, finally a single German voice prayed.  Many hairs stood to attention on the backs of necks”

It is easy to forget “the other side” in all the suffering and the fact that the Germans thought God was on their side. Each German buckle contained the phrase “God is with us”. If God is anywhere in War, God is with the suffering, the displaced, the landless.

Through the information Russell has gathered we hope to have a small temporary display in church about the War memorial in Wadworth and how it was commissioned and built. Russell is hopeful that he can identify where all those remembered died and are buried. Perhaps some of your relatives were involved. Perhaps you have some information passed on to you by members of your family. We would love to know what you know.

I know no better way to end but with…
“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. Amen”

Thursday, June 30, 2011

So there's a God, what to do about it..................


I am always surprised when I hear the results of surveys that consistently show around 70% of the population believe in God. I wonder how much people who assert in such surveys the presence of God, have thought about the implication of their answer. God’s existence must surely elicit a response of more than passive acceptance. If any single fact should make you sit up and want to know more, then acknowledging God’s existence must be the most supreme of stimuli.

So what should be our response to acknowledging there is a God. The existence of something completely outside our understanding? What else can we do but worship….that surely has to be our first response, the response of mortal humans to a vast eternal God must be to show that we respect and cherish God’s existence.

Yet so many want to just nod in God’ direction, give a passing glance and carry on as if nothing had changed. Hang on a minute, you’ve just acknowledge the existence of someone who is powerful beyond your understanding, is time it’s very self, is the universal constant behind the whole universe and you’ve just carried on living as nothing had changed? Let’s put it another way.

I love my science fiction, and of course a common theme in lots of movies is the visit to this planet of a lifeform not as we know it, a lifeform that is more powerful than us, a lifeform that is  cleverer than us, a lifeform that will destroy humanity. What is the usual response, well it is defiantly not a vague nod and life carries on, it is usually panic on a mass scale when we realise there is someone around that is more powerful than humanity!

So why, when we acknowledge the existence of God, who is even more powerful than any alien species, do we carry on as if nothing has changed? Should we not at least be trembling at the knowledge that God exists? From there should we not be moved to show that we respect and cherish God’s existence.

There was a point in my life when I did not believe there was a God but when I changed and realised there was a God, my first response was to bow down and worship because what else could I do? In the face of a vast eternal God what else can you do……..

Acknowledging God’s existence is not a private matter it must be a public declaration of thanks. Christians have always done this by gathering together and worshiping together. Offering our praise and thanks to God for our very existence.

Think of it this way. If you fell in a river and were drowning and someone rescued you. What would be your response? If you had an operation that saved your life, what would be your response? If you had a heart attack and someone revived you, what would be your response? In all these examples my response would be overwhelming gratitude. Big thanks are usually public affairs. A desire to shake their hand and ask could I do anything for them? Yet these acts are nothing compared with the gratitude we must have for our existence! Every day we should remember the gift of life that God has given and we should be grateful.

I urge everyone reading this to think deeply if you believe there is a God and if you do, think even more deeply what your response must be…… Alun

Friday, June 3, 2011

June Something for everyone......


During June we see the Church Season of Easter draw to a close as we celebrate both Ascension and Pentecost. We shall be using Book of Common Prayer for our Ascension Day celebrations at 7 pm on the 2nd June at St Katherine’s Church Loversall. It will be trip down memory lane  for many as we celebrate Ascension day with a Choral Evensong and Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion. The Singing Group who have formed to sing at Weddings under the watchful direction of Ted Wetton have been practicing hard for this service. So it would be great if you could join us and for those who have never experienced it, a chance to see how we worshiped in the past.

During the period between Ascension day and Pentecost we will be doing 4 prayer walks. Each will take an hour. Is there anything local you would like to pray about? Don’t know how? Come and join us, we can help! You may have thought it was only possible to pray when you are kneeling or sitting, but the Christians have always prayed when they are on the move.  

Rogationtide is an ancient festival to invoke a blessing on fields, stock and folk which  involves praying while walking the parish boundaries. It is commonly been called “beating the bounds”. It also helped everyone to remember the boundaries before maps were commonplace. Along the way prominent trees often became places for preaching ­ and were called Gospel Oaks. Locations of various landmarks - stones streams, hedges, ponds were impressed upon the children.
The rogation days traditionally fall on the four days from the fifth Sunday after Easter but we are going to alter this ancient custom and walk around parts of the parish on 4 days.
5th June           2:15     Walk from Woodfield Plantation to St Katherine for 3pm                                              service.  Kids welcome.             Meet outside shops.
6th June           7:30     Woodfield Plantation              Meet outside shops
8th June           7:30     Alverley                                   Meet outside shops
11th June         2:00     Wadworth                               Meet outside church


A packed June continues when, once again, both of our lovely churches will be open during the Heritage Inspired Weekend.  Both Churches will be open on:
Saturday 18th June 2 - 4
Sunday   19th June 1 - 3

Then we finish a busy June the following weekend when we celebrate St John the Baptist with what the church calls a patronal festival.
Friday 24th June 7:30                        Wadworth Community Centre
Sing a long a Show….stopper
Saturday 25th June 2pm         Wadworth Church Community Centre and Churchyard
Garden Party with all your favourites Lucky Dip, Tombola, Raffle, Books.
Sunday 26th June 9:30am      St John the Baptist Church
Holy Communion and celebration of St John the Baptist

Last month I mentioned commemorating the 95th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Details are still being finalised but there will be a short act of remembrance at 11am on Sunday the 3rd of July.

June has something for everyone and I hope you can join us for at least one of the above events.

                                                                                                Alun




Tuesday, April 26, 2011

War Memmorial, St George and persecution

I am reliably told that the War memorial at Wadworth is unusual for the speed with which it was erected post war and its size relative to the population of Wadworth. I wonder if the relative of anyone still living was involved with erecting the memorial, perhaps there are some photos that still exist? It would be good to capture the story for posterity. Are you from one of the families who paid for the memorial? Please come forward, I am sure many would be interested in hearing the story of how the memorial was paid for and erected.

The 95th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme takes place at 7:30am on the 1st July this year. I am told that both Wadworth and Loversall villages had men killed at the battle on this first day. We will hold a short memorial service at 7:30 pm on the 1st July by the War memorial in Wadworth. All welcome.

As a Welshman I am proud of my national identity. St David’s day in Wales is always a big celebration. Yet in England more attention seems to be paid towards St Patrick (perhaps largely due to some clever advertising by a notable brewery which has Irish origins). What about St George? As ever this years celebrations were not a grand event. In fact as the traditional date was during Easter weekend, the actual date was transferred to the 2nd May, adding to the confusion. Perhaps we need to think now about a better a celebration next year. Is this what people want? There is a need to celebrate being English without the need for it to be an expression of racism, which is the reason I expect current celebrations are so muted.

England has so much to celebrate, does it really need a Welshman to show you how to do it? If as Vicar I can co-ordinate to get something going next year than I happy to do so. Your views please.

Recent unrest in many Middle East countries has highlighted the ongoing persecution of Christians in these countries. It might surprise some readers that Christians still make the ultimate sacrifice and die for their faith throughout the world each year. Many more are tortured, beaten imprisoned and abused. The parish has, through an organisation Open Doors, had information displayed in church about persecuted Christians for many years. However, over several months, I have been moved by prayer and reflection to suggest that we set up a more prominent area in church to focus and enhance our prayer response for our fellow Christians who suffer because of their faith in Jesus.

Some will notice, the small altar has been moved back to the position in front of the organ. As this is next to the window dedicated to the first Christian martyr, St Stephen, this area seem to be an ideal setting to collect and display information on current Christian persecution throughout the world. Focused services could also take place in this area. We will be discussing this at PCC soon so please make your views known.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

When is it going to be Easter this Year?


A little known fact about the year 1928 shows that the date of Easter has been a topic of debate in the past as well as now.   Believe it or not a law was passed in 1928 allowing the date of Easter to be fixed as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April. However the Churches in the UK have chosen not to enact the legislation.

The last 3 years have shown that perhaps this needs to be reconsidered with Easter falling on 22nd of March in 2008 and 24th  of April in 2011. This does cause an lot of problems in diaries for schools and hospitals. A March date for Easter also casue the church calendar to be fairly cluttered after Christmas.

So why does the date of Easter vary, you may ask? Let us start with the Spring Equinox which is the 21st March. Then let us take the next  Full Moon after the 21st March, which is the 18th April. Easter Sunday is then the next Sunday, 24th April.

Easy isn’t it?

All this messing around with the date of Easter can easily distract from what it really is all about…the resurrection of Jesus.

Before we get to Easter Day we follow the drama of Holy Week, the story of how Jesus ends up being killed on the cross for us.

The week is full of characters and incidents all revolving around Jesus. Betrayal by Judas, Sentenced by Pilot, Denied by Peter, Arrested by religious leaders, a last supper surrounded by his friends.

The drama starts on Palm Sunday (17th April) with the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on a Donkey, then on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 pm St Katherine’s we will have 3 services of reflection  as we follow the story and drama of Holy week.  

That takes us to Maunday Thursday and 7pm Wadworth as we move through the highs of the Last Supper and the lows of the Garden of Gethesename. We will continue after the service with an extended time of pray.

We pick up the story at St Katherines  on Good Friday at 2pm for the last hour as Jesus dies on the cross. At 7pm we have a service of darkness at Wadworth, as we reflect on the death of our Lord.

Then we move to Easter Day, when we celebrate the point that human history changed, death was defeated, Jesus -  risen, triumphant and  victorious. We celebrate at 9:30 at Wadworth with Holy Communion and at 3pm Loversall with an Easter Praise Services as we explore the events of the resurrection of Jesus.

If you are reading this and wonder what all the fuss is about? Why so many services, then come along and experience for yourself  Holy Week. Enter into the services, but be careful it may change your life for ever.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What shall we give up?


Sermons are a bit like meals, rarely remembered but if you go without them you soon loose weight – spiritual weight. Sermons feed the soul, spure the thought process and sometimes, just sometimes change our lives. There are few meals I can remember with exact detail just like there are only a few sermons I remember with any detail. Often a smell wafting buy rekindles the memories of a long digested but memorable meal. Likewise reading a piece of the Bible jolts us back to a sermon preached on the passage.

As Lent approaches I draw to mind some of memories of Lenten seasons from the past. Most urge the absentenace of something as a discipline. Sales of chocolate are reputed to fall during Lent. Giving something up for lent challenges our imaginations and we somehow often fail the test. What does God really want us to give up?

Two sermons during lent from past years come to mind. One by Sue Hope circa 1997-8 and one by Jonathan last year, both on the temptations of Christ, neither of which I can remember in other way, apart from I felt heartly fed afterwards!

In a world that propels us to be upwardly mobile, where success, power and wealth are held in high regard, Jesus turns his back on the temptation to be, as Henry Nouwen once put it  “powerful, relevant, and spectacular”, and not fall for the  great allure of Satan himself, as we humans often have and will………

One Lent, I gave up bringing paper work, home. How would I cope at work I thought? And yes, did I get everything done that I should? NO. Did it matter? NO. Did the jobs get done eventually? YES. It was a liberating period in my life. It was not my idea, it came from God. All too often we decide what to give yet we should ask God what to give up. Some Lents I don’t give anything up because I don’t feel called to do so.

Some pointers as to what you like to offer to God as a Lent discipline are:
Anything we feel you must do. Anything you depend on but do you real need it? Perhaps you need a break from something?

I feel God is calling us to give up something this Lent as a Church. The Peace. Instead of sharing the Peace with everyone. Lets stay in our pews and continue straight into the offertory hymn.

Sometimes it is just as important to start doing something in Lent as to stop doing something. Ask God to prompt you. What have you put off that you should really have done? 

This Lent let us avoid the temptation to try to be “powerful, relevant and spectacular” and instead focus as the letter to Philippians puts it “on taking on the nature of a servant”.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

St David's Day and Service for Hospice

27th February 2011 
3 pm St  Katherines Loversall

We celebrate St David and also remember the work of St John's Hospice and those who they have helped.

Many Welsh people wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales on their lapel to celebrate St. David: the daffodil(a generic Welsh symbol which is in season during March) or the leek(Saint David's personal symbol) on this day. The association between leeks and daffodils is strengthened by the fact that they have similar names in Welsh, Cenhinen (leek) and Cenhinen Pedr (daffodil, literally "Peter's leek").

We plan to fill St Katherines Loversall with Daffodils for the service. We invite those who have been touched by the work of St John’s Hospice to come along to the service. During the service there will be an opportunity to rember people who have died at the hospice. We hope those attending  will bring a bunch of daffodils and  during the service we will assmbe a display using these daffodils.

We will make a collection at the service for the work of the Hospice.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Seek God First: worry about answers latter!


Epiphany is a word which is little strange to the modern ear. It is not a word in common usage, and unlike Lent and Easter is not immediately recognisable as a season in the Christian year.  Even to those in the Church of England it is perhaps the poor relation of other seasons coming after the almost exhausting celebration of Christmas and the austerity of Lent. Blink and it can be missed. Yet Epiphany is there to make us focus on something really important in our faith….. the appearance of Jesus in the world.

Epiphany starts with the wise men seeking the birth of a King and finding the baby Jesus. The wise men travel a long way, it is a declaration that Jesus is coming for everyone, not just those in Israel. The wise men had read in ancient prophesies of a King who would come and  who would change everything, they had seen in the skies a strange star and then went seeking this King, to pay homage. The wise men were trying to understand their world, just as we try to understand our modern world, and there would be appear to be no shortage of theories and explanations for everything. There is some truth in the idea that humanity is getting too clever to seek God. This is especially true if we seek God by issues. How can there be a God if there is so much suffering? I cannot believe in Adam and Eve and therefore I cannot believe in God? I remember being in this place, a rational scientist who had rationalised God out of existence. My life changed when I had an Epiphanal moment, when I sought God without any questions, without any conditions, without any preconceived misconceptions. For a moment in my life I suspended the rational and explored what I saw as the irrational and found that God existed.

Epiphany also sees us celebrate the Baptism of Christ, when God publicly acknowledges Jesus as his Son. God is too big to understand that is why he sent his son Jesus, so through Jesus we can start to understand God.

Why does it matter you may ask? What is the point of believing in God, searching him out? I am happy as I am, you may say. Well that was me also, I thought I was happy, I thought I was doing OK. But you know there are our plans and then there are God’s plan for us. This is the 3rd part of Epiphany, the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana, transformation. God wants to transform our lives, and through us this broken world.

Wondering what I am talking about? Want to know more? Want to ask questions? Have you had an Epiphanal moment? Did you ignore it and just carry on? Do you have other questions? Do want to seek God and park all the other questions? Well we are having an open evening on the 11th January at St John the Baptist at 7 pm. Come along ask your questions, you may even get some answers! Cannot make it that night, then tell me when you can, and we will have another evening.

Happy Epiphany!

Alun