I must begin this month by recording my thanks to
Bob, John and the Wardens for "holding the fort" whilst I was ill, Bob particularly for shielding me from various
stress factors - it takes one whose lived in a vicarage to appreciate just how hard it is to find peace in one! Since my
return, when asked "how are you" I've been saying "I'm getting there" and quoting (what I thought
was) Winnie the Pooh saying, . "I don't know where 'there' is, but I hope if I stay here long enough 'there'
will come to me". After careful research of the great philosopher I can find no record of Pooh Bear saying such a thing,
so maybe this was just a "Geoffism" but surely prompted by the Holy Spirit? If for example 'there' were
to be the Kingdom of Heaven, then (hopefully) we're all "getting there", but didn't Jesus teach us to pray
"Your kingdom come"? Was it not always His intention for us to do our bit to bring His Kingdom to earth, right
here, right now? But it's not enough to simply "stay here long enough", we need to make a good impression,
show people the love Jesus showed, and help one another through this increasingly difficult life. If we all try and do that,
then maybe the Kingdom will one day come.
As you will read in this edition (November Parish News), we have plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks to impress
the Kingdom on our friends and families. Shortly after first arriving in Wells, Bishop Peter announced this as "The Season
of Welcome", with Harvest, then Remembrance, closely followed by Advent and Christmas. This year as we celebrate 100
years since the end of World War One, many organisations will be holding special events which I'm sure you will want to
attend. But let's not forget the original plan for Remembrance Sunday. Throughout the land every town and village displays
a roll of honour with the names of local heroes who fell in the two wars. St Paul's this year has added a plaque in the
nave, lest those precious names be missed in the Lady Chapel. I believe it is our duty, out of reverence, respect and thanks,
to attend our local church for the festival of remembrance. "Greater love hath no man than this than to lay
down his life for his friends", we will remember them.
Throughout Advent and Christmas we remember the ultimate sacrifice of love, when our almighty creator came down from
His heavenly throne to come among us amidst the mud and bullets of humankind. He hung on a cross of shame to take away our
shame. We were reminded last year by Archbishop Justin how many people fail to associate the man on the cross with the babe
in a manger, so please try and bring someone to at least one of our services to celebrate the beginning of God's rescue
mission to save us all.
Finally - and this is a tip you can try at any time of year - the next time someone says "I'm
getting there" grab the opportunity to ask them where they think 'there' is and what they expect to find there.
Who knows, if we all took that opportunity to explain where and what 'there' really is, Pooh's (or Geoff's)
wish may yet come true!
Wishing you all a reflective and fruitful Advent, and the coming of His Kingdom.