Dear Family of St John’s

Time is an odd thing. Have you noticed that it moves at different speeds? As a child I used to think that Christmas would NEVER come! The year draaaaaaged by. Counting sleeps until the end of the school year was quite common. In fact, counting the number of sleeps until ‘insert important event’ is quite common in my family still. For example, it’s four sleeps today until Aladdin’s mom and dad go to the opening show of Aladdin! Much excitement!

But, the year does not drag by now. I think it’s because I’m older. I almost feel as if time flies to the extent that I have mild whiplash. Infacttheyearpassessoquicklythatthere’sbarelyroomtopauseandbreathbeforewe’resingingChristmascarolsagain! Whew!

And yet, in other instances time slows down again. When you’re waiting for bad news, perhaps the results of medical tests, it can seem to drag.

Our perception of time and age is also an odd thing. I often have to remind myself that I’m not 25 anymore. I know that I don’t look 25, and sometimes I don’t feel 25. But, in my head that’s the age I seem to be. I’ve reached the stage where I have to think for a moment and calculate how old I actually am when I’m asked. There’s a little bit of mental arithmetic that goes on… 2022-1976=…. What? Am I really that old? When did that happen?

We hosted the Over 70’s Christmas Dinner last night at St John’s. What a fabulous evening. The food was scrumptious, the entertainment was superb, and the hall was filled with a wonderful buzz of conversation and laughter. The guests, and the team working, all had such fun.

Spending time with the Over 70’s reminded me of a story I heard a few weeks ago about someone who was talking about the passing of time and realised that they were Suddenly Seventy! That’s the term they used, with exclamations. They were amazed that this age had crept up on them without them really being aware.

Time is like that, I find. We can think we have all the time in the world, but…suddenly! Suddenly something happens to change our perceptions, or to change our life in a more drastic way. Suddenly we lose our job. Suddenly someone we love dies. Suddenly we have cancer. Suddenly our children leave home. Suddenly.

There’s another suddenly, the most important one of all. Suddenly Jesus has returned. There will be no time to pause and ponder how that happened. There’ll be no time to think if we missed a sign. There’ll be no time to get our life in order. Suddenly.

How will you deal with that ‘suddenly’? Are you ready?

This Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. It’s a four-week period where we focus specifically on the coming Jesus. Firstly, as a baby so many years ago. But also, on Jesus’ second coming. It’s very easy to forget about that second focus when everything in society is about presents and trees and jingling bells. And, if you’re lucky someone mentions the baby in the manger.

We’re told, by Jesus, in Matthew 24: 44, ‘So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’ We have been warned to be ready.

There’s a lot that rests on our readiness for Jesus’ return. Our eternal life rests on our readiness. We can’t wait for the last moment to prepare because… suddenly Jesus will be here.

May this Advent season be a time where we truly evaluate how ready we are for Jesus’ sudden return.

With love
Your friend and rector,