faithbook A message for quiet meditation
by JAN FARROW, Lay Reader at Holy Epiphany
I had such a lovely holiday this September, usual place - Cumbria, usual people – Rosie and Mopsy dog, usual weather – OH NO. The weather was, well, I hadn’t realised the sun could shine up north; usually we experience a lot of rain, mist and cold no matter what time of the year we go. This year was definitely different, the sun shone, so much so Rosie had to go and buy a t-shirt - we had of course packed all our winter clothes!!
We stayed for our usual month and it was lovely to see the trees just beginning to dress themselves in beautiful autumnal colours. What’s more we saw the snow arrive. Well not actual real snow you understand, but Windermere garden centre had the opening of its Christmas department, Father Christmas, elves, reindeer etc. I was beginning to feel a little topsy turvy, this was beginning to feel like an example of the cart before the horse!
Christmas is coming (in case you hadn’t noticed), the build-up seems to get larger every year and much of it I feel gives me a topsy turvy feeling.
Isaiah the prophet foretold the birth of Jesus over 700 years before Jesus was born. Isaiah prophesied a royal King, but there would be no palace, no jewelled crown, he would be a poor man, a servant who would suffer and die but then come back to life. In so doing Jesus, God’s own son, would destroy death for ever and open up the way to everlasting life for those who believed in him.
You really can’t have Christmas without the Easter message. Jesus was a topsy turvy sort of man, and for me he continues to turn much of our materialistic and worldly thinking upside down.
Recently I was rather struck by a true story. An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket of fruit near a tree and told them whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he gave them the signal to run they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat in a circle enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they chose to run as a group when they could have had more fruit individually, one child spoke up and said: UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?
What a powerful message we could present to the world if only we could join hands one with another, to share not only those earthly fruits but the fruits of the Christian gospel with our friends and neighbours at all times of the year.