Sunday, December 2, 2012

Come and see!

Come and see!

There’s a breathless excitement.

It just has to be shared!

Come and see what I’ve done!

The excitement in the voice however young or old is something to hear!

Come and see what I can see!

The view is breathtaking – it simply has to be shared!

Come and see, you’ll never guess who has just arrived!

As a long-lost friend appears unexpectedly on the door step.

Come and see for yourself!

Seeing is believing – come and see and you really will believe!

Come and see!

There’s a breathless excitement as John’s Gospel opens.  It’s not just Andrew who says to his brother, Come and See!

It’s not just Philip who wants to convince his friend Nathanael, Come and See!

It’s John himself as he writes his Gospel.  As the Gospel gets under way it’s difficult to catch your breath.  One after another people appear and they point to Jesus.  It’s as if one by one they are saying one thing.

Come and See!

Come and see in all his words the Word of God

Come and see in all his life a light shining in the darkness

Come and see in all his deeds glory full of grace and truth

Come and see in all his love the Lamb of God

Come and see in all his thoughts the wisest of teachers

Come and see in all his humanity someone just like us

Come and see in all his authority the Son of God, the King

Come and see in all  his being the One

Come and see the One who spans earth and heaven

Come and see the One who brings earth down to heaven

Come and see the One who raises earth to heaven

Come and see so that you may come to believe

Come and see that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God

Come and see that through believing you may have life in his name!

Come and See!

That’s the message we want to share as Advent unfolds.

We have something really exciting to share!   Come and See!

We have something that will make a world of difference in your own life, in your family, in the community, in the world!  Come and See!

We have something to share!  Come and See!

And it starts this evening as the Choir get Advent under way with a service of readings and music for Advent and Christmas.

And then on Saturday we have our Christmas Café, not only will Hy-Speed be there with its digital scalextric, not only will there be fresh Nicaraguan Coffee and freshly baked cakes, not only will there be crafts and gifts from Bethlehem, not only will there be the Christmas story to reflect on and enjoy … but this year as never before, there will be a book launch, with our very own collection of poems to see you through the whole of 2013!  I don’t know whether Shirley and Judy, and illustrators Rosamond and Jane Dixon will be doing a book-signing … you’ll have to Come and See!

Then it’s the Nativity Service on Sunday, 16th – come and see!

Then it’s the Christingle Service as we welcome the peace light on Wednesday 19th – come and see

Then it’s the Carols by Candle light service – come and see.  And we want people to host a table – bring along a dozen mince pies, be ready to welcome people at the table, invite some friends to join us, and we are going to get people to choose their favourite carols for us all to sing.  A great evening.  Come and see!

And just to make sure we don’t keep it to ourselves, Ruth has done us proud with another card to go round the neighbourhood with an invitation to everyone to come and see!  And people need to take bundles of those cards today so we really can share the good news of the coming of Christ at Christmas … come and see!

Come and see this Jesus.

 And on the Sundays of Advent we are going to dig a bit deeper into John’s Gospel and catch John’s excitement as we come and see just who this Jesus is.

John carries on through his gospel filling out a picture of who this Jesus is, just what he means in people’s lives … and always there’s that invitation.

Come and see!

Not once, not twice, but ten times John tells us how Jesus sees himself.

I am the light of the world.  “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

I called on Alison Steley this week … and I said I would pass on her love.   I spotted that picture over her desk – The Light of the World.  We sat talking about the picture, I shared some of the story I shared earlier with the children.

Alison is thoughtful.  She thinks a lot.  And always has.  With her downs syndrome it’s so easy to treat her as a child.  But she isn’t.  She is an adult.  And she wants you to know it.  She has lived most of her life with her parents.  When first her father died and then her mother died, it wasn’t easy for her.  It was wonderful to see the way St George’s and St Vincent’s, as it now is, stepped in.  Alison found a home in Well Spring House.  Until recently, a communal home for 10 women.  But now a set of three self-contained flats.  And Alison now shares with two other friends.  And it’s as if she is set free.  Found a new identity.

But there are moments when she feels the darkness.  The sadness of her own bereavement, the loss of a close friend from that community of 10 last year, more recently one of the older friends having to move into a nursing home.  Alison watches the news.  She is very sensitive to the tragedies that go on in the world around us.  There are moments when she feels the darkness.

And she spoke of one of those moments.  I asked if it was OK to share her thoughts and she was delighted.

“When I look at the picture and I see the Light of the World, I think of children who have lost their families and I long for peace around the world.  We are called the children of the light and we look for the peace of the world.”

There can be a very real darkness.   And it can seem to envelop us at times.  And it comes to each one of us.

I hear a gentle voice.  The breathlessness has gone.  The excitement is tempered.  It is calm, it is soothing.

In the middle of the darkness that voice says, come … come and see.

It’s a voice that knows the darkness of the loss of a friend and the tears that come at the moment.  It’s the voice that knows the darkness of feeling abandoned by God.  It’s the voice that knows what it is to wish one could escape the future that lies ahead.  It’s a gentle voice.  A calm voice.  The kind of voice that brings light into darkness.  And not just light.  But life as well.  Life in all its fullness.  Life that is not bounded by death, but life that is to eternity.

I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in  darkness but will have the light of life.

But sometimes the voice is muffled.

Sometimes the voice is distant.

I come back to that pictuire.

Jesus is knocking.  The door hasn’t been opened for a long time.  The door is strewn with weeds.  They choke the door.  They choke out the life.

It’s the door of my heart.

And it’s closed.

And the voice of Jesus from the other side of that door seems muffled, distant.

I can’t quite make it out.

There are times when it feels as if you are pushing on a door and the door refuses to budge.  It will not open.  The hinges have seized up.  The lock is jammed.  It won’t open.

And then the voice speaks again.

I am the door …

What a curious thought.

I am the door.

Not just the one knocking.

Not just the one on the other side.

I am the door.

The voice seems more distinct.  It’s gentleness is all embracing.

I am the door.  Whoever enters by me will be saved.  Whoever enters by me will be made whole.

It’s no longer a barrier.

It opens up and it beckons.

Whoever enters by me will be saved.  Whoever enters by me will be made whole.

What a wonderful thought.  This is the heart of the message of Advent.  This is what we have to share.  Come and see.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful simply to come in and find a safe haven.  No longer any need to face the world and its troubles.

But it’s not like that.

I am the door.  Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.

That’s it – in  Christ we can find a wholeness and a peace such as the world cannot give – but we go back into that world with its darkness, with its troubles and find that he is a presence with us through it all.

I came, he says, that they might have life, and have it abundantly.

A rich life that goes beyond the things we become obsessed by in the commercialism of Christmas.  A rich life that goes beyond the trappings and the tinsel of a Christmas that can be so over-wrought with anxiety.

A life in all its fullness that is for eternity and is immersed in the fullness of God’s richest love.

Come and see … and discover that life is something worth living for!

Come through the door and see the light

Come and see!
Is it locked or is it stuck?
It seems so difficult to open
And yet the invitation is there ...
I am the door!
Come and see!
It’s so dark, it’s overwhelming
It seems impossible even to catch a glimpse
And yet the invitation is there
I am the light!
Come and see!

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