St Michael’s Vicarage
Dear People of Alnwick,
Since 29th November last year (the first Sunday of Advent) the Church has had a long round of celebrations and observations. We have prepared ourselves for the birth of Jesus, celebrated that wonderful fact at Christmas, remembered the visit of the Wise Men with their gifts and the fact that God’s only Son was baptised in the River Jordan.
We’ve journeyed with Christ in his forty days and forty nights in the wilderness and walked with him in the last and most holy week of his earthly life recalling his gift of Holy Communion and washing of the disciples’ feet, his death on the cross and his glorious resurrection on Easter Day.
We have thought again about the appearances he made to his followers after his resurrection, celebrated his ascension into heaven and rejoiced in the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Finally, we have acknowledged the mystery of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit on Trinity Sunday.
So, what do we do now?
Well, the Church asks us to enter ‘Ordinary Time’. With all these celebrations and observations over, it could be thought of as an opportunity to ‘coast’ for a while, to simply get on with the day to day business of leading our lives.
I’d like to suggest to you that there is nothing at all ‘ordinary’ about ‘Ordinary Time.’ I’d like to suggest to you that each new day is a special – even extraordinary – gift in itself.
Each new day will bring with it a unique mix of blessings and challenges. Some days there will be more blessings than challenges and on others the balance will be reversed. But, in each and every unique blend, we should remind ourselves that God is with us and that he rejoices with us when things are going well whilst grieving with us in our times of unhappiness and despair.
God never leaves us completely desolate: he walks alongside us each step of the way – and that seems to me to be pretty extraordinary! Irrespective of our acknowledgement of his presence, he is never far from us. Indeed, he is closer to us than our very breath.
So, let us take every opportunity to recognise and celebrate the wonder of ‘Ordinary Time’, let us value the uniqueness of every day and of each of the people with whom we have to do.
In one way the long round of celebrations may be over for another year but, in another, each new day gives us the opportunity to count our blessings and put our hand into the hand of him who loves us so much he sent his Son to show us the way.
New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.
New mercies each returning day,
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.
John Keble (1792-1866)
With every blessing,