1 Nov 2019 • From the Vicar
At this time of year the church has a season of ‘remembering’. It is good to look back and remember where we were and where we have arrived at. Look back over the past 12 months, what sort of journey have you been on? What do you remember – was the journey easy or difficult? Who shared the journey with you? Where is God leading you now? If you are going on a difficult journey it’s really helpful to have a tour guide who knows about the places you are visiting and who can make sure you get to your destination. They can show you the way, point you to the places to eat and sort out the problems you face.Our journey through life is one that sometimes is easy and sometimes can be difficult. Facing suffering can be challenging.It’s not surprising then that we find it encouraging that we don’t have to make that journey on our own. The Bible’s picture of God as shepherd accompanying us on our journey is one that has brought strength and encouragement to many over the years.
In the book of Ezekiel God speaks of himself as a shepherd and Jesus claims that title for himself in the Gospel of John, but it is the words of Psalm 23 which many have found especially helpful. Here is an image of a God who is there in good times and bad, who guides us and provides for us. When we are hurt he brings us healing. When we are lost he seeks for us and brings us back – a God who forgives and restores those who have wandered away from him. He strengthens and protects us in the darkest hours, in the ‘valley of the shadow of death’. He is the one who brings us through to feasting and rejoicing – heaven is often pictured as a banquet in the Bible. Jesus as Good Shepherd laid down his life, dying on the cross that we might be forgiven. He has now been raised from death and promises eternal life to those who belong to him. He is alongside us every step of the way on the journey of life.
During this season of remembrance let us affirm the good news we have received, in which we stand, through which we are saved and which we hand on to others. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; he was buried; he was raised to life on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; afterwards he appeared to his followers, and to all the apostles: this we have received, and this we believe.