January 2021 A New Creation

January 2021  A New Creation

As we glance back at the beginning of this new year we can see that life has been changing rapidly. Loved ones have been lost and lives have been changed in ways that we could not have foreseen just a year ago. Life has been interrupted and changed forever in such a short time. We cannot rewind the clock or reset the world as if nothing has happened. In many areas of life the ‘old has gone’ and we can’t go back. However, as unfamiliar as we find this new reality to be, it is not all bad news.

Creation waits in eager expectation for the revelations that are to come. A new creation awaits that is far superior to the old one. In Christ, people are being reborn and delivered into this new creation that was planned before the world began. In Christ the ‘old has gone’, meaning that our former life is in the past. It is dead and buried and we are not to dig it up. In Christ ‘the new has come’, meaning that we have been given a new life that is of a totally different order from the old one.

In the future, life will evolve differently from how it has done in the past. Old patterns and old ways of doing things will be discarded and new ways of being and living will emerge. In Christ people will no longer ‘live for themselves’ but ‘for Him who died and was raised again’.  Jesus sets the new pattern and framework for this new way of living.

Instead of being self-centred we find ourselves propelled into a future characterised by a God-centred disposition. In the new creation it is not ‘man’ at the centre of the universe but God. He is the potter and we are the clay, he is the master and we are his servants. In Christ self-seeking will slip away as we find ourselves living a new life filled with gratitude and joy. As St Francis prayed; ‘it is in dying that we are born to eternal life’. Death to self is the highroad to life in the new creation. The old has gone and the new has come.

Rev. Dr. Christopher Noble – Rector

St Mary’s Stansted with Fairseat and Vigo

December 2020 Christmas Interrupted

As you will see from our church programme, Christmas is interrupted and is not the way that we would have chosen to plan it. Of course, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was not the way that we would have planned it.  As God said through his prophet Isaiah, ‘My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than yours’. If we had planned the arrival of God’s King to this earth, we would probably not have done it the way that the Lord came up with. Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit outside of wedlock which put question marks over the paternity of Jesus. The timing and the circumstances of the birth were far from ideal. The children’s carol ‘Little donkey, carry Mary’ is very romantic, but the reality of travelling for days on the back of a donkey whilst being full term in pregnancy must have been extremely uncomfortable, not to mention risky. The maternity ward was far from ideal, rather like one of our Stansted parishioners some years ago who gave birth on the kitchen floor with the local dairy farmer delivering the baby! The whole idea of God becoming a vulnerable human being seems from our perspective to be a risky plan. Infant mortality was a very real risk and there was no NHS to provide neo-natal care for God’s son. The original Christmas story and the subsequent life of Jesus the Messiah is not how we would have scripted it. This was a big problem at the time because his birth and his life were not what people expected or how they thought it should be. Jesus was not the kind of Messiah that they were anticipating. He did not bring them what they wanted and what he did bring, they didn’t want. St John said that ‘The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it’. What he is saying about Jesus is that the people of that time didn’t ‘get’ him. He didn’t look the way that they thought a Messiah should look. People today make the same mistake when looking at Jesus. His ways are much higher than ours and his plans are unfathomable, but his light is still shining in the darkness. This year the light of Jesus Christ is not locked up in the church. The Stansted Church Christmas tree is outside the building. The light is shining in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
Rev Dr Christopher Noble – Rector