I cannot believe that I am about to celebrate my fourth Christmas with you as Pastor! It is the season of Joy; the promise of our salvation is fulfilled in the arrival of the Christ child so that we can be redeemed by his blood at Easter. Somehow secular influences have nudged the meaning of Joy toward meaning pleasure. They are not the same. Joy is something deep and with a lasting effect on our very soul. Pleasure, wonderful as it can be, is a passing thing. In the light of our growing stewardship of the mission and life of our parish, I think the following reflections on joy by William R Inge, a 20th century Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London and professor of Divinity at Cambridge, may be helpful.
“Joy is the triumph of life; it is the sign that we are living our true life as spiritual beings. We are sent into the world to become something and to make something. The two are in practice so closely connected as to be almost inseparable. Our personality expands by creativeness, and creates spontaneously as it expands. Joy is the signal that we are spiritually alive and active. Wherever joy is, creation has been; and the richer the creation, the deeper the joy.”
“Joy will be ours, in so far as we are genuinely interested in great ideas outside ourselves. When we have once crossed the charmed circle and gone out of ourselves, we shall soon realize that all true joy has an eternal and Divine soul and goal. The joy of achievement is the recognition of a task understood and done. To do our duty in our own sphere, to try to create something worth creating, as our life’s work, is the way to understand what joy is in this life, and by God’s grace to earn the verdict: “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
Jesus is the ultimate good and faithful servant, we must model ourselves upon him and enter into the mission of the Kingdom here “in our own sphere” and grow in our joy as Church here in our beloved parish.
May God bless you, your families, and the week ahead,
Fr Aidan Peter