This Month's Message











My Life is my Message." Mahatma Gandhi

Revd. Judith Pollard

Team Vicar










Stir up the wills of your faithful people...

For the first time in years my husband suggested that we do some Christmas baking, make a fruit cake and perhaps a plum pudding or two. After all, next week it’s Stir up Sunday!

Traditionally, Stir Up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent (a penitential season) and like Shrove Tuesday before Lent it was customary to use up rich ingredients beforehand. Also, the special prayer for that Sunday began with the words: “Stir up we beseech thee O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful people..”. Of course, folk made up their own version: Stir up, we beseech thee the pudding in the pot...and keep it hot!  Tradition has it that making Christmas fare on Stir Up Sunday brings good luck – and it gives the food time to mature and develop flavour all ready for Christmas.

At this time of the year we have a Children’s Workshop at Harpley Church:  Birthday cakes for Jesus!  We stir up all the ingredients, bake them (not in church!) and later at a second workshop we ice the cakes creatively in time for Christmas. We all have a lot of fun doing this, children and adults alike.

It’s good to think of safe and predictable things in the run-up to Christmas 2019 – carol services, present-buying, decorating the tree - to counterbalance the uncertainty in our United Kingdom at this time. As we still experience the political contortions of Brexit and approach a December General Election for the first time since 1923, even if we look beyond our shores to the wider world, all we see is unrest and division. There is no peace, no goodwill. We are challenged on all sides, particularly in the way we abuse our planet and its resources. Members of my own wider family have been active in the climate change protests in London, fervently believing that we all have a stake in the quality of life of future generations – and we must do something positive now before it’s too late.

The annual reassertion of our Christian faith at Christmas through the birth of Jesus, the Christ-child, comes at an important time. Every year this Christian festival, this celebration of love, vulnerability and sheer humanity, reminds us that in all this earthly turmoil we are not alone. God loves us so much that he sent his Son to be with us to experience our human predicament in all its gritty reality - even to death on a cross. The story of our redemption begins at Christmas.

Never have we needed more the message of the angels: Peace on earth, goodwill to all people.            

As Charles Dickens’ Tiny Tim observed: “God bless us, every one!”   

Happy Christmas to you all,    

Reverend Judith






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