Bishops' messages

Letter from the Right Reverend Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton
December 2017

 

We’ve been seeing the Christmas decorations in the shops since the summer holidays ended.  It starts sooner than ever each year doesn’t it.  At the beginning of November a checkout assistant was telling me she already had her decorations up at home due to her daughter’s insistence.  I remember the time when my parents would put up the tree on Christmas Eve and we weren’t allowed into the living room until the next morning.  Our excitement knew no bounds!

‘Waiting’ is something we are not very good at.  Many of us are impatient in this world of immediacy.  We want our needs, our wishes, fulfilled straight away.  We are like that with our shopping online, paying more for next day delivery.  And we can be like that with our prayer too.  Challenging God as to why He doesn’t appear to have heard us when we don’t receive the answer we are looking for.

This season of Advent is all about waiting.  Waiting and watching, not just to celebrate the festival of Christmas, the coming of the babe in the manger, but also waiting and watching for his coming again in glory.  The early Christians were anticipating that Jesus would return for them in their lifetime.  His words in John’s gospel about “going to prepare a place for them”, ‘going ahead’ of them, caused them to be expectant of another advent or arrival of God, breaking into their world.  They couldn’t understand why He didn’t come back quickly particularly when they faced persecution for their faith.

I know of people now who live in that expectancy of Jesus’ return each day, opening their curtains with the words, “Maybe today, Lord”.  Perhaps you do.  I’m aware that I don’t do that enough.  Not because I’m fearful of life in the ‘here and now’ but rather thinking of each day as potentially the last here on earth and therefore thinking about how to make it count.  Thinking about how I might live and tell the story of God’s love to friends and neighbours, strangers and family, in a way they might hear that message most effectively.  So that they can come to know a God who loves them enough to enter into their world and be present with them. 

This Advent perhaps we need to become more aware that it’s not only us doing the ‘waiting’ but also God waiting to receive the best from us.

God Waits

God waits silently

In our inner recesses,

The chambers of our soul,

Gazing lovingly

On our treasure,

Awaiting our response.

Yvonne Morland

 

The Right Reverend Ruth Worsley

Bishop of Taunton