We are challenged this week to think where to find Jesus. There may well be three opportunities we can think of…
- In the past – 2,017 years, 11 months and 2 weeks ago (roughly)!! The image of the Son of God born in the humble surroundings of the manger and recreated in thousands of primary school nativity plays in the coming week.
- In the future – when the Kingdom of Heaven is completed here on Earth. This is when the Kingdom of God is lived out in the world.
- In the present – in the form of those in need in society and the most vulnerable who Jesus served in His life. We are challenged to find opportunities to bring light and hope to the world we live in and serve those most vulnerable, suffering or rejected.
Advent is a journey and time to get ready to prepare ourselves to meet Jesus. It is an opportunity to put our lives in order to do this. This is why this week we have the opportunity to think about reconciliation. In the sacrament of reconciliation we always have a path back to God by seeking forgiveness, the first step in recognising where we have gone wrong. We need to make peace with one another and with God if we are to truly open our hearts to Jesus this Christmas.
John the Baptist called people to turn away from sin and be prepared for the Lord. We can do this by choosing to turn away from the things that hold us back and looking to focus on how we can live our lives making a more positive contribution to the world that we live in.
A few questions for the week ahead…
- Where are we proudest of the difference we are making? Hopefully part of this is in life at St Paul’s.
- Which areas hold me back from making a positive contribution? Maybe when we are tired or don’t step back to take the long view.
- What can I do to take the first steps back to God this Advent and Christmas?
- Which of my relationships would benefit form reconciliation and healing? What would be the first move in making this happen?
One of the most heartening things as Christians is that God always offers fresh starts however tough things have got. We can all be reassured by this unconditional love and this truly can become the heart of our loving relationships – when we recognise this we can believe we are truly blessed.
Once again I have been compelled to offer a two for the price of one reflection as I failed to complete the one I had planned for last week…
The theme for the week was respect and I believe it has 3 stages and ways of living it out in our school community.
- Respect for yourself – it is a fundamental thing for us to be able to love and respect ourselves and place some self-worth in what we have to offer. Perhaps at times people can go to either extreme where people believe their own “hype” – a dangerous thing – or alternatively don’t have enough self-respect or worth. Perhaps in the modern world it is easy, especially for young people growing up, to feel the pressures to conform, act or look a certain way. In essence I believe the challenge is to be comfortable in our own skin and to be proud in who we are.
- Respect for others – if we can live our lives by showing respect to others I believe we will find that we will be intrinsically happier. We can find joy by building others up and not knocking them down, some of the happiest and most inspiring people I have met have lived selflessly by doing right by others each and every day.
- Respect for God – as Christians our respect for God underpins all of this. The example of Jesus lives out a true respect for Himself and all those He met, especially those on the margins of society. If we accept that God is the source of all love we can find ways each day to respect God and be grateful for all that we have in our lives – friends, family, food, housing or an education – perhaps the basic foundations of our lives that we take for granted.
This week we are reflecting on the theme of invitation and there may be a seamless link to the week before… God loves, cherishes and respects all of us and has created us for a “definite service” and purpose. We are called to become the person that God has created us to be and one of life’s joys is discovering and exploring this every step of the way.
We are invited to;
- Live life to the full
- Love one another as God loves us
- Be full of light, life and hope
- Build people up and inspire them
- Bring people closer to God
- Lead with passion, integrity and faith
If we can do these things I am confident we will be happier, more fulfilled and have deeper relationships with one another and with God.
I feel blessed to lead and live in a community of faith at our school. The work we do has a deeper meaning in that we are not just ticking along, clocking in and out, but in fact doing something that has a far deeper meaning purpose…
As a Christian community we are challenged to simply build up the Kingdom of God in small ways each and every day. If we can do this we must be doing something right.
Have a great week and half term when it comes.