A (Not So) Small World

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

“It’s a small world” so the saying goes – and so it has proved to be in recent weeks.

You will be aware that we receive lots of visitors at St. Michael’s and it is a great joy to me that our church is open each day to welcome them. Some come armed with Simon Jenkins’ famous book, ‘England’s Thousand Best Churches’ in which St. Michael’s features, others come because of family connections going back many generations whilst yet others come simply to visit, to pray and to absorb ‘the beauty of holiness’ which St. Michael’s exudes.

In conversation with visitors it is my practice to enquire where people have travelled from and it is quite astonishing how often it is so easy to make a connection. In the last few weeks I have had, amongst others, conversations with a lady whose father’s funeral I took in North Shields many years ago; a gentleman who was at university with my former English teacher at King Edward VI Grammar School in Morpeth and a couple who worship in Hampshire where Julia, our former Curate, is their Vicar.

It is always good to find a common link with someone as a conversation proceeds and to talk of people or places familiar to both parties.

But, whenever Christians meet together, whether or not we have been introduced before, we have an immediate common bond: our faith in Jesus Christ. This really is something worth celebrating. No matter where we are in the world, we know that somewhere nearby there is likely to be a group of Christians who meet together to worship and to pray. They may not do it in exactly the same way as we do, but our common faith in Christ draws us together in a very special way.

As we meet together around the altar week by week, as we proclaim the love of Christ in our daily lives, we do so as part of the great family of Christ which forms the Church on earth. And, if that were not enough, our prayers and praises are joined “with angels and archangels and with the whole company of heaven.”

That “small world” is actually bigger than we might think.

“Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above.

Before the Father’s throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares.”

With every blessing,

Paul.

 

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