January Letter from Mat

I can’t remember who coined the phrase, ‘I love it when a plan comes together’ but Christmas at St Matthew’s certainly epitomised it.

From the decoration of the church, to the baking of mince pies, to the planning of the services (especially the Christingle and the Carol Service), the writing and performing of drama, the making of Christingles, delivery of leaflets, making ‘Bethlehem’, the singing and playing of music, the trimming and lighting of candles, giving away mince pies, and many other activities; many, many people seemed to be involved in making our Christmas Services worshipful, engaging and creative. It was a joy to be part of a St Matthew’s community making it all happen for the glory of God.

Thank you to all those who did indeed make it happen!

In Romans 12Open Link in New Window Paul speaks of the community of church as the body of Christ with each of its many parts working together. Christmas shows that publicly, but there is also a hidden side to our ‘body’. I was very aware before Christmas of the body looking after and praying for those in need, those who were struggling with illness, bereavement and other issues; the body rejoicing with those who were rejoicing and weeping with those who were weeping (Rom 12:15Open Link in New Window). Surely one of the marks of Godly community is that it remains together through thick and thin. It is in our shared love that people see and witness God present in our midst. And usually that love is just as evident in the hard times than the good. I pray that we will always be a church community that demonstrates this kind of love.

Looking back on 2008, after my third Christmas here, I am truly thankful to God for the community of St Matthew’s; for the growth we have seen, for the ways we can see God at work amongst us in the small things and the big things. And looking forward into 2009 (as always) there are uncertainties about the New Year in the life of our nation and city and in the life of the church. There will be joys and challenges and we will share them together in fellowship in our growing community. As I reflected on this I was reminded once again of the poem, ‘The Gate of the Year’ by Minnie Louise Haskins. In it she encourages us to put our hand into God’s. Hand in hand we walk onward in his strength, encouraged by his faithfulness in the past and with our hope firmly in God’s goodness and grace.

As we enter into this New Year, let us pray that we will continue to grow in our love for God and one another, that we will continue to grow in numbers and in witness and that we will always give thanks to God and put our trust in God’s faithfulness at work in us and through us.

I look forward to 2009 at St Matthew’s.

Mat

Share this on Facebook