All Saints with St James’ Church, Brightlingsea
FROM THE VICAR
WAIT FOR IT……
With the poppy-red blaze of the town’s Remembrance just behind us and the warm glimmer of Christmas ahead, the Church is entering Advent season. In the Church’s year, these weeks are the deep purple colour of reflection, waiting and soul-searching: a preparation of the heart for Christmas. Why so serious? And why wait, when we have tinsel in November? Waiting well is a lost art in our instant culture: films and music at the touch of a button, incredibly fast food, transactions done over the internet 24/7, messages sent to the other side of the world within seconds.
But we still have to wait for some things: buses, benefit claims, hospital appointments, our turn to drive through the traffic lights. These helpless waits are often the things we most complain about, flinging ourselves irritably up against them as though they are an unpleasant and unfair surprise, muttering in the queue, beeping at the car in front, giving receptionists the less pleasant pieces of our minds.
According to one anonymous wit, patience is the quality you admire in the driver behind you but can’t stand in the driver in front of you. Joyce Meyer once said, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Waiting can be a helpless thing we just have to do graciously, but in Advent we explore a more active waiting too. Many of the things that we long for will not happen by themselves. We have to get ready!
Life’s best moments are often born out of this mixture of preparing and waiting: celebrations, weddings, the birth of children, results of exams, gardening, plays, concerts, match fixtures, community events. Patience is not enough here: preparation is needed too. We have a part to play. “YOLO!” my son yells before hurling himself into something new. You Only Live Once (so go for it now while you can). Sometimes passive waiting means things pass us by. If we wait to start our journey until all the lights are green for miles, we may never begin.
One last type of waiting is the wait to become: to be old enough or tall enough, fit, popular, loved or skilled enough, local enough, important enough, patient, cool, strong or wise enough, experienced enough. (Ah, experience! That thing you get just after you needed it!) All of us are waiting to become a better self. But too many times we wait for it like a turn in the queue or a moment in time –
like some magical gift – when really it is a process: something we build and prepare for, like learning the piano or working for change or being in the right place for an opportunity. What do I need? Who can help me? What should I practise? What might I have to give up? This is the bit the movies do as a quick montage to inspirational music, before things cut to the hero or heroine’s transformed self, but in reality it’s hard work over time.
Mary mother of Jesus was waiting at the start of the Christmas story: waiting helplessly for God to save his people, waiting for her adult life to start. Then she is given a chance to act: to step into the story of that saving and transforming. A young, unmarried girl with no particular power or glamour but some pretty amazing dreams, singing a song so revolutionary it was actually on the banned literature list in some dictatorships (check it out in Luke chapter 1). She trusts God and grows into the role, through 9 months of waiting, preparation, tough journeying, then the drama of fleeing for her life as a refugee and 33 years of raising a son who would transform everything. Her one life in God’s hands changed everything.
Christmas is a great time to embrace the spirit of ‘YOLO’: we have one life, let’s make it count. Advent gives us time to prepare our hearts for that: to be generous, to forgive old hurts and apologise for old mistakes, to think about what matters in our lives and who we want to be, to share our journey with others, to begin the things we have always meant to and get rid of the habits holding us back: to re-find the revolutionary hope of Mary that things can and will be transformed if we stand up and say our yes to what God wants to do in us. For those of us who are walking with God, Christmas holds an extra sparkle beyond the tinsel and glitter: a light that still shines when the candles are blown out. A light – and a hope, and a Person – worth looking for.
Lord grant us the serenity to wait for the things we cannot hasten,
Courage to prepare for what we can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Every blessing, Caroline
Vicar: Rev’d Caroline Beckett B.A. (Hons), The Vicarage, Richard Avenue Brightlingsea CO7 0LP Tel 01206 30 87 26 : email@example.com
Enquiries may be directed to the church office either on 01206 30 23 78 or firstname.lastname@example.org There is an out-of-hours answering service: telephone and email messages are collected and answered regularly. The Church Office is open on Mondays 10-12pm. Letters can be posted through to the office when St James is open 8am-2pm each weekday.
Alternatively please contact one of the churchwardens:-
Carole Warren 825 027 email@example.com
Bob Goodenough 30 37 49 firstname.lastname@example.org
PCC Secretary/PCC Treasurer: c/o Church Office, Victoria Place, Brightlingsea CO7 0AB
Parish website: allsaintswithstjamesb-sea.co.uk
Services (For details click here)
1st, 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month: 8.00 communion and 10.00 Parish Eucharist at St James
3rd Sunday of each month: 8.00 communion and 10.00 Parish Eucharist at All Saints and 10.00 Sparklers at St James.
5th Sunday: 8.00 communion and 10.00 All-age worship at St James.
Tuesday: 9.00 a.m. informal prayer at St James
Wednesday: 10.00 said communion at St James
Thursday: 8.15 informal prayer at St James
Friday: 10.30 Prayers for the sick at St James.
Events (For details click here)
Baptisms Weddings and Funerals Click here
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For all contact details click here
Our Mother Church, All Saints’, although no longer the central place of worship, is an integral and essential part of our life together. We seek to enhance its role within the affections of the community and to worship there regularly. The Sunday services (8.00 communion and 10.00 Parish Eucharist) are held at All Saints every third Sunday in the month. At the same time there is a ‘Sparklers’ Sunday School for 4-12 year-olds on the 3rd Sunday of each month at St James at 10.00.