Living Deliverance

Jacob's Ladder and Parable of the TaresSir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them” (Matthew 13:27-29)

For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20-21)

For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell” (Psalms 83:13)

For thy power is the beginning of righteousness, and because thou art the Lord of all, it maketh thee to be gracious unto all.” (Wisdom of Solomon 12:16)

And he [Israel] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12)

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” (Psalms 139:9-12)

 

Pastoral Team Easter Tea

Pastoral Team Easter Tea for residents and staff of the local care homes and the community in our parish. Tuesday 18th April, 3:00pm. All the congregation is more than welcome, and please bring a friend or neighbour. Please contact the Office to let us know if you intend to attend so we can judge how many cakes to bake – well worth coming for. Look forward to seeing you all.

Can Christ be Born Within Us?

The Christmas nativity is quite remarkable on a number of levels. Traditionally we rejoice in the story of Jesus’ birth – the birth of the world’s great King, who continues to reign with God’s Love.

The Gospel of John, describes how “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. Before taking Communion, we say the Anglican Prayer of Humble Access: “we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us”. But what does it really mean to have the Christ dwell in us? Beyond the concrete Jesus, the living Christ is something much more cosmic and abstract – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”.

Considering the nativity from a psychological perspective, it isn’t difficult to appreciate how the Christ might struggle to find a birthplace within us. Our human preoccupations and emotional complexes leave little “room at the Inn”. The only place left is amongst the “animals”, amongst the muck and the grime – luckily our minds still harbour some kindly animals so that the Christ child needn’t face up to the mind’s lions and tigers straight away.

Having found a birthplace within us (“Bethlehem” – the house of bread), Christ’s survival is still touch-and-go. Herod (our ego and desires) wants to destroy all threats to his supremacy, and he’ll stop at nothing – he’ll even destroy the purest parts of us to ensure the Christ seed cannot grow, to ensure the bread cannot rise. Fortunately, unlike the wise men and shepherds, Herod is unaware of the secret star which provides a direct path to Christ. Herod cannot see let alone know how to “follow the light” and by this our inner Christ is protected from harm. We, on the other hand, can seek Christ within us by following the star of Bethlehem.

Christmas means so many different things to so many people. However, if we could only allow the nativity to live within us we could truly “behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” and “see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man”.

May Christ be born within us this Christmas, and may our inner Christ grow so that we may truly “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” and “love thy neighbour as thyself”.

Only at St Michael’s

The Angel Festival ‘wire angel’ in the tower has now, as you’ll have seen, been joined by a constellation of decorative and artistic stars, made during their pre-Christmas visit to St M’s by pupils of Pownall Green Primary School. An unexpected additional result of this creativity was that we’ve discovered something that spreads faster (and farther) than news on the proverbial grapevine. What is it? – Glitter.

Water Shortage!

Many households in Bramhall, Cheadle Hulme, and Woodford recently went without a supply of running water for 24 hours or more.  Think what it would be like never to have water constantly on tap, for that’s the way it is for most village families in the Diocese of Newala.  That’s why St Michael’s is doing all it can to help Newala’s Mothers’ Union build water tanks in villages to store rainwater otherwise going to waste.

We understand our water supplier is giving each affected household £25 in compensation for interruption of supply.  Some of the St M’s congregation are donating their £25 to the Newala Water Tank Project.  How about doing the same?  Please hand cash or  cheque (payable to St Michael’s PCC Newala) in to the Office.  Many thanks to everyone who takes up this idea.

Fr Bob’s Ordination Anniversary

Belated congratulations to Fr Bob, who mentioned en passant at the beginning of last Sunday’s 10am service that it was the 45th anniversary of his Ordination, which took place on 18th December 1971 in Durham Cathedral.  Rising to the occasion, the Churchwardens presented gifts to Bob and Joan at the end of the service.  They hadn’t been tipped off, Bob had said nothing beforehand, but – in a genuine coincidence – they had got these marks of our appreciation of Bob’s guidance, particularly noting that – with Fr David being heavily committed in Stockport – Fr Bob would single-handedly be leading all the service in the coming week, up to and including Christmas.

Bramhall Christian Viewpoint

Our first event of the New Year is a Supper with a talk – ‘Finding True Peace’ – by Bryan Corke.  Bryan has been involved in missionary work in Europe as well as in part-time ministry since 1995.  He worked for 48 years in health care as a prosthetist, and misses the privilege of working with so many inspiring and courageous patients and staff.  We look forward to hearing his experiences and bringing his Christian faith to personal and working life.  Thurs 19th January  at the Deanwater Hotel, 7:45pm.  Bookings, £12, please contact us.

Emergency appeal for Yemen

Envelopes for donations to Christian Aid’s emergency appeal for Yemen are available in the porches. Please ask a sidesperson if you want one and can’t see them. Please complete the section on the envelope to Gift Aid your donation, if applicable, and put the envelope in the collection plates at the rear of the church.