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Letter from Father Richard

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Dear Brothers and Sisters

In his sermon last Sunday our Deacon John Lang, spoke of our ability to be imprisoned by our own expectations. All of us would like to write the script of our own future.

John the Baptist’s reality didn’t live up to his expectation. Joseph’s expectations didn’t tally with his reality. What made them Saints is that they willingly gave over their pens to God so that He could script their present and their future.

After the first Band Aid concert, Bob Geldoff said: Is that it? There was a certain deflation after so much work and activity.

If you want to maintain a certain “edge” to your life; hand over the pen, let God write the future; seize the day:

Rejoice in the Lord – again I say rejoice.

Fr. Richard
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Forgiveness – by the Archbishop of Canterbury

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Happy to share this homily on forgiveness with you, which I preached informally during a carol service for guests that we held this week at Lambeth Palace. May you experience a rebirth this Christmas.

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One of things Christmas always makes me think about is forgiveness – why Jesus is so essential in helping us forgive others, and be forgiven ourselves. True forgiveness is very difficult: it can feel almost impossible – and on our own, it is.

How can there be forgiveness for what’s happening in Aleppo? How can there be forgiveness for many of the other things that are happening around the world? What does it take? Can a human being create that forgiveness?

It is only something that comes from God. Nothing less than God makes that kind of forgiveness possible.

The extraordinary claim of Christianity – which would be ridiculous if it weren’t true – is that this child who comes so unnoticeably, so hidden, is essential to forgiveness, because he is God himself.

Here are three ways that Jesus is essential to forgiveness:

First, he loves us and he is with us. This is not about God “for us” – or God “to us”, and pointing his finger at us. This is about God “with us” – taking on the burden of everything we are not, and everything this world has going wrong in it. (Lord Byron said if God is not like Jesus, he ought to be.) When we need forgiveness, we fear that what we’ve done has changed something in us – and those we’ve harmed – so that we can never be forgiven. How can we be loved in the light of what we’ve done? We all feel that at some time. I’m not talking about when you say something stupid… I’m talking about those things many of us will have kept deeply to ourselves. Those things we know deep down have broken a relationship, or damaged someone.

Secondly Jesus is also essential because he bears the weight of our wrong. What we’ve done needs to go somewhere. Where there’s been crime, great sin, great cruelty, it needs to go somewhere – that’s what justice is. Justice says there must be a cost to wrongdoing. Jesus is the place it all goes.

Finally, Jesus is essential to forgiveness because he remakes us. This birth we remember at Christmas contains the possibility of our own birth – our recreation. Just as in Jesus’ death there is our death to all that is wrong, in his birth is our birth – a new start that’s possible because of him. That is something that is true for every single person. May you discover that new start, that new birth, this Christmas.

From his FaceBook page . . .
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Letter from Father Richard

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Dear Brothers and Sisters

“Rejoice, the Lord is near”. Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, “Rejoice”.

The rose candle of the Advent wreath is lit. Jesus is our light in the darkness of life – and He is coming into our world … and He is coming to be with us, to revive our drooping spirits, to walk with us through the valley of death, to be our confidence in the midst of our uncertainty.

His name is

EMMANUEL – GOD IS WITH US

With best wishes for a good week.

Fr. Richard
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Letter from Father Richard

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Dear Brothers and Sisters

A theme of Advent is WAITING or WAITING in EXPECTATION. Something is not quite right in our lives, we hope for more – or for a solution.

I have been waiting around in hospitals in the past four months. Sometimes the appointments are on time, sometimes 3 hours late. Still there is no alternative but to wait.

We are like that before God; we are not quite right. God has promised that He would fix our lives.

May our Advent be a WAITING that turns into a LONGING. May the fulfilment of our LONGING surprise us with JOY…for unto US a son is born…

With best wishes for a good week.

Fr. Richard
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