Very nearly two months ago we, at St Catherine’s, embarked on a journey together. It was the first of the two long, epic and fundamental journeys of the Christian year.
It began on Advent Sunday with O Come O Come Emmanuel ringing in our ears and the stories of the Patriarchs encouraging us on our way.
On we journeyed through “Lo He Comes with Clouds Descending” and the Prophets and the timeless prophesies of Isaiah, from there we came to Christmas with its narratives of shepherds, angels and the Word Made Flesh. All of this was accompanied, not only by carols which were both rousing and reflective, but also by themes of refugees, homelessness and poverty, leading us into prayer and into the biggest ‘Giving’ event of the year for St Catherine’s accompanied by the joy and blessing of giving money to local and global projects, parking, for once, our own financial worries on the side.
We left behind the donkey and changed, perhaps to horses, certainly camels. And so Epiphany arrived, and with it “We three Kings”, coming from Persia or perhaps from Egypt, who knows, maybe following the footsteps of the Queen of Sheba, but regardless following a star. With them came some strange gifts; a joy for us to experience our own version of ‘gold’ and of ‘frankincense’ at St Catherine’s.
More importantly, as we journeyed on, we reflected on our own worship, our own belonging to a faith (one we may have inherited or one that may have found us in later life) as we renewed our Baptism Vows and the call to serve, to discern our own Vocation.
Onwards still we journeyed thinking and praying how we in our turn might, like the disciples, invite people we know to ‘Come and See’; to in their turn encounter the immeasurable love of God for themselves.
Now we approach the journey’s end with the joy and celebration of the Feast of Candlemas.
Here we bid farewell to this first journey, take a less than deep breath of three Sundays before we embark on the second long, epic and fundamental journey – that of Lent and Holy Week and Easter – beginning on Ash Wednesday and closing with the Feast of Pentecost.
On this too, we invite one another to journey together, to pray, worship, and learn together and find blessing.
Both the journeys above run parallel to each of our life’s journeys:
that life journey will have its own challenges and difficulties; joys and pain, and healing
that journey too will have many ‘unknowns’
that journey, especially if it has difficulties, can leave us feeling very much alone and indeed lost
but a gentle reminder:
St Catherine’s is not only a family on Sundays
there is support in prayer and in friendship and in burdens shared
there are a few simple things now in place – the sand bowl for the bereaved, prayers at the altar, a chaplain who makes it a priority to make time to listen
we are currently have two wise and very approachable wardens who would also make time
don’t struggle alone
so let us pray for one another (in the pews waiting for the service to begin and at home)
let us allow the Christian / liturgical journeys and their stories and themes speak to us in our everyday.