Bishop Rachel shares a message for the Diocese.
Watch the video message here:
Full transcript of the message:
I’m delighted to have this opportunity to bring you a Christmas message from Bishopscourt – with cathedral out of the window and diocesan and cathedral offices close by. But I’m under no illusion that this is the centre of the diocese for everyone.
In our life together across the diocese, the centre is wherever you are – whether that’s working at College Green or being many miles away from here.
And I suspect that for most of us over the months of viral pandemic our physical worlds have shrunk to a much smaller radius around our centre.
One of the podcasts I made earlier this year focused on that mapping language we have used so much in recent months – that metaphor of navigating our landscape – or living strange territory.
The podcast included a Christian cartographer who spoke about maps helping make sense of our world – enabling us to locate ourselves and even work out what we feel and think and perceive in a particular place.
I learned that during lockdown a French cartographer made a map with his home at the centre and then mapped what he noticed in a one kilometre radius which was as far as he was allowed to venture in France.
At Christmas we hear the story of a mapped-out journey as Joseph and Mary leave the centre of their lives in Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem …
But there was also a major internal journey, amid questions and uncertainty and overwhelming mystery – and some fresh navigation was required as they lived the present pondering on the past and wondering about the future – And at the centre is a child… Jesus Christ – Immanuel – God with us.
The truth is that the journey and the mapping began long before Bethlehem. It began at the beginning of time and stretches towards that destination of a new heaven and a new earth.
And here in the present, together in this diocese we seek to play our part in the mapping of the Kingdom of God – to notice the signs of the Kingdom in the landscape of our lives and to BE producers of kingdom signs as we live justice and love, peace and mercy.
Thank you for being people of hope and light as you go on navigating the present into the future.
Usually at Christmas many of you would be present at the blessing of the crib and the placing of the baby Christ-figure in the manger, centre stage. And I hope and pray that we will all do THAT this year but in different ways … within ourselves
In chapter one of St Paul’s letter to the Colossians there are the wonderful words that ‘Christ is before all things, and in him all things hold together’. He is our centre.
At this very different Christmas time amid all that you are navigating ~ the light, love and hope of Jesus Christ is unchanging.
And my prayer is that each of us will re-centre ourselves on Christ as we are renewed afresh by the Spirit of God to reveal God’s love in Jesus Christ among the people of our lives in the places we are located.
And as you contemplate your map of life at the moment – those places of delight and those places of struggle, I pray you will know that God has you at the heart.
Thank you for being fellow pilgrims on the road.
With Bishop Robert, I wish you a peaceful Christmas, reverberating with God’s comfort and joy.